Tony has been a Rotarian for 18 years and currently chairs the 9940 committee which deals with Club Development and Membership. He is visiting clubs to talk about the work of the committee and to challenge club
The committee is grappling with issues which have been building for many years. Although Rotary is growing globally, in the ‘old’ Rotary countries (the USA, UK, Australia and NZ) membership is declining and the demographics are worrying. In the UK the average Rotarian age is 74 and in Australia, it is 71. The gender balance is poor, too: our membership is only 24% female.
Unsurprisingly, we have been too slow to embrace new technology, which could have helped us with PR, recruitment, member communications, and administration.
How does Rotary adapt to a rapidly changing world? Work habits are changing, parents are busier and better connected, and they have multiple outlets for their energy. What can Rotary offer them?
The face of Rotary has to change. It appears as an organisation run by old white men. We must be more diverse, and conscious of the ‘new New Zealander’.
Clubs must change too. Their regular meetings must be outcome-focussed. They should stress their emotional connection to the future, lead the digital revolution, and have fun at the same time.
Work is going on in the higher reaches of Rotary. Districts will be reorganised and club formats will be more flexible. Some functions will be centralised.
Tony’s address was not all warnings and admonitions. Rotary has smart and dedicated folk at all levels, who are tackling its problems head-on.