John Hewko’s Presentation to the Troy Rotary Club

Hewko when he visited our club in Feb 2020

The Rotary Club of Troy and District 6380 were proud to host a webinar featuring Rotary International General Secretary and CEO, John Hewko on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. John oversees the operations of both Rotary and The Rotary Foundation and manages a combined operating budget of over $450 million and assets of more than $1 billion. He also oversees Rotary’s relationship with strategic partners and governments and leads a staff of almost 800 at Rotary’s Evanston headquarters and worldwide.

Almost 900 passionate Rotarians signed on to listen to the General Secretary and his suggestions on how clubs can survive for the future. John provided an intimate discussion on the future of Rotary in the next few years. His talk invited us to think of the value of Rotary as a “product” that continuously needs to be changed and adjusted to changing member needs and the current local situation.
He proposed six Calls to Action to help us in navigating through the current pandemic:
1. Rotaractors – get them more involved, invite them to club events. RI statistics show that only 5% of Rotaractors become Rotarians
2. Member retention/engagement – The core values of Rotary like the motto and the Four-way Test but think about options for meeting times, networking events, and service projects. Reach out to members who may have “disappeared” during the current online environment. Membership in RI overall is stagnant at 1.2 million. North America, the UK, and Australia are losing while Asia, Africa, and many developing countries are growing. North America once provided 100% of Rotarians, of course, but now is less than 30%. Each year, 150,000 persons join Rotary but 150,000 also leave. Half of all the members who leave do so within three years. The 2-3 year time frame is key
3. Innovation – Try new ways of meeting, doing projects, or other club models
4. Unleash your creativity in fundraising – Stretch the limits in coming up with new ideas to raise funds. He mentioned the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as a virtually no-cost but exceptionally successful effort.
5. Connectivity – Continue to be connected, e.g., to each other, clubs, to the district, and through Rotary Fellowships
6. Reaching out – to struggling clubs who are not meeting during the pandemic
He affirmed that the “sky is not falling” and that RI and TRF are on sound footing and that “the world needs Rotary now, more than ever!” The current situation is an opportunity to re-evaluate our value proposition.
The video recording of John’s inspirational presentation is available on line at: https://youtu.be/38Oiqb5pDmI
adapted by John White from a wrapup by the Troy Club.