How can Rotary help your business?
You may well have heard of Rotary International, the world’s largest voluntary service organisation with its network of clubs. But the chances are you won’t know much about it or what it does. And you probably won’t think it has much relevance to you or your business.
Well, actually, it does. Although membership of a Rotary club is for people who want to give something back to their community, it can also benefit you, your business, and your employees, in a variety of ways…
Business networking: Rotary was originally established, 105 years ago, for networking purposes. It was only when it grew into a large, powerful force that its founders realised that it had the power to help others less fortunate as well. Among the 55,000 members in 1,850 Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland, there is a high proportion of business men and women and, because members of Rotary believe in high ethical business standards, there is a level of mutual trust and respect which can open doors to business opportunities. Not only is this the case within your own club, but also when two members wearing the distinctive Rotary ‘wheel’ lapel pin meet each other anywhere in the world, there is immediate empathy.
Staff development: Your employees can benefit enormously – not only will they mix with experienced business people and hear from interesting visiting speakers, they will also learn valuable skills, such as event management and public speaking, as well as organisational, time management and budget control skills – the sort of skills that would otherwise make a big dent in your employee training budget. Teamwork and leadership development are key aspects of Rotary and your staff will grow in confidence and maturity as they learn valuable ‘soft’ skills, such as how to motivate and get the best out of others, as well as themselves.
Corporate Social Responsibility: Whatever definition you use, CRS is all about companies acting responsibly, ethically, legally and with respect for the community and the environment, all of which are in keeping with Rotary’s own guiding principles. Being a responsible Rotarian and getting involved in your community will inevitably enhance your and your company’s standing with your customers.
Fulfillment and fun: Helping others less fortunate and benefiting your community through worthwhile events and projects is incredibly fulfilling! If you doubt that, just have a look at the video at www.ribi.org And, because clubs are close-knit teams of like-minded people, they have great social lives together. Whether it’s dragon-boat racing, go-carting, sponsored bike riding, pancake racing or simply going round together collecting unused spectacles to send off to people who need them in Africa, whatever you get up to in Rotary you have a great deal of fun.
So, ignore the misconceptions that Rotary is for retired, white, men who simply enjoy long, leisurely lunches and write the odd cheque for charity. (That’s how market research suggests people tend to perceive the typical Rotarian, anyway.) Rotary is for men and women of all ages from 18 upwards, regardless of religion or ethnicity. Clubs meet to suit their members – before work, lunchtime, after work or even at weekends – and make good use of their time because their busy people. The key thing is that, as a member, you want to use your skills, energy and sense of humour to give something back to your community. And by giving, you’ll be amazed at what you get back!
To find out more, and to find a club near you or even about starting your own club with your colleagues and friends, go to www.ribi.org/about-us/how-to-join-rotary
Written by David Bryant
Head of Marketing & Communications
Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland