Membership Corner - July 20, 2015

Why Are We Rotarians?
By Tom Sturiale
It becomes a far easier task to attract new members when we are able to articulate the reasons we joined or, indeed, why we continue to remain Rotarians.  So there’s the question!  Why did you join Rotary? What are you doing in Rotary?  Why are you here?  Do you like being with other Rotarians?  I mean, what really turns you on?  
Are you interested in helping others less fortunate than you?  Is it the opportunity for networking and expansion of business contacts that attracted you? Is it simply the opportunity to meet friends once a week or on other occasions for a nice meal, a good speaker or socializing?  It may be a great opportunity to meet with folks from other clubs or countries or even visiting other countries.  Or is it because you have reached the stage in your life where you just want to return some of your good fortune to your local community?  
Could you be one of those retired empty nesters who seeks to develop young people through RYLA, Interact, mentoring or an exchange student program?  Maybe you are just retired and want something useful to do with your spare time – and money!  You might be at the beginning of your career and are looking for a support structure to help you develop your own self-worth, leadership skills, public speaking skills or the ability to carry out some special needs. 
Can you add to the list of reasons to be a Rotarian?  Whatever your reasons, and there are many, it would be helpful to articulate them clearly.  Utilize an assembly meeting to get your members to discuss the reasons to belong to Rotary.  Your passion will become obvious and contagious when you are talking with prospective members.
Rotary research shows that most new members are interested in networking, building friendships and developing leadership skills.  These goals are connected to the first two Objects of Rotary (developing acquaintances and honoring vocations).  When those initial goals are satisfied, new members become more interested in serving others, developing their community and in serving local and international humanitarian needs which are related to the next two Objects of Rotary (community service and international understanding).
Understanding our own motivation to be Rotarians will help us articulate the meaning of Rotary to others.  Open up the discussion at your club and your members will become better advocates of Rotary. Assign a scribe to record all the inputs and organize them into a selling tool.  Do it now!
Tom Sturiale, vice chair of District 7910's Membership Committee, may be reached at