ImageA successful Rotary year has ended and another one is starting with a change in leadership in D9211. It is time to shift our focus to the strategic objectives & goals for 2014-15.

 

A successful Rotary year has ended and another one is starting with a change in leadership in D9211. It is time to shift our focus to the strategic objectives & goals for 2014-15.

District 9211 is a steadily growing district of 114 clubs and 3,000 members, with a wide range of community service projects and where many clubs enjoy excellent fellowship. Our support for the Foundation has steadily risen just as many clubs have successfully applied for and gained approval for large global grants for projects. The District has the distinction of having leaders serving at the regional and international levels of RI and all this has led to significant recognition from RI, with many leaders visiting the District on various occasions in the recent past. This would not have been possible without the tremendous effort of all Rotarians and our leaders who have truly served above self.

Both the countries that constitute our district are developing countries, where there are large gaps in fulfillment of basic needs in our communities. Most of us don’t need to go far to see these needs in the areas of basic education, health, water, sanitation, employment etc. Rotarians always have and will continue to support communities in fulfilling these basic needs but despite our current numbers we are still too few. We have the obligation to grow not only in numbers where we are already present but need to extend Rotary to the many areas where there is no Rotary presence. We need to do this to increase our usefulness to society and to extend the spirit of Rotary throughout the community.

While some clubs are successful in recruiting new members, others are not and most clubs lose 50% of members inducted. I urge each club to reflect upon both the recruitment and retention of members. Our goal is to have each club grow by net 10% with a special emphasis on increasing retention. We also have the target of ensuring that all clubs have at least 20 members.

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Rotary’s (and a Rotary clubs’) image is central to increasing membership and attracting donor support. A well-managed Rotary club with good fellowship and active leadership (portraying a “good club” image) invariably attracts new members and encourages existing members to stay and engage. Likewise the community service activities of the club encourage donors to engage and support. The success and growth of a Rotary club is  dependent on its image both internally and to the public, and every club should work towards developing an excellent image for itself. This year, each club is encouraged to organize a Rotary Day and invite members of the public to better understand Rotary, the club and its activities.

Our ability to carry out most of the community service projects is dependent on availability of funds whether raised locally or through a grant from The Rotary Foundation. TRF is probably the most important aspect of Rotary and its ability to serve. It has made the successful global campaign against polio possible, just as it is making possible the provision of clean water & sanitation, better health, education, peace and economic empowerment in many communities around the world. The Rotary Foundation makes it possible for most of the projects being implemented in our district and it needs our support. Our goal is to ensure every Rotarian donates at least $100 to the Foundation every year. Those who can donate more to this noble institution are encouraged to do so.

Finally, there is no success without succession and engaging the youth is the only way to ensure the success of Rotary in the years to come. Through Rotary’s very effective Interact and Rotaract programs, we have the ability to engage youth and build Rotary values in the generations of youth who will, with time, become the leaders who will determine the destiny of Rotary and our nations.

My best wishes to all Rotarians as we Light Up Rotary in 2014-15 and look forward to meeting all of you over the next few months as I visit each club.