July always brings a new Rotary year and a new Rotary leadership team from top to bottom. As your new District Governor I promise to do my best to help you make 2017/2018 as impactful (and painless!) a Rotary year as possible. I’m looking forward to visiting each club, meeting more great Rotarians, and learning more about the many communities in our district.
Polio. We are so very close in our 30-plus year effort to eradicate polio. We owe it to the children of the future—and those Rotarians who have been carrying this load for the past 32 years—to finish the job, and that takes money. I’ve asked each club to consider donating 5% of the money they raise towards Polio Plus and the final eradication of this disease. Five percent is not much of a burden on any club, but multiply that amount times 35,000 clubs and we can change the world forever—finally.
Membership. Yes, retention is important and if your club is getting clobbered with high attrition rates, than your club needs to take a hard look at the experience you are providing your Rotarians. But the reality is that only by attracting new members can Rotary grow. That doesn’t mean signing up anyone who has a pulse. But there are ten million people in Georgia and only about 10,000 Rotarians. Even if we assume that only 1% of our ten million citizens would be good Rotarians, that’s 100,000 Rotarians, ten times our current size. Every club has a massive opportunity to grow.
Innovation. There is a natural tendency to repeat success. But somewhere along the way a great project or tradition becomes stale and loses vitality. A mentor of mine taught me that the essence of strategy is denial. It is deciding what to stop doing, because when you stop doing something that frees up resources to do something new. I strongly encourage every club to drop something they have been doing in favor of something new. As PRID Robert Hall points out, to take no risks is to guarantee failure.