DG Graeme Archibald’s address to the Rotary Club of Dundee

DG Graeme kindly shared the notes from his address to the Club on Thursday 14th September

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To the Rotary Club of Dundee

Your club has a tradition of innovation and enthusiasm – both of which are in evidence in the plans of President Brian and the leadership team.

As I've seen from your Assembly Report there is an ambitious and impressive programme and some challenges. Clearly the fundraising events need and get the involvement of all members of the club. The Swimarathon reaching £100,000 in total this year is so impressive. You should be justifiably proud of your ongoing contributions to Foundation and End Polio Now.  

Your aspirations are in line with the District focus.

The club’s record in Youth activities is impressive.

“Your Assembly report makes for encouraging reading as I can see how you've set out your stall for the year ahead, and I particularly like your willingness to consider change,  to “make a difference”. 

Making a difference

We are an international organisation prepared to put service above self and as this year’s International president has challenged us - we are Rotary - making a difference.

The difference we make can be delivered in so many ways and finance is not always the solution. Yes fundraising does help in many areas but as important is the in-kind service we offer; the hidden talents that exist within every Club, just waiting to be provided, often at short notice, in time of an emergency. We only have to think back to the devastating floods of last year - who responded? Rotarians! And when an exercise was conducted at a training seminar I attended, a ball-park value, cash and in kind effort, delivered an answer in excess of £1m.

DG’s annually are asked to focus on a multitude of initiatives but I've focused on the priorities I believe exist in our District 1010.

Membership

A recurring challenge is membership. Former DG’s have focused on this over recent years but the scale of the concern of dropping membership numbers and an ageing membership in our organisation is reaching the critical point.

In the past 5 years District 1010 membership has moved from 2,978 in 2012, to 2,747 in July 2017. In RIBI the fall is from 54,000 to 46,500.

Rotarians are “People of Action”. We are “volunteers” willing to work in partnership with those who realise a little support and us Working Together can make a big difference. 

The service we have delivered, cannot be fully quantified. Why? Because so much of what we Rotarians do is “in kind”; tasks done quietly, no fuss and bother, just a case of getting our sleeves rolled up and helping in areas where a little help really does “Make a Difference”. 

Many of us have been privileged to see the difference our small local efforts have delivered on a global scale, through club projects.

Foundation

We have two Foundation funds that clubs contribute to; The Annual Fund and the End Polio Fund.

3 years ago $210,000 of contributions went to the Annual Fund and this year half this sum comes back to District 1010 ($105,000) for its District Designated Fund (DDF) and its District Global Grant (DGG) fund. Half to each.

13 Club applications for DDF and grants of £32,000 were awarded in June 2017 at the Foundation Grants committee meeting. 9 were international projects and 4 were in communities in our District.

Clubs funded about a third and two/thirds came from DDF. A 2 to 1 uplift.

On DGG the uplift is even grater with about 22% from clubs. This is supplemented from the DGG funds and then Rotary International matches the DGG $ for $ and adds $1 for every $2 contributed by Clubs. So almost 4 : 1.

End Polio

Even more spectacular is the impact our fight against polio has delivered. Eradicating polio is the ultimate in sustainable service.

When it comes to polio we aren't working to contain it we’re working to end it.

At the recent Rotary Convention, Bill Gates, in an extremely emotional and motivational address, paid tribute to the Rotarian effort that has, and still is being delivered to end Polio. He increased yet again the support the Gates Foundation are prepared to commit to this challenge, another $300 million over the next three years with Rotary challenged to raise $50 million a year for the next three years as well.

At Atlanta, pledges amounting to US$1.2 billion were made, leaving, they believe, a funding gap up to US$1.5 billion to find.

The UK has since pledged £100 million and other governments will also be adding to the pledges so the required $1.5 billion is there. 

16 million people could have been paralysed if there had been no End Polio campaign. If immunisations stopped tomorrow then we would be back to 200,000 cases in two years.

Rotary Club Central

Why don't we sell ourselves and make communities more aware of the very effective job Rotary delivers? In many cases we just don’t know how to. But we have the latest tools in Rotary Club Central to record data like hours spent by members on Club initiatives and projects and funds collected for a purpose. These statistics are not difficult to record but when accumulated for a district like 1010, or for Scotland, or RIBI... what a story we could tell.

Rotary Club Central offers this facility - please use it and allow us to showcase the scale of our service. 

Membership

Year after year the DG team are challenged to promote and address a declining membership. 

Our ability to report our commitment could attract members, as a new generation offer to deliver services for others at a time when the traditional style of Rotary does not appeal to them.

Small steps lead to large goals. Never underestimate the impact that your efforts make.

In the family of Rotary it’s the fun and friendships that unite us; have youth and experience working together! 1 phone call could lead to 1.2m friends!

We need “To adapt, innovate, and change with the times”. We have a network which is Rotary.

A younger generation today face a number of competing demands. They are interested in service and eager to do good, but they need options. We need to offer them an involvement that doesn’t waste their time.

Clubs need to choose to adopt the new models now available. The traditional image needs to be modified to attract a new generation of Rotarians. Informality is very much to the fore in so many clubs today where we are seeing membership growth. Try change and see what impact it might deliver!

We need to move with the times, use social media, and so much more. 

Your passion and initiatives count for so much. Working together. Together we inspire. We connect. Together we will end polio. We recognise our areas of focus locally and globally.

Your support in the Rotary year ahead will be valued by me as we try to support a strong and vibrant District capable of delivering services we have been known for in the past 112 years as an organisation.

Today each of us bears a torch, its flame lit by Paul Harris, that has been passed forward from generation to generation in Rotary: Making a Difference 

May I wish you all a successful year ahead, Enjoy the fun and fellowship we have a reputation for, do OUR best, and together we can, and WILL make a difference.