Home' Rotary Down Under : February 2013 Contents Editor’s mailbox
I frequently note the references made
to Rotary being a “hands in pocket”
group of ageing old men who seem
to have a predilection for running
sausage sizzles. With this in mind, it
is not surprising the public gets the
impression that this is our mainstay
There is no question many clubs,
including my own, run regular
sausage sizzles and it does provide
a service to the community as well
as being a reasonable fundraiser for
many community projects.
But there is another valuable
spinoff of such an activity. It provides
a meeting place for Rotarians to
advertise their other activities in
the community. It can and does
attract new members to a club and
it provides camaraderie and a social
gathering point for club members.
Could I suggest that rather than
typecasting those Rotarians who
enjoy cooking sausages, you focus
on the positive side of what this
Rotary Club of Mt Waverley, Vic
Bust out your bling, boss
a better President by wearing it,
but shouldn’t you feel proud to be
President and wear it? Your club
voted you into this position, so you
should feel proud to represent it by
wearing the chain of office. Members
and non-members will then know
you are President and that you are
“boss” for the year. You might not like
this, but honestly, if things turn to
custard as they inevitably do, you are
in the hot seat as President whether
you like it or not.
Be proud to be President for
a year and be proud to wear the
club’s chain, representing all those
who have gone before you. It’s only
a year (if you’re lucky) and won’t
hurt. It’s time to be proud of our
Rotary bling and not leave it in its
box collecting dust.
Rotar y Club of Manukau City
Past Governor, D9920
Being on the younger side of the
Rotary spectrum, I certainly have
different views on Rotary matters
than the more elderly members, as
we see the world quite differently.
There is one area, however, that I am
quite old fashioned about, and that
is the wearing of our Rotary bling.
I’m not talking about our everyday
Rotar y pins, as that is a different
story, but of the President’s chain.
My husband Mike is the President
of the Rotary Club of Botany East
Tamaki this year, and I remember
wishing him good luck for his first
meeting and not to forget his
Rotary bling. He laughed because it
sounded so old fashioned, but for
me it is part of the job. I was amazed
at how many clubs during my year
as District Governor made jokes of
dusting off the chain when the DG
was visiting, so they had to wear it.
Unbelievable in my eyes!
Yes, I admit it doesn’t make you
As a Rotarian of a mere 26 years, I
have seen my club go from 60-strong
when I first joined, to a struggling
25 members, with the average age
creeping into the sixties. This is the
story throughout our clubs.
At the same time every year I
hear the same preaching about
membership! Folks get used to it –
it’s not working! If we really believe
that the goodwill does not exist in
the wider world to join something like
Rotary, then it’s time to shut up shop.
But we know that it does exist! So we
NEED to change!
Over the last few years RI has
allocated substantial PR funds to
Districts, which, as far as I am aware,
has been spent by either using PR
companies or sharing it among
clubs to be spent by part-time, well-
meaning Rotarian volunteers, many
of whom have been shoehorned into
their club PR role, and who are totally
incapable of handling the big picture.
While clubs probably got some
local benefit, over recent years the
“big” picture has been a disaster.
If PR has anything to do with
membership then surely there is
room for an Australian Story or a 60
Minutes good news story, or a Rotary
supplement in the mainstream
press, or the equivalent on radio.
Perhaps folks may then be attracted
to Rotary rather than “being asked”
to join, which for whatever reason, is
just not working.
Has the time not come when RI at
its Parramatta office employs FULL
TIME PROFESSIONALS? An office
staffed by professionals who can
PR push needs to come
from the top
speak on behalf of Rotary, rather than
what I heard from a Rotary leading
light, that “if the media wants us, they
know where to come”.
An office that can promote the
success of polio eradication, an office
that can highlight any one of many
thousands of successful projects.
“Where’s the money coming from?”
I hear. Well, I think the time is fast
approaching when, if it can’t be found,
Rotary will continue its downward
slide to oblivion.
While RI preaches change at club
level, could it just be that radical
change is needed further up?
Please give it some thought.
Rotar y Club of Thornleigh, NSW
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