Rotary eClub One, District 5450
World's 1st eClub (Jan 2002)
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New Generations: Ideas For Reaching Out

Reaching out to New Generations is a commitment to the future of your Rotary club. Rotary clubs worldwide are challenged with attracting and keeping busy, young, career-driven members. One important consideration is that ambitious young people are eager to find professional mentors. Why not develop an innovative mentoring program and promote this benefit to prospective members?

Some places to start:

  • Search on the Rotary International Website ( for the publication Leadership Development: Your Guide to Starting a Program
  • Plan and devote a club meeting to discussing the section on mentoring.
  • Develop a club mentoring program based on your discussion. Ask for volunteers to participate as mentors (or mentees, if you already have new members who are interested)
  • Promote your mentorship program as a membership benefit. Mention it in your club brochure and on your club website.

Another publication available from Rotary International is An Introduction to New Generations Service. Many of the New Generations age group are already participants in Rotary's youth and young adult programs: Interact, Rotaract, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), and Rotary Youth Exchange. Others are service-minded young people involved in Rotary club and district activities.

Suggestions from a New Generation Rotarian

Here are just a few key ideas for reaching out to younger generations presented by author, entrepreneur, and young Rotarian Michael McQueen at the 2011 RI Convention.

  • Engage young people with short-term projects.
  • Build relationships
  • Explain the "why" of Rotary by appealing to a sense of global responsibility and a desire to take action. Serve as mentors and provide networking opportunities

McQueen says that the next generation represents an exciting opportunity for Rotary. He suggests: "Start small. Rather than approaching young people by asking them to join, engage them with short-term projects. Build relationships with them so they get a sense of Rotary's DNA. When Rotarians are asked about Rotary by younger people, often they answer with how Rotary works -- the rules, traditions, and rituals. Rotarians need to explain the "why" of Rotary. Generation Y is outcome focused. Have a clear answer on why the outcome of projects is important."

McQueen states further, "The next generation represents an enormously exciting opportunity for Rotary. There are three reasons why. One, having grown up with the Internet and being so interconnected, young people are acutely aware of global issues and concerns. They believe that such a small world really can be changed. Two, they are socially engaged. Recent studies have shown that 70 percent of Generation Y actively volunteers on a weekly basis. Not only does this group feel it can make a difference, it genuinely wants to. Three, they are ambitious. Young people today are desperate to get ahead in their careers and are looking for mentors and networking opportunities."

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