As we enter the final quarter of my presidency of Niles Rotary, I am once again reminded how very unorthodox a year it has been. As I started out last July, I began with a video, something that you’ve come to know is not unusual for me! In that video, I stated that I would shake things up a bit in the next 12 months. At that recording, little did I know that it would last my entire year! Prior to the pandemic, I recall that one of my major objectives was to begin the process of making our meetings available electronically. Who would have guessed that Zoom would become the norm? As I ponder my final quarter as Niles Rotary President, I must start thinking about the eventual transition back to live Rotary meetings. At this writing, we are about to have our first hybrid meeting where we will have safely gathered a limited number of Niles Rotarians as allowed in our current Orange level. Those asked to participate were asked because we’ve not seen them over the past 9 months. I want to emphasize that a great deal of thought and planning have gone into this first hybrid meeting adhering to all safety measures. My thanks to our Area Governor- my wife Lisa- who provided perspective from the other District clubs that have already started hybrid meetings. I’ve asked past Niles Rotary Presidents Craig Steckler to sit in for me at this first meeting because I will be behind the scenes making sure all safety cautions are followed and that the technology works!
If anyone from our Rotary family wishes to attend an upcoming hybrid meeting in person, please let me know. We will be transitioning to a format that more closely mimics our live meetings. We are working to come up with the means to reserve a seat at future meetings until we can gather a greater number of Niles Rotarians together. We will be able to provide a meal via food trucks, which can be purchased on site for the traditional fee of $20. Just as was the case at Washington West, 3/4 of the fee charged will cover the food cost whereas the remaining five dollars will be contributed to the club. While on the subject of fees, let’s visit for the sake of our newer members and some of us older ones, the dues and fees collected from Niles Rotarians and how they financially support club operations.
Niles Rotary member dues for the past 7 years or so have been $160, of which Rotary International and District 5170 (our Rotary district) take approximately $145 from that which is collected from each Rotary club member. The balance of about $15 per member funds a small part of our operating budget for the year. The majority of the club operating budget is funded by weekly meeting fees collected when attending live meetings at Washington West. Of the $20 charged to attend, approximately five dollars goes to fund club operations. The balance pays the cost having our meeting at Washington West. Because of the uncertainty about the ability to have full live meetings for the balance of 2021, your board has met to discuss ways of shift shifting the burden of funding the club operations from the meeting fees to annual dues. This dues restructure will assess our members $250 a year, netting the club $105.00 per member instead of the $15 under the old dues structure (these are approximate figures rounded to the nearest dollar). However, if you do not attend a meeting, there will be no make up or meeting fee assessed as was the case in the past.
The new fee structure was presented to the Board and passed at the March 14 meeting. I’d like to give a shout out to Don Cole who worked numerous financial scenarios needed to arrive at a recommendation that balances the need to support club operations, yet considered what Rotarians in other clubs within our area pay. Please know that this decision was made after countless hours of meetings and consultations Our Membership Development Committee members weighed in on some aspects of early proposals to help get the dues committee to a point that we felt was fair to all concerned. The unknown nature of resuming live meetings presented a threat to the financial well-being of our club; therefore, it became important that we shift funding club operations from meeting fees to a more stable annual dues structure. As mentioned, your board approved the new dues restructure and stated that it will be reassessed in time as we settle back into our new normal….whatever that might look like. Lastly for now, please know that the new dues restructure does not render additional money over and above club budgets of the last several years. It is my sincere hope that Niles Rotarians see the wisdom in these trying times to address the uncertainty of the future as Niles Rotary becomes more flexible and reacts to our changing times. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions!
May you continue to bloom in Rotary service,