When most of us think about diversity, in a Rotary context, we usually think of having a wide array of club members of differing ages, genders, ethnic backgrounds and professional credentials (dare I say ‘classifications’?). Having a diverse club membership is important; the varied talents and perspectives will add strength to the club and ideally enhance project effectiveness.
But what about the importance of CLUB diversity within a District and Rotary International as a whole? In my district, clubs range in size from about a dozen to several hundred members. Some clubs focus on the prestige of membership, others on hand-on service. Some clubs take pride in serving their local community; others identify with their long history of international service.
I have been a Rotarian, and served as an Assistant Governor in an area that only has small, rural clubs. Our close-knit communities have great needs and limited resources. (Oh, how I wish there was more than one restaurant that could accommodate our meeting!) But the beauty of living in a community like mine, is that the needs of the people are often obvious and the opportunities for service are great. This was brought home to me when I was asked to present my pet project to another club in the district. In my area, the project was a great success, however when presented to an upscale, urban club, the concept fell flat. Somehow, it didn’t meet an obvious need, or perhaps the need was present, but being effectively addressed by another organization. The urban club decided that an international project was more to their liking, and they have done some amazing work! This experience highlighted for me the importance of embracing the differences between clubs. And most importantly, as a someone that can influence district strategy and communication, not to expect that one size will fit all, or even most!
So, as you have probably surmised, I think we need all sorts of people in our clubs and all sorts of clubs in our districts. Everyone following their passion as People of Action!