Creating a family-friendly vibe with your Rotary club

The Bonfa family at a food drive

The Bonfa family at a club-sponsored food drive to benefit families in South Orange County, California, USA.

By Anabella Bonfa, Rotary Club of Irvine, California, USA, with Anthony Bonfa

My husband and I and our teenage son Anthony all volunteer at 30 or more projects every year. We consider ourselves a Rotary family. All three of us are hands-on because we come from a smart club that engaged our son in Rotary projects at a young age.

We all enjoy Rotary because it gives us a joint activity where we can spend time together with mutual friends, contribute our individual talents, and create a better world. My club went out of their way to include Anthony from day one. This is how he explains it: Continue reading

5 steps to club growth: why membership matters

Ainsley Brown at installation banquet

Ainsley Brown, left, receives his pin as Vocational Service Director from then-president Jemelia Davis at the club’s 2017 installation banquet.

By Ainsley Brown, Rotary Club of St. Andrew, Jamaica

My club, the Rotary Club of St. Andrew, Jamaica, has a storied history. We were chartered in 1966, four years after Jamaica’s independence from the United Kingdom, as the third Rotary club in Jamaica. We have a pioneering spirit as demonstrated by being the first Rotary club in Jamaica to allow women to join.

Rotary is a wonderful global movement that allows individuals to come together and take actions that are an expression of our collective will to make this world a better place. Our members are our greatest strength, and membership matters. But our greatest strength is also our greatest challenge. Like a lot of clubs, we struggle with membership. How do we recruit new members, retain existing members, transition members of Rotaract into Rotary, and re-engage current or former members? Continue reading

Magic potion for membership growth?

Nancy LeonhardtBy Nancy Leonhardt, 2018-19 membership chair for District 6150, Arkansas, USA

When it comes to membership growth, there are no magic potions. Our district was blessed to add more than 65 new members last year, one of only four districts in our zone to have any increase. But I can’t point to just one thing we did that achieved those results. Instead, planning, goal-setting, follow-thru, and hard work on the part of many committed individuals were instrumental in the success we achieved. Continue reading

Why Passport clubs work

Gold Coast Passport Rotary Club

Gold Coast Passport Rotary Club of District 9640 at Karma Collab Hub in June.

By Jayde Purnell, Gold Coast Passport Rotary Club, District 9640 (Australia)

A passport Rotary club is designed to attract a diverse demographic, and from my perspective, it’s working. On the last Tuesday of each month, I merrily waltz my way into Karma Collab Hub for an evening of wine, cheese, laughter and community impact; all in the company of great friends and with the guidance of Rotary members from local clubs. It’s unlike any community I’ve ever experienced, and I’ve come to realise that my Rotary badge is consistently (and quite unintentionally) accompanied by a wide grin. Continue reading

How women lead differently

By Kathleen Rose, vice president of the Rotary Club of Gilroy, California, USA

I attended the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany, in June, to widen my own leadership experience as I prepare to serve as club president next year. I was asked to present a breakout session entitled Women’s Leadership Skills: Strengthening Our Rotary Legacy. What an experience! Although I have been a scholar of leadership for many years, have written on the subject often, and have had the opportunity to speak nationally, it was a thrill to present to an international audience of Rotary leaders who are clearly motivated change agents.

If ever there were a time to focus on the work of leadership, the development of leadership skills, and the debate around qualified leadership, it is now. Continue reading

Why our club promotes equal rights, responsibilities

Knut Ebel congratulates president Stefanie Kämpf in 2016. Ebel went on to serve as president the following year.

By Christoph Ahlmann-Eltze, president of the Rotary Club of Bordesholm, Germany

Our club chartered 10 years ago, and from the very start, equality between the genders has been a priority. We alternate between a male member and a female member serving as club president every year, and we make sure that men and women have equal rights and responsibilities. This has not always been the case in clubs in my part of the world. But if we are to move forward as an organization, this will need to become more of the norm. Here is more of our club’s story. Continue reading

How I found support and acceptance in my Rotary club

By Monica Mulholland, Rotary Club of Queenstown, New Zealand

When I made the decision to come out as transgender to my Rotary club, my wife and I were worried that we would be shunned by our community and lose many of our friends, including those in the Rotary club. It is common for transgender people to lose half their friends and half their family when they come out. But we couldn’t have been happier with the acceptance and support we received from club members. Continue reading

Mock interview project benefits more than just job seekers

Members of the Rotary Club of Silverdale interview a job seeker (left, back to camera)

By Cathy Bisaillon, President & CEO of Easterseals Washington, and a member of the Rotary Club of Silverdale, Washington, USA. Video and photos by Steven Boe, Rotary Club of Silverdale

When I shared with my fellow Rotarians last fall that 70 percent of people with disabilities are unemployed or under-employed, in spite of a national labor shortage, we decided to take action. Our club has a diverse membership, and it values a diverse workforce. By pulling from District 5030’s Partners for Work Program, we organized a high-energy mock interview  during our club’s meeting on 31 January. Continue reading

3 ways to make your club more inclusive

By Katey Halliday, Rotaract Club of Adelaide City and the Rotary Club of Adelaide Light, South Australia, Australia

Rotary recently adopted a diversity, equity, and inclusion statement that sends a strong message that we embrace inclusivity. Rotary has clubs all over the world and reaches a broad range of people with our service projects. So we are already diverse, but a second ingredient, inclusion, is the key to unlocking and maintaining the full benefits of that diversity. How inclusive is your club? Continue reading

Birth of a new Rotary club: a satellite success story

Members of the Y Garth club at its charter event.

By Douglas Nash, past president of the Rotary Club of Chelwood Bridge, England

A while ago, when my good friend Charles and I started talking about Rotary and the possibility of him becoming a member, he was a little apprehensive.

That is until I explained that Rotary has gone through a number of changes, keeping our core values but embracing the idea of flexibility: that all clubs need not have the same structure, dress code, or event schedule. These changes are embraced in the concept of satellite clubs. Continue reading