IAN H.S. RISELEY
Rotary is a massive, and massively complex,
organization. Hundreds of thousands of
participants are involved in numerous Rotary
programs and a host of local and Foundation-
supported projects at the national, district, and
local levels. One hundred thirteen years after
the first Rotary club was founded, Rotary service
literally reaches around the globe.
What that service looks like on a daily or weekly
basis can vary enormously by region, by country,
and by club. Each club has its own history, its
own priorities, and its own identity. And there’s
nothing wrong with that, as Rotary is by design
a decentralized organization, intended to enable
each Rotarian and each Rotary club to serve in the
way that suits them best.
Yet the diversity that makes us so strong can also
pose challenges to our identity as an organization.
It is no surprise that many people who have heard
of Rotary still have little idea of what Rotary does,
how we are organized, or why we exist at all. Even
within Rotary, many members have an incomplete
understanding of our larger organization, of
our goals, or of the scope and breadth of our
programs. These challenges have significant
consequences, not only for our ability to serve
most effectively, but for the public image that is so
essential to our ability to build our membership,
our partnerships, and our service.
Several years ago, Rotary launched a serious,
organization-wide effort to address these issues,
developing tools to strengthen both our visual
and our brand identity. Today, we are using those
tools to develop our People of Action public image
campaign, which showcases the ability that Rotary
grants each of us to make a difference in our
communities and beyond. Last June, your Rotary
International Board voted to adopt a new vision
statement, reflecting our identity and the single
purpose that unites the diversity of our work:
Together, we see a world where people unite and
take action to create lasting change — across the
globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.
Wherever we live, whatever language we speak,
whatever work our clubs do, our vision is the same.
We all see a world that could be better and that we
can make better. We are here because Rotary gives
us the opportunity to build the world we want to
see — to unite and take action through Rotary:
Making a Difference.