Dear Fellow Rotarians,
When someone asks you, “What is Rotary?”
what do you say? I think we’ve all had the experience of being
asked that deceptively simple question and finding ourselves
suddenly at a loss for words. Even the most articulate among us
have a hard time capturing the essence of our organisation
in just a few sentences.
As an organisation, Rotary has always had a difficult time conveying
the scope of our work: not just what we do, but how we do it, and
the value of what we contribute to the world.
As an accountant, I like numbers. They work in every language, and
often they communicate complex information much more effectively
than words. That is why, in this Rotary year, I am asking each club
to provide Rotary headquarters with two numbers: the amount of money,
both in cash and in kind, spent on humanitarian service; and the
number of hours of work performed in Rotary’s name.
If we want these numbers to be useful, they have to be accurate.
That means beginning now to accurately track the hours and the money
that our clubs spend on their service.
The simplest way for clubs to provide this information at the
end of the year will be by entering it every month on Rotary
Club Central — a tool that has been completely rebuilt and
relaunched to be significantly more useful, and user-friendly,
than it has been in the past. If for some reason (for example,
limited internet access) your club is not able to connect
to Rotary Club Central, please be in touch with your district governor,
who will ensure that your information can be submitted through
I cannot emphasise strongly enough that the goal of this effort
is not getting the largest and most impressive numbers. There
is not going to be any competition, recognition, or public
use whatsoever of the numbers reported by any individual club. The
goal is accurate and reliable numbers that we can present confidently
in our public image work, in our membership materials,
and to our partners — numbers backed by specific data,
on the club level, that answer not only the question, “What
is Rotary?” but the question, “What does Rotary do?”
I strongly believe that with these numbers, we will be better able
to demonstrate the value of Rotary: Making a Difference —
which in time will enable us to make more of a difference, for more
people, in more ways, than ever.
Ian H S Riseley
President, Rotary International
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Rotary eClub NY1 * Updated 2017
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