By Steven A. Snyder, Rotary Club of Auburn, California, USA, and Chair of the Rotary International Finance Committee
As my year of service on the Rotary International Finance Committee winds down, I find myself reflecting on how a critical part of Rotary service is effective financial planning. Simply put, effective stewardship of the contributions of our members is what helps Rotary execute its vision for a better world.
Rotary is 1.2 million members strong – a global force of people of action building better communities by connecting with each other and getting things done. Each of our 35,000 clubs has its own projects, its own secretary, and its own budget, but when you think about finance from a global Rotary perspective as we do on the committee, you realize that none of what Rotary does would be possible without the annual financial support of our members.
All of our members are dedicated to their clubs, and pay club and district dues to support Rotary at the local level. But they also support Rotary globally through the RI dues they pay every year, and our finance committee is committed to effective stewardship of members’ dues and transparency in all of Rotary operations.
So how does RI spend these dues? In short, dues money comes back to members as value-added services and tools that Rotary members use to strengthen their clubs.
For example, RI is improving digital tools for clubs to develop, implement, and showcase their local and international service projects. The enhanced Rotary Club Central, revamped in 2017, is one tool that helps clubs better plan and track their service and fundraising goals.
RI dues also support projects like Rotary Showcase, where clubs highlight their projects and connect with others around the world to maximize impact. Last year, RI relaunched the Grants Center to help clubs apply for humanitarian grant support faster so we can get help to where it is most needed.
I encourage all clubs to try the digital tools RI provides and see how they work. After all, it is an investment made possible by our members.
Many more tools are underway, including a new My Rotary experience, a redesigned Learning Center (coming in late July 2018), and easier online giving. All of these digital tools are designed so that Rotarians can be more efficient in serving communities and make an impact at home and around the world.
RI dues also support members in other ways besides digital projects. RI staff works directly with members out of eight offices worldwide, providing support to clubs in their local service efforts and producing content and resources in eight languages to help strengthen clubs.
For those Rotary members who are headed to the 2017 International Convention in Toronto, I invite you to join a breakout session called “Dues: The Value We Receive as Rotarians” to be held 25 June at 14:30-15:30. See the breakout session schedule for more details. We would like to meet you and hear about what your clubs are doing.