Membership Corner - November 9, 2015

The Rotary Value Proposition
By Tom Sturiale
The “Rotary Value Proposition” has been discussed before but it is such a powerful message that we should keep developing the idea until we all are comfortable with the concept. What is the “value” of Rotary and what is it that makes us different and more valuable than many other similar charitable-service organizations? How do we articulate the idea of Rotary in a way that resonates with ourselves and others? 
Recently, I had a very interesting and educational discussion with Carl Treleaven, past district governor of District 6950 in the Tampa, Florida area. He shared some ideas on a value proposition, which I will paraphrase for you. Yes, we certainly are a service organization and "service above self is our motto, but we are much more. The idea of Rotary is that service is based on our professions to better serve mankind and to solve problems that no one else can. One of the base principles of Rotary is the idea of classifications, which is simply a way of developing a network of skills. Many of us do not pay much attention to this concept but it can be powerful in strengthening our clubs.
Rotarians bring three key assets to bear in our collective efforts to better mankind:
  • High ethical standards
  • Business and professional skills
  • Network of contacts worldwide
Together, our organization of 1.2 million members located throughout the world can be mobilized to address and solve problems better, quicker and more efficiently than any other organization. We demonstrate continually this capability with thousands of projects and millions of dollars every year.  Polio eradication is among the finest examples of a successful worldwide project. 
Think about this. This is really an unbeatable proposition. We can find the right people who are willing to either fund or devote their time and energy, or both, to find and solve problems that better humanity and do it better than any other organization. Hoohah! 
So what do we offer prospective Rotarians?
  • The opportunity to associate with people of high ethical standards and character.
  • The opportunity for leadership, for mentoring young people, for networking and to serve mankind either locally or internationally.
  • The opportunity for fun, friendship and fellowship.
  • I am sure you can add several benefits of being a Rotarian, which may be specific to your own clubs.
So practically speaking, what does all than mean? Every club should reexamine their classifications and determine which ones are missing. How can we fill those missing classifications? Which ones do we need and which ones do we want? How do we prioritize them?
Mr. Treleaven describes a Rotary club that had a total of eight members six years ago and nearly turned in its charter. The club brought in two new members and decided to pursue aggressively their missing “classifications.” They distributed cards from a deck to each member and each card had a desired classification. They assigned the responsibility of finding and attracting that “missing person” to their club. Today that club, Wesley Chapel in Lutz, Florida, boasts almost 100 members and is flourishing.
Please let me know any ideas, comments and stories about Membership you would like to share. E-mail me at
Tom Sturiale is vice chair of District 7910's Membership Committee.
Here are the Membership Corner articles that were posted during October: