Busted! 10 Myths About Rotary
Myth - Rotary is for men only
Rotary International began in 1905, and for the first 84 years of its existence, it is true that women were not admitted into membership. But as the prevalence of female business leaders began to grow, and in response to a ground swell of demand for female admission, Rotary changed its legislation in 1989 to admit women. Today, women represent approximately 34 percent of Rotary membership in United States. The Minneapolis South Rotary Club has always welcomed women as a part of the club’s fabric, and is about 50-50 in the gender split.
Myth - Rotary is for old white people
The motto of the Minneapolis South Rotary Club is “Strength in Diversity.” Our club is diverse in just about every sense of the word: age, nationality, race, culture, political leaning, sexual orientation and more. We want to represent the face of South Minneapolis, which has some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city. We capitalize on this diversity to use the talents, knowledge, wisdom and enthusiasm of each member to serve our community.
Myth - You have to attend every week
Most Rotary clubs meet on a weekly basis, and members are encouraged to attend whenever possible, but we understand that there are many demands on the time of today’s business professional. In addition to regular club meetings, Rotarians have other ways to become involved, such as fundraising activities, community service projects, leadership training events and social activities. The Minneapolis South Rotary Club appreciates and respects the time you give to the club.
Myth - Rotary is only for doctors, lawyers, CEOs, rich people or Republicans
Rotary’s membership base is a broad cross-section of people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, professions, incomes and political leanings. Our diversity is our strongest asset. The Minneapolis South Rotary Club includes current and retired educators, project managers, consultants, employment specialists, writers, local business owners/managers and clergy. Work from home? Just starting out in business? Moving up through the ranks? Made it to the top? Retired? There is opportunity for you in the Minneapolis South Rotary Club. Our dues ($300 annually) are some of the most affordable in the Twin Cities. You get the filet mignon of Rotary on a macaroni budget.
Myth - Membership is by invitation only
Anyone can visit and join Rotary club. There are no secret handshakes or “member only” rituals in Rotary. We accept members from all walks of life, and have no cultural or religious barriers or expectations. Meetings are open and everyone is welcome. Those interested in membership can fill out the application on this website (under “Become A Member”) or ask a member at a meeting for a paper application. The club president can explain the process and expectations for membership.
Myth - Rotary is just a lot of talk
Sure, we talk a lot. We’re friendly, social and enjoy learning. But we’re also a group of serious do-ers in our communities and the greater world. Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self” and it’s something that the Minneapolis South Rotary Club takes to heart. Our projects include planting/maintaining Little Free Libraries in South Minneapolis book deserts; sponsoring/hosting high school youth exchange students; donating gloves, mittens and school supplies to needy youth; career training for teens; and more. Beyond our borders, we’ve helped rural schools in India, a womens shelter in South Africa; and small business owners worldwide through microloans.
Myth - All Rotarians do is ask for money
Yes, Rotarians raise money in a variety of ways for their projects. The neat thing about Rotary is its robust grant fund through the Rotary Foundation. A dollar that you donate to a Rotary cause has the potential to be tripled, or more, through various grant programs. That’s power!
Myth - You’ve seen one Rotary club, you’ve seen them all
There are more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in the world and no two are the same. They are all unique, with unique members, unique projects, and unique culture. Each has its own board of directors who administer the club autonomously. One of them is just right for you! There are six Rotary Clubs in Minneapolis: visit them all to figure out which fits you the best.
Myth - You cannot discuss your business or profession in Rotary
The first-ever Rotary meeting (February 23, 1905, in Chicago) was initiated to serve the professional and social interests of its members. It was networking, long before it became a buzz word. As Rotary grew, members began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. Rotary is now the world’s premier humanitarian service organization, but its roots are firmly embedded in business networking. Rotary is not for overt self or business promotion -- one should not feel pressured into doing business with another Rotarian. However, business alliances often happen due to connections made in Rotary. Rotarians are also expected to have high business ethics and follow the four-way test in the things we think, say or do: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Myth - Rotary is an “old fashioned” organization, with boring and ritualistic meetings
As a century-old organization, it’s reasonable to expect that there are some long observed traditions in some clubs. But the very highest levels of Rotary leadership, both at global and local level, are encouraging clubs to innovate and become more progressive in the way they do things. Every club is different. Some are more progressive, some are more steeped in tradition. The Minneapolis South Rotary Club continually evolves in order to stay fresh and relevant.