In August, we focus on membership — exploring ways we can expand Rotary’s ranks and reach. As we form new clubs and answer RI President Shekhar Mehta’s call of Each One, Bring One, let’s consider how these efforts will have a positive impact at every level of our organization.
Rotary’s two greatest assets are its members and The Rotary Foundation, and they are linked. Our organization is made up of more than 48,000 Rotary and Rotaract clubs, and without our dedicated club members, we can’t perform service. Our members also carry out the Foundation’s mission of doing good in the world, by working on grassroots projects and making contributions that support countless Foundation programs and grants.
With more members in Rotary, the Foundation could do even more good in the world. We would have more hands to set up water, sanitation, and hygiene projects, so that more people could access clean water. We would have more minds to plan global grants projects that support prenatal services, so that more babies could live. We could fund more district grants that support literacy, so that more people could learn to read.
Today, roughly a third of our members actively support the Foundation through annual giving or other means. Imagine how we could extend Rotary’s reach if we were to increase that engagement, even by just a little. More Rotarian contributions would mean additional funding for the Rotary Peace Centers, as well as more matched contributions to help eradicate polio, thanks to our partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Rotary Foundation is a powerful force that efficiently carries out impactful and sustainable projects around the world; Charity Navigator has recognized The Rotary Foundation with a four-star rating annually for 13 consecutive years. All Rotary members can be proud of this. And how great it would be if all Rotarians would support the Foundation in whatever way they could.
I have a simple request this month. Please take 10 minutes during your next club meeting to discuss ways to get more involved in the Foundation this year. It could be planning an online fundraiser to benefit the Foundation or partnering with other clubs for a global grant project.
Whatever you do, remember that our members — all of us — drive Rotary’s efforts and sustain our Foundation.
-John F. Germ
Trustee Chair 2021-22
As we focus on membership in Rotary this month, I ask you to help make history this year. For more than 20 years, our membership has stood at 1.2 million. Rotary is a vibrant organization with a 116-year history, members in more than 220 countries and geographic areas, and a rich legacy of work in polio eradication and other humanitarian programs. Rotary has changed so much in our own lives and the lives of others. As we Serve to Change Lives, don’t you think Rotary could have an even greater impact on the world if more people were practicing Service Above Self?
My vision is to increase Rotary membership to 1.3 million by July 2022, and the call to action is simple: Each One, Bring One. This year, I want every Rotarian and Rotaractor to introduce a new person into their club.
We are a membership organization, and members are our greatest asset. You are the ones who contribute so generously to The Rotary Foundation. You are the ones who dream big to bring good into the world through meaningful projects. And of course, you are the ones who have put the world on the brink of eradicating polio.
As we make membership a priority this year, let us focus on diversity by reaching out to younger people and especially to women. Every club should celebrate its new members, and every Rotarian who sponsors a member will be personally recognized by me. And those who are successful in bringing in 25 or more members will be part of our new Membership Society.
Even as we share the gift of Rotary with others, let us be sure to engage these new members, because an engaged Rotarian is an asset forever. And remember that engaging our current members and keeping them in our clubs is just as important as bringing in newcomers. Let us also be ready to form new clubs, especially flexible ones. I am very bullish on clubs that hold virtual or hybrid meetings, and satellite clubs and cause-based clubs can also be very effective ways of growing Rotary.
As you grow more, you will be able to do more. Let us keep empowering girls through our work in each of the areas of focus. Scholarships for girls, toilets in schools, health and hygiene education — there is so much we can do. Projects focused on the environment are also attracting interest the world over. Do participate in these projects locally and internationally to make this world a better place for us and for all species.
Each of you is a Rotary brand ambassador, and all of the wonderful work done by Rotarians around the world needs to be shared outside the Rotary community. Use social media to tell your friends, colleagues, and relatives the stories of Service Above Self.
Finally, I’m challenging every club, during the coming year, to plan at least one Rotary Day of Service that will bring together volunteers from inside and outside Rotary and will celebrate and showcase the work of your club in your community. Visit to find out more about all of these initiatives, along with other ways to Serve to Change Lives.
Shekhar Mehta
President 2021-22
 Rotary International announcement
To recognize those who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment and success in growing our membership, we have launched a new recognition program. The Membership Society for New Member Sponsors is a virtual gallery for those members who have sponsored 25 or more new members. Members can achieve different tiers of recognition as they continue to sponsor more members.
The recognition levels are:
Bronze Level: Sponsored 25-29 members
Silver Level: Sponsored 30-49 members
Gold Level: Sponsored 50-74 members
Platinum Level: Sponsored 75+ members
To be included in the Membership Society, an individual has to have sponsored 25 or more new members, and have reported those sponsorships to Rotary. New member sponsorship can only be between active members in the same club, and does not include charter members of a new club.
Contact us with any questions you may have about the new recognition program. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Gerald Sieberhagen and Annemarie Mostert are the only ones on the Southern Africa list for bringing in more than 25 members. Well done!

The 2020 pandemic has been a difficult challenge for everyone in every corner of the world. Even though the virus closed many doors with people locked down at home, online solutions provided new opportunities for safe interactions that had not been considered before. Rotary Friendship Exchange (RFE) is no exception to utilizing these online solutions.

When the pandemic developed in Lithuania, Rotary District 1462 decided to proactively use virtual tools to stay connected. District 1462 started their Rotary Friendship Exchange program in 2018 and gave several teams the unforgettable experience and joy of discovering new places and cultures. Rotarians visited India (District 3141) and USA (District 5330). Having such inspiring impressions motivated the Rotarians in our district to bring our RFE program online.

The RFE program allows Rotary members and friends to get to know other countries and their cultures, along with local Rotary friends from around the world. Close and direct communication with the local Rotarians and Rotaractors provides lasting impressions on the participants of the exchange and allows them to feel the culture of the country and get to know it much deeper than on any ordinary trip. Furthermore, exchanges inspire long-term relationships between clubs and countries; participating clubs often become twin clubs, partners for global grants, and collaborators on international projects. The most important outcome of these exchanges is lasting friendships. Considering all of these root attributes of the program, we saw no reason that a cultural exchange couldn’t be achieved online.  The internet provided an opportunity to experience the world directly from home.

The RFE Committee of District 1462 collected and exchanged RFE coordinators’ contacts who were interested in organising exchanges online. More than 70 Rotary districts responded, which reflected the excitement about continuing the program despite travel restrictions. Due to these coordination efforts, a virtual exchanges were set with Brazil (District 4740) and Ukraine (District 2232) which included introduction of cultures, heritage, history, Rotary activities, and social initiatives of participating countries and clubs. Moreover, together with the District efforts clubs were also organizing virtual exchanges with their twin clubs individually involving activities such as cooking lessons.

Rotary opens up many opportunities, including the opportunity to change the world, by sharing different cultures, different experiences, and to grow friendships that know no borders – regardless of the form of participation. Participants of the program shared that the virtual experience was equally interesting and fun, gave great emotions for all, and was a memorable activity of the year at the club.

-By Živilė Savickaitė, 2020-21 Rotary Friendship Exchange for District 1462, Lithuania, and Charter President of Rotary Club Vilnius Vytis  

‘’To be able to do more through service, Rotary needs to increase membership,’’ Rotary International President Mehta said. Membership has hovered around 1.2 million for the past two decades. He challenged the incoming governors to be catalysts in their districts to help increase membership to 1.3 million by 1 July 2022. Mehta’s Each One, Bring One initiative asks every member to bring one person to join Rotary within the next 17 months.

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