Dear Fellow Rotarians,
At our last Council on Legislation, your Council members
approved an increase in Rotary International dues of US $4 per year
in the 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20 Rotary years. As a result of
that decision, the yearly per capita dues that clubs pay to RI for
each member is now US $60, increasing to $64 next year and $68 the
year after that.
Historically, Rotary International has been very reluctant to institute
increases to RI dues, and the dues increases have been extremely
small. Rotary’s first dues were set in 1910 at the rate of
$1 per member per year — the equivalent of about $26.90 today.
Even at that time, then-Secretary Ches Perry protested that the
amount was insufficient to cover expenses of office rent, stenography,
telephone, postage, and the occasional purchase of a necessary item
such as a typewriter.
Today, of course, our far larger organization, engaged in much more
complex activities in a far more complex world, requires a vastly
larger budget to run. Our global staff supports 1.2 million members
around the world. It is largely thanks to the good work of that
staff that we are able to carry on with the service that we do,
on the level that we do it — fully supplied with the materials,
club services, training events, international meetings, language
services, IT, Foundation support, leadership support, and everything
else we have come to expect as Rotary members.
In recent years, it became clear that the services RI was able to
provide to Rotarians with the available budget were no longer in
line with what Rotarians needed and expected. Nine out of 10 Rotarians
wanted Rotary to provide more services, but given Rotary’s
current and projected income, the rate of global inflation, and
the ongoing volatility of world financial markets, we had only two
fiscally prudent options: either cut back RI services, or increase
dues. Essentially, we had to decide whether or not we wanted Rotary
to continue to grow and thrive.
As an accountant, I take fiscal responsibility and long-term financial
planning extremely seriously. It was and remains abundantly clear
that a modest increase in dues was our only viable path forward.
Our five-year forecast at the time of the Council on Legislation
projected that a dues increase of just $1 would have resulted in
only a 1.8 percent increase in revenues—far below the 2.5
percent impact of global inflation. A $2 increase would have resulted
in reserve levels falling below the Board target by 2019, and a
$3 increase would have resulted in reserve levels only marginally
above the target by 2018. None of those options would have allowed
us to do what our members wanted: increase and improve our services,
to allow Rotary to increase and improve its service.
I am pleased to report that, as a result of the still modest dues
increases that were approved in 2016, Rotary is now not only on
a firm financial footing, but able to invest in our future. I would
like to let you know how RI is spending your dues this year, and
what we have planned for the years ahead.
Your membership dues are our organization’s largest single
source of revenue, accounting for about $74 million out of a $103
million budget in 2017-18. Of the $60 you currently pay in dues,
$32.58 goes directly to member support, in the form of RI events,
online training, and digital tools such as the recently improved rotary.org website
and updated Rotary Club Central, along with Rotary Ideas, Rotary
Showcase, and RI’s social media feeds.
Rotary’s operations extend to 220 countries and territories
worldwide, using 29 different currencies. This year, RI is applying
$14.43 of your $60 toward administration and compliance. That money
pays for staff and services at the Secretariat and regional offices,
who provide translations, support Rotarians on a regional level,
and ensure that we are keeping pace with global security and privacy
We all know that enhancing Rotary’s image in the world is
vital to our future success. RI is earmarking $12.99 of your RI
dues this year for resources to help promote Rotary in your community,
and beyond. This includes not only the postcards, brochures, and
other materials available on your Brand Center, but also our People
of Action campaign, external relations, and our ongoing outreach
and public relations work around the end of polio.
Within the next year, look for news about an improved technology
infrastructure for your data, streamlined online giving, more timely
online club reporting resources, and a more user-friendly My Rotary
— all funded by the dues each of us pays. For more information
on RI’s budget and the value of your RI membership, I invite
you to watch this presentation on Your Dues at Work.
For all of us, Rotary is an investment — not only of money,
but of time, energy, and effort. As with any good investment, the
more we put in, the greater our returns. None of it would be possible
without the international association that unites us, and which
we all support. I thank you all for that support, and for the good
work each of you do, as you make a difference in our world.
Yours in Rotary,
Rotary International President, 2017-18
Copyright © 2003-04
Rotary eClub NY1 * Updated 2017
Design & Maintenance of this site by TechnoTouch