“You can’t always make the assumption that what’s obvious to you is obvious to everybody else!”
In a recent edition of the Rotarian magazine, an article with this title caught my attention. Aside from the implications this has to social media posts we see daily, I started thinking about how I’ve come to realize what may be obvious to our club’s leadership isn’t always as obvious to our members. As I recall, since joining Niles Rotary in 2012, each of our club presidents has worked to convey to our members how our club maintains fiscal viability and stewardship of the money YOU donate. Where does the club “make money” to allow us to meet our obligations to Rotary International, Washington Hospital (when we meet), as well as our local and international service projects? We have our meeting fees, when we actually attend meetings at Washington West. We also have a variety of recognitions in addition to how each member chooses how they wish to financially celebrate their birthday, wedding or rotary anniversary. How about the Happy Cup? When we were able to have it, what was done with 50% of the black ball marble proceeds? (the lucky person who draws the black marble gets to keep the other 50%). What is the impact of each member’s choice as to where they wish their donation to be directed? I don’t want to assume that everyone knows – therefore, I want to touch on these items in this and future articles as well as share my vision for the balance of my year as President of Niles Rotary.
Recall that in Past President Bruce’s year, he took time to prepare a PowerPoint that showed club dues and where that money is directed. Each member’s yearly dues during his year were $160.00. Of that, $88.15 went to Rotary International and $56.00 to our Rotary District 5170. This left $15.85 per member for Niles Rotary. It is obvious that $15.85 per member is not sufficient to operate our club and do the phenomenal work we do to make Niles Rotary Bloom! Also, these dues do not include our meeting fee of which approximately 3/4th of the $20 collected goes to pay for the food and use of our meeting room at Washington West (when we meet); nor do they include the required purchase (or sale) of an elimination raffle ticket or participation fees for Niles Rotary events throughout the year. I can’t fail to mention your donations to the Rotary Foundation via Every Rotarian Every Year (some of which our club makes on your behalf) nor contributions you make via a double sustainer for instance.
I am also reminded of how Past President Bruce wanted to have a social gathering for the second part of his Club Assembly to gain your input on dues and any other issue our members would like to discuss. I pledged to follow up with such a meeting, yet COVID-19 continues to rule the day in keeping us apart. Finding new ways to conduct our Rotary business is a challenge we are all embracing. With this in mind, I’d like to share my thoughts on meeting fees and fundraising.
When we started zooming, Past President Bruce desired to make the $20 meeting fee optional as he and your board recognized that COVID was impacting each member differently. I carried on the optional nature of paying this fee for the first quarter of my year as your president. For the second quarter, I have recommended that we suspend the option of paying a meeting fee altogether. Of course, should you desire to financially support our club over and above, there is always the Happy Cup!
With regard to fundraising, you have now heard that the Elimination Raffle will celebrate its 25th year in grand style in the spring of 2022. So…. what do we do in the Spring of 2021? All Niles Rotarians share a passion for education and assisting our youth and teachers. I proposed a Welcome Teacher Day event that would supply the necessary educational tools and supplies to assure success this school year. Yet once again, COVID has kept us from doing this as planned. Therefore, the Elimination Raffle committee has met and continues to meet to discuss how we can conduct a spring fundraiser to provide much needed supplies to our students and teachers. More on that in the months to come, yet I can assure you it will be a fun and entertaining event.
In this article I wanted to convey how our club leadership values each member and deeply cares for the club finances you charge us to oversee. With the above, I hope I provided information to validate how your club leadership works to make sure club finances are fair to all concerned and how our actions are meant to continue to Make US Bloom!