Steve Jones-D'Agostino, Auburn Rotary

Please tell us what factors helped you decide to join Rotary?

Satya Mitra! He kept "Rotarying" me until I finally submitted! (Just kiddin', Satya.)

Seriously, I've done well in both my personal and professional lives as a result of my local community. I joined Rotary because I had reached a point in those two lives where I wanted - and needed - to give back to the community in ways that are both healthy and sustainable. Rotary seemed like a good way to do that. 

Of your club’s activities, what do you consider the one thing that best identifies what your club is all about?
Our Pancake Breakfast Breakfast - both fortunately and unfortunately. Fortunately, because Auburn Rotary, which was founded 73 years ago, has raised more than $440,000 for scholarships as a result of those annual breakfasts. Unfortunately, because that seems to be pretty much all that Auburn Rotary is known for, in town. We need to - and are working on - developing, offering and promoting other Rotary benefits and values when it comes to Auburn. 
What is your club doing this year to attract new members?
We're seeking to develop and build a collaborative relationship between the Auburn Chamber of Commerce and Auburn Rotary. Our first step would be to join the Auburn Chamber under a non-profit status. Then, perhaps our club could co-sponsor some type of event and/or take out an ad in their membership newsletter, depending on the various cost factors.
Eventually, as we build a good relationship with the Auburn Chamber, we may want to approach them about offering a dual-membership package. While this would need further discussion on our part, our club's Corporate Membership with the Auburn Chamber would  be appropriate to start with, seeing that few people/companies know that such a membership is available.
Additionally, we're exploring designating either this May or June - and promoting it - as our "open-membership" month, and offering Auburn Rotary as a sponsor of one of the Auburn Chamber's networking events. Alternatively we may establish a semi-annual approach, with May for "individual" memberships and November for "corporate" memberships.
Do you have any advice to offer others in our district about how best to achieve a successful fundraiser?
One, is to identify a worthy cause in your community that is not already being supported by another community-service organization - and that also meets one of Rotary's Six Areas of Focus. Another, is to partner with another community-service organization that already does successful fundraising for such a worthy cause. Avoid competition. Celebrate collaboration.
For example, Auburn Rotary has partnered with  Friends of Auburn Music Education to produce and promote our first of what will hopefully become an annual St. Patrick's Day Music & Wine Fundraiser, to be held on March 17 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Great Hall of Pakachoag Church in Auburn. Net proceeds will benefit Auburn Rotary's education-scholarship program and other charitable endeavors, and will also benefit FAME. 
Do you have any innovative plans for Rotary-related publicity during your presidency?
We're continuing to do what we've been doing since rebooting Auburn Rotary more than two years ago: Develop an inspirational message, deliver it effectively and efficiently, and repeat that process numerous times. The formula is simple and elegant: 10 percent inspiration; 90 percent repetition. In today's multi-media, multi-channel, digital, online world, you need to do that in order to cut through the Tower of Babel noise with your information-packed message. 
As president, what’s your biggest concern for the coming year?
On the surface, it appears to be membership, membership, membership - both attraction and retention. However, the membership concern is merely a symptom. The cause that we need to address - and are addressing - is to promote the Rotary benefits and values that are significantly different and/or unique, when compared with those of other community-service organizations. That's why we're seeking to team up with the Auburn Chamber, for example.
What’s the best book you’ve read in the past three years? 
Infamous Scribblers: The Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism, by Eric Burns. If you think the highly partisan, attack-mode mindset of today's news-and-information media - a.k.a. infotainment media - is unprecedented, this would be a must-read. 
What’s your favorite quotation?
"Give me liberty or give me death" - Patrick Henry
Steve Jones-D'Agostino, president of Auburn Rotary, may be reached at
To learn more about Auburn Rotary, click here.