Posted on Aug 03, 2017
There are three topics I wish to cover tonight:
  1. Changes in Volunteerism.
  2. Responses to the volunteerism changes within Rotary Clubs.
  3. The Pillars of Rotary.
In a recent United Nations State of the World Volunteering Report:
  • There has been an increase in Digital Volunteering (online) where (potential) volunteers are able to locate opportunities that interest them, donate funds and approach organisations to volunteer per se.
  • There has been a rise in the number of people seeking opportunities that require volunteers with specific skills that match their own skills.
  • There has been an increase in workplace-base volunteering. This enhances team-building and professional development within the group at the workplace.
  • Cause-based volunteerism has attracted more interested people. Persons responding to this call for volunteers are less likely to be attracted-by or become interested-in the organisation than the activity targeting the Cause.
  • Some people become Episodic Volunteers; they dip-in and dip-out of activities or discussions. They are not interested in regular attendance as represented by the classic Rotary model for a Club.
  • In summary: Rotary has to offer more meaningful and more flexible roles to volunteers
Jesse said that she has confidence in the ability of Rotary to provide more meaningful and more flexible opportunities for members.
  • Clubs should review their rituals and traditions. Many do not suit a Gen-Y potential member. e.g. meeting times and venues can rotate rather than be constant.
  • Committee structures for different topics or activities can be modified to better engage members.
  • A Value Engagement criterion would be a better judgement of a member’s effectiveness rather than an Attendance Number or an Attendance Percentage.
  • New tools are available: Websites, Emails and Social Media are all relatively new and not yet exploited by all. Some Clubs are using WhatsApp and MeetUp for Club communications and Facebook for marketing.
  • Clubs can offer different types of membership; some Clubs have Friends of Rotary for people with a less-committed engagement, and perhaps there is a future for Corporate Membership inspiring sponsorship for activities and the direct involvement of the Member’s staff.
  • Clubs could become a core-club or leader for a cause e.g. RC Maryborough’s prime focus is the issue of Domestic Violence which has led to increased membership and active partnerships with other organisations outside Rotary.
  • Group Activities with other Rotary Clubs and other organisations do much to encourage membership and build the profile of the Club. The Annual Ballarat Swap Meet is organised by Ballarat Rotary Clubs and it attracts 40,000 visitors and hundreds of volunteers of interested persons from motoring, engineering and catering groups outside Rotary.
  • A good strategy is not to introduce members to the Club at a meeting but to take prospective members to Activities where a Rotary or Club project is benefiting from physical activity and participants have a sense of achievement — and a social interaction with members.
  • Some Clubs are arising as online e-Clubs, Satellite Clubs for small communities and Hybrid Clubs using the strengths of e-Clubs and classic Meetings on a rotating schedule.
  • Some Clubs are arising on a demographic basis; operated and appealing to younger people almost exclusively and often using a Cause to attract members either temporarily or permanently and Social Media to communicate with them.
  • The principle foci of Rotary are to espouse the values of Vocational Service and Business Ethics based on the core value of INTEGRITY.
  • Rotary Foundation is a stable financial institution that is able to collect funds and distribute them via the network of Clubs throughout the world to do incalculable good for those touched by Rotary.
  • All of these principles are just as valid today regardless of the organisational framework to which Rotary may evolve to become in the future.
  • To quote Paul Harris:
For Rotary to be relevant we must always be evolutionary — and sometimes revolutionary.
Pres Pauline S.
Pres Pauline thanked Jesse for her optimistic and enlightening talk. She thanked Visiting Rotary Members from other Clubs and her own Members for attending.