Share your Passion for Rotary to Grow Membership

by Sakuji Tanaka, President, Rotary International

What is Rotary? When I ask Rotarians this question, they often give vague answers. And when I asked myself this question, I had to think about it. August is Membership and Extension Month in Rotary, and I want all Rotarians to be able to send a unified message about what Rotary is and why they joined.

The key to increasing membership is for every Rotarian to be convinced that it’s good to be a Rotarian, and to convey that passion to others. In Rotary, we have a tendency to be humble and keep our achievements to ourselves. But we must share them with those around us and with the world.

Every Rotarian has a specific moment that stands out and has a special meaning. Some people refer to this as their “Rotary Moment.” I believe it is very important to share this moment with others. Facts and numbers can only go so far, but sharing a personal experience can open doors and build friendships.

That’s why I decided to create some sample messages that I call “Rotary Moments.” You can use these one-minute and three-minute messagesto answer the question “What is Rotary?” in a way that is most personal to you. They will help you talk about the projects you’ve been involved in, how they’ve helped your community, and what’s been most meaningful to you.

To strengthen Rotary, we need more members. But unless those members are convinced of the benefits of the organization and can share that passion with others, expanding Rotary won’t be meaningful.

If every Rotarian is happy about being a Rotarian and spreads the word with a clear, unified message – if every Rotarian around the world can be his or her own PR department – the combined, collective effect will be enormous. These sample messages will help us all clearly communicate our enthusiasm to others. This will lead to an increase in new membership and in member retention.

Rotarians can also buy membership materials at shop.rotary.org. *

I believe that the purpose of every life is to help others and contribute to society. Once Rotarians begin using these samples, the world will become more aware of how Rotary is helping people live that way. I encourage you to share your Rotary Moment with other Rotarians as well as non-Rotarians.

* Editor’s Note: this sentence originally made reference to finding the one minute and 3 minute “messages” at rotary.org. The “messages” are actually videos found at YouTube and Vimeo. The links provided in this version are from YouTube for the “one minute” (12) and Vimeo for the “three minute” (4).

Further viewing: Sakuji Tanaka: The Power of Rotary Moments

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About John Borst

John Borst’s career in education spans the years 1960 to 1996. During those 36 years, he spent an equal amount of time working int he English language, Public and Catholic school boards. Borst taught in both elementary and high school environments. Positions of responsibilities held included department head in Geography, curriculum coordinator of Social and Environmental Studies, Principal, Education Officer with the Ministry of Education, Superintendent of Schools, and Superintendent of Student Services. Borst retired in 1996 as Director of Education for the legacy Dryden Board of Education. During this time, Borst has lived in the Ontario communities of Brampton, Toronto, Newmarket, Thunder Bay, Aurora and Dryden. Currently, Borst splits his time between Dryden and Toronto. Since retirement, Borst has served as a Supervisory Officer with a remote School Authority; been a freelance writer of articles on education in particular for Education Today, the magazine of the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA); founded and edited from 2006 - 2010 the Education blog Tomorrow’s Trust: A Review of Catholic Education; and from 2003-2010 was a trustee of the Northwest Catholic District School Board.
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