20 March 2013 - visit of RIBI President John Minhinick
John said that there are currently Rotary groups considering changes that are required within Rotary. He drew attention to two areas in particular: membership and communication with the public.
On membership, John said that within the last year 1200 members have been lost throughout all Districts in RIBI. It is clear that retention of members is the main membership problem, and we should do more to find out why members leave Rotary.
John suggested that we should make an effort to keep in touch with former members. It may be possible to entice them back someday. John also touched on the importance of recruiting new members, and mentioned, with approval, our own Club's successful recruitment event.
On the subject of communication with the public, John said that we must improve the ways in which we inform the public of what we do. For example, it is desirable to get photos in the press showing "sexy" things we do. On the other hand, photos of cheques being presented do not cut it!
Rotary ( job ) classifications are important, in John's view, because they demonstrate the skills available within Rotary that can be made available to the business world. Hence the importance of communicating such information to businesses.
On the same theme of communication, John stressed the importance of Rotary Clubs keeping each other informed of projects they are undertaking. It may be that a local Club is doing the same as, say, a Scottish Club. How much more effective it would be if the Clubs pooled their resources. "Sharing of information" is key.
John also mentioned that continuity is important in management at all levels in Rotary, and this is something that is being addressed, e.g. at District level. The concept of "all change" at midnight on 30th June each year is not very effective in forming long-term plans.
Finally, Paul Harris got a mention. It was the impression made upon him by the way in which a senior colleague was greeted by his local community that persuaded Paul Harris to found Rotary.