Look around the room at your next club meeting. How much weaker would it be if the only people in the room were those eligible for Rotary membership 40 years ago? How many of your club’s projects depend on members who would have been ineligible then? How many around you don’t look like you, share your beliefs or interests? Can you recognize just how much richer your club, Rotary, and your community is for the diversity of our membership?
While people may choose to accept our invitations to membership for various reasons (dedication to service, business networking, friendship, etc.), it is the atmosphere of their meetings and interactions with their fellow members that will determine whether they remain willing to join you in making the world a better place, or if they quickly drop from sight. Every Rotarian should be inspired by a shared spirit of connection and purpose. When we as leaders are proactive in providing our members with a memorable, engaging club experience, we not only become more attractive to new members, but perhaps more importantly, we keep those who’ve already chosen to join us and in whom we’ve invested time and attention.If we do not offer inclusive surroundings for our meetings and service projects, it is no surprise that excluded members will not feel that they belong. It is not only our opportunity, but our obligation to provide the environment for diverse peoples to see themselves as integral to Rotary’s mission and success.