Diversity is one way Rotary Clubs can become vibrant. Most people first think of diversity as ethnicity, race and gender. However, diversity is much broader than that, including age, gender identity, physical abilities, race, sexual orientation, education, geographic location, income, marital status, partnership status, religion or belief, parental status, caring responsibilities and work experience.
Rotary International encourages clubs to evaluate those in their communities who are eligible for membership under existing membership guidelines, and to include a range
of individuals in their clubs.
I recently visited with a Rotarian in our neighboring district. She visited a New York City Rotary Club over Christmas and asked how they got such a vibrant and diverse membership. They told her: reach out to communities on a topic of mutual interest, and work together. Collaboration and membership often follows.
I encourage your club to recruit members who reflects the diversity of your communities and of society as a whole. Treat all members, employees and contacts with dignity and respect. Provide Rotarians with the opportunity to develop and realize their full potential. Secure equal opportunities. Ensure that Rotary recruitment, selection, and career progression processes are fair, objective and free from bias or stereotyping.
One young Rotarian from another district noticed that 40-50 of the club's 210 members didn't attend regularly, despite having paid for lunch. Seeing the empty seats as a missed opportunity, this young Rotarian proposed an Under 35 Rule: Half of those available seats can be used to invite young professionals to the meeting free of charge. And if one of these guests decides to join, his or her dues and fees are cut in half. This recruiting initiative gained 12 new members over two years.
Diversity is not easy to do, but achieving diversity helps create vibrancy and makes
good Rotary Clubs great. Vibrant clubs can achieve diversity, grow, and Be Great, on Purpose!
NOTE: I researched several sites from around the world to learn more about diversity. A member of Minneapolis City of Lakes Rotary shared that they have created a committee to address diversity. Material above is credited to RI, COL, and districts in Ireland, Australia, and the U.S.