Areas of focus are the causes that drive Rotary. We are now halfway through the pilot of our Future Vision Plan, and as I look to the future I think the most significant change will be the adoption of the six areas of focus – and not just for our Foundation. I recently heard RI Director Stuart Heal, the chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, say that our areas of focus fit very comfortably into our RI Strategic Plan.
Today’s generation supports causes rather than organizations, and so we in Rotary should be able to clearly identify the causes that drive us. When somebody asks you what Rotary is, you do not have to fumble for words. Tell the person that we are an organization of service-minded individuals around the world who are working to make the world a better place with our efforts in water and sanitation, basic education and literacy, maternal and child health, disease prevention and treatment, economic and community development, and peace and conflict resolution. You can say that in 20 seconds!
You can see how this may bring new members to Rotary and increase the giving to our Foundation. If you approach corporations for a contribution, they are much more likely to respond if they know how their money will be spent, and that we will spend it wisely. We are building on a strong record of performance over a long period of time. Bill Gates has said as much on a number of occasions. He has shown his faith in us through his significant gifts for polio eradication.
While I am writing this from a Foundation perspective, the membership factor should not be overlooked. Plenty of organizations talk about issues, but Rotary is about action, not words.