BUSTING THE MYTHS

We thought we'd share with you some answers to the TOP 10 myths we bump into out there in the community.

Myth 1 - Rotary is for men only

Rotary International began in 1905, and for the first 84 years of its existence, it is true that women were not admitted into membership. But as the prevalence of female business leaders began to grow, and in response to a ground swell of demand for female admission, Rotary changed its legislation in 1989 to admit women. Women are welcome in Rotary, and we are desperately keen to increase our female membership.

Myth 2 - Rotary is for old people

Some believe that one’s age is just a number, and it is one’s attitude that is important. So I guess that depends on at which age you believe “old” cuts in, but you can join Rotary at 30 or 130! Either way, Rotary welcomes “younger” members with open arms. We are depending on them to keep our organisation vibrant.

Myth 3 - You have to attend every week

Most Rotary clubs meet on a weekly basis, and members are encouraged to attend whenever possible, but we understand that there are many demands on the time of today’s professionals. In addition to regular club meetings, Rotarians have other ways to become involved, such as fundraising activities, community service projects, leadership training events and social activities. Some members are able to attend every week, but some prefer to contribute in other ways. We prefer to focus on what you can contribute, not what you can’t.

Myth 4 - Rotary is only for Doctors, Lawyers and CEOs

Rotary’s membership base is a broad cross section of people from diverse backgrounds, cultures and professions. Our diversity is our strongest asset. Teachers, bankers, accountants, retailers, students, plumbers, electricians, health care workers, farmers… you name it, they are all represented in Rotary. Work from home? Just starting out in business? Moving up through the ranks? Made it to the top? Retired? There is a place for you in Rotary.

Myth 5 - Membership is by invitation only

Anyone can visit and join Rotary club and we accept members from all walks of life, meetings are open and everyone is welcome. If after attending a few meetings, you have shown interest in joining a club, and you are a person of good standing in the community, you will more than likely be asked to join.

Myth 6 - Rotary is a religious organisation or a secret society

Rotary is non-religious and non-political. We have no secret handshake, no secret meetings and no secret rituals. It is an open organisation of men and women who simply believe in helping others.

Myth 7 - All Rotarians do is hold lunch or dinner meetings

It’s true we have a meal at our meetings but soon you’ll realise that’s not the only thing we do. Rotary clubs adopt many initiatives for raising funds to support their projects. Behind the scenes there are many less obvious ways that hard working Rotarians raise funds and help communities in “hands-on” projects.

Myth 8 - You’ve seen one Rotary club, you’ve seen them all

There are over 34,000 Rotary clubs in 200 countries worldwide (over 1,600 in the UK) and no two are the same. They are all unique, with unique members, unique projects, and unique culture. Each has its own Council who administer the club autonomously. One of them is just right for you!

Myth 9 - You cannot discuss your business or profession in Rotary

The first ever Rotary meeting, 110 years ago in Chicago, was initiated to serve the professional and social interests of its members. But as Rotary grew, members began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. Rotary is now the world’s premier humanitarian service organisation.

Myth 10 - Rotary is an “old fashioned” organisation, with boring and ritualistic meetings

As a century old organisation, it’s reasonable to expect that there are some long observed traditions in some clubs. But the very highest levels of Rotary leadership, both at global and local level, are encouraging clubs to innovate and become more progressive in the way they do things. Every club is different and reflects the community its in.