District Governor 2000-2001

Governor’s Monthly Letter
July 2000

Be proactive with membership development and extension,
enhancing Rotary’s image and building partnerships

My Dear Action Presidents and Rotary Leaders,

This may be the first time I write to you in this particular format, but I hope this is not the first time you come across my thoughts in writing. During the past 12 months, I contributed to a “Continuity Column” in Governor Dipo’s Monthly Letter. In addition, I started a letter series through e-mail round about that time to talk about Rotary, my life and life generally. Both series are available on the District Website.

In this day and age, effective communication is vital. This monthly letter cannot therefore be the sole communication tool between us. To encourage the use of the Internet, I am deliberately limiting production to 300 hard copies for each issue. I urge you to advise your members to go for the Website version that is linked to the District Album. Over time, maybe we can print even fewer hard copies or do away with them altogether, thus saving some trees. In the meantime, you are free to make copies for members and friends who prefer to read them as such.

Now, first, my wife Rosita and I would like to wish you well. We wish you prosperity, good health and happiness. Once again, I can no better convey to you the Rotary message for the year than to quote what our leader of leaders Frank Devlyn said to his team members on the first day of the Rotary year. This is what our President said,

“Today is the first day where we officially begin the work of our “Action Team”. All of you are aware of the importance I have placed on our theme . . . “Create Awareness . . . Take Action” . . . In our clubs, In our Community, In our world. It is now up to each of you to give life and meaning to our theme during our year. Let us never forget it is our time to make things happen. If we are to be successful in our goals, it will depend on you and me. Good luck and best wishes for a very successful Rotary year.”

I would like to believe that our Action Team had started work before 1 July 2000. I said in my article “Is there a beginning or an end” that to the committed Rotarian, life is a continuing quest to follow the heart, as opposed to a quest for fame and fortune. I also said that any time is a good time for service, such that there is no beginning or end in the enterprise of service. Nevertheless, it is useful to start a new year with new goals and defined objectives. One suggests this is what the annual Rotary themes seek to achieve.

Specifically, President Frank Devlyn has asked us to focus on the following priorities during 2000-2001.
First, keep our current RI and Rotary Foundation programs in motion. In particular, keep up the momentum on programs such as PolioPlus.
Second, be proactive in our membership development and retention efforts.
Third, work hard to enhance Rotary’s public image
Fourth, build partnerships
Fifth, find innovative and proactive ways to address the world’s many pressing concerns.

August being Membership and Extension Month, President Frank Devlyn has reminded us of his 21st Century Challenge issued in July, which will recognize those districts and clubs that achieve the highest net gains in membership between 1 July 2000 and 15 May 2001. President Frank has also challenged each Rotarian to bring in a new member during the year. He asked each club to create two teams—one focusing on recruitment and the other on retention. In short, he has asked clubs and districts to think corporate and to think big. “If every club meets the 21st Century Challenge,” notes President Frank, “the results will be felt worldwide, as an ever-growing force of Rotarians strives to Create Awareness and Take Action.”

The Presidential Membership Goal for this Rotary Year challenges each club to increase its net membership by five Rotarians. I am happy that many clubs in the District are taking this most seriously and are working hard on it. I am hopeful that we can achieve our District goal of 2001 members and I hope that at least one of our clubs in the District can receive from the hands of President Frank the award at the 2001 San Antonio Convention in June 2001.

Past Governor Moses Cheng is our District Membership Development and Extension Chairman. He has been working very hard on the program and will no doubt issue guidelines and a District Award Scheme. Watch this column. In the meantime, feel free to write to him or me if you come across ideas on how to take the matter further.

From membership development, I move to Rotary’s image. To start with, one must bear in mind that enhancing Rotary’s image is not an end in itself. It is a means to promote Rotary and to bring Rotary closer to the people that need our service most. In corporate parlance, it is a marketing strategy in the business plan. Building image takes time and money. It follows that we would achieve economy of scale if this is taken up at the District rather than at the club level. Once again, we welcome your views.

Another way of enhancing Rotary’s image is through building partnerships with other organizations. I suggest we have made a good start by signing Friendship and Co-operation Agreement with four service organizations at our District Installation in June. These four organizations are the Lions Clubs International District 303, Zonta International District 17, Hong Kong Junior Chamber and the Agency for Volunteer Service. We would follow up with these service organizations with a view to developing joint service projects that would not only benefit more people, but would also help enhancing our image and our public relations. This is a new area and once again, will need to be proceeded at the District level.

In the words of President Frank, there’s so much to do. So we must take action early and be proactive. Talk to you soon.

Your Governor John Wan