This weeks meeting, week commencing 10th January, 2013.

Has Rotary become too Fund Raising orientated?

Last week President Tim highlighted our need to consider this year’s Rotary theme ‘Peace through Service’, and this week we want to consider our Rotary Motto ‘Service above Self’ vs just doing Fund Raising.

When the eClub celebrated its Charter Event back in May 2012, President Tim spoke much about how he hoped the eClub could work in partnership in its activities.  To this end we need to consider how can we do this by giving ‘Service above Self’, using our talents and skills to help organisations in their activities within the community. A good example of this is the Autism Awareness Workshop we are organising at Uplands School on the 16th March, we are using our skills to make more people in the community aware and how they can do more to ensure people with autism are included in community activities. This could be also considered as facilitating how a community ensures better inclusion for all and therefore whether Rotary through its Service giving ought to be about facilitation, rather than pure fund raising.

Next month we are going to be running our Virtual Balloon Race as part of Heart Month in aid of the British Heart Foundation (BHF).  Some will say “well, this is fund raising”, but let us consider it a good example of how we are a) helping the BHF raise awareness of Heart issues, b) we are doing something different which will raise both awareness of BHF and our eClub, and c) we will be helping the BHF continue its important work to prevent heart desease. This can be considered as a really good example of Service through working in Partnership with BHF, as well as facilitating support to raise vital funds in a fun and different way in our communities over the internet.

Service Above Self  has been an aspiration of Rotary International from the very start:

“The world’s first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, was formed on 23 February 1905 by Paul P. Harris, an attorney who wished to capture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The Rotary name derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members’ offices.

Rotary’s popularity spread, and within a decade, clubs were chartered from San Francisco to New York to Winnipeg, Canada. By 1921, Rotary clubs had been formed on six continents. The organization adopted the Rotary International name a year later.

As Rotary grew, its mission expanded beyond serving club members’ professional and social interests. Rotarians began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. The organization’s dedication to this ideal is best expressed in its motto: Service Above Self.” A quote from RI

The last paragraph stresses it is about pooling our talents and skills to undertake these Service projects. So how can our eClub ensure the projects we undertake consider these principles of:

  • working partnership where possible
  • doing practical service or helping to facilitate something to be done in a community
  • not just doing pure fund raising, does it involve Rotarians in undertaking Service, and helping others to give Service e.g. Shelter Boxes or End Polio Now
  • how can this Service help us to join up our talents and skills within a team, to make a real contribution in our community or to an organisation we are working with
As an eClub in our future projects Service above Self needs to be considered our priority aspiration and as we plan future work does it meet that priority?
As we continue to think about projects for 2013/14, let us consider how we can encourage each other to do things together in a team so that our communities will know Rotary for the Service it gives others whilst, as put forward in last week’s meeting, we get to know each other better and build friendships as we have fun together.
This film describes well how Rotary is seen for its Service above Self aspiration:

and finally something to think about as you consider your own Service above Self:


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0 thoughts on “The Importance of Service in Rotary

  1. Rachel Davis says:

    Thanks for this – although I think you’ve made a typo with “heart decease” instead of “heart disease”?!
    I think that as members of the eclub, we offer service above self all the time – even in the act of befriending others, and offering emotional support to those we don’t know.
    It’s pleasing to know that depsite our geographical distance, we can be close by virtually when we’re needed – and I think that this is what Rotary is all about.

    I’m obviously happy with the fundraising element of rotary too – and I’m looking forward to the balloon race, which I will talk about more next week, but I also think that Rotary is a great way of sharing knowledge and information about issues that we may be unaware of.
    The Autism awareness project is a particularly good example of this, and I think that we should be very proud to be part of this group.

  2. Jill says:

    Hi Tim. I would like to suggest another dimension to the ‘Service Above Self’ v ‘Fund Raising’ issues because the 2 are not mutually exclusive. Much of the service that we give internationally is through projects primarily funded by grants from The Rotary Foundation; but Foundation can only have funds to distibute as grants, if we donate to the Annual Programmes Fund. There are also lots of projects locally, which are part funded by District Simplified Grants. So my opinion is that we should see Service above Self + Fund-Raising as interdependent elements towards helping others.

    Regards to all


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