Today, and throughout history, all groups whether it was families, countries, organizations, corporations, small or large businesses have formed strategic alliances.  Why? Because all organizations have the innate goals of wanting to grow, prosper and most importantly survive. This month, I would like to address how these alliances are currently being used to accomplish goals for both Rotary International and at the local club level.
Rotary exists for many reasons, but the main reason for its existence is to serve others.  Since its inception, Rotary has worked to develop the tools needed for individual Rotarians and clubs to improve the lives and living conditions of families, youth, poor, sick, handicapped and others within both their local communities and internationally.  These tools include, but are not limited to, the Rotary Foundation, District Matching and Global Grants, the Six Areas of Focus, the Avenues of Service, the United Nations, RYLA, Fellowship and Vocational Exchanges, Youth Exchange, Adventure Programs, Global and Peace Scholarships, PolioPlus, the United Nations, etc.
Rotary is now considering creating Strategic Alliances with other organizations in order to create a synergistic effect which will improve the participating organizations, provide more opportunities to its members, and in the end have a greater impact throughout the world.
Let’s take a look at how Rotary International and local clubs are making successful alliance and how your club can create and benefit from these alliances.  Some examples follow.
Rotary International and Toastmasters
The most recent alliance is with Toastmasters. The local Toastmasters’ District covers an area very similar to our District in Ontario, Quebec Canada, and the US.  However, they have over 200 Clubs and 3500 members.  Why is this an alliance an opportunity?  Well, it involves the mission of both organizations. Toastmasters goal is professional development of its members by fostering their speaking, organization and leadership skills through training, coaching and competition. The ultimate goal is for its members to use those skills in their profession and personal life. It has/does not do any community service locally or international.
This is where the Alliance comes in.  I was in Hamburg, Germany at the International Convention and listened to the Toastmasters and RI Presidents announce and discuss this alliance. Simply put, the Alliance serves to develop opportunities whereby Rotarians can participate and benefit from the Toastmasters programs reference personal and professional development and RI provides an outlet for the Toastmasters Clubs to do community service.  The good news is that it has already started as both clubs in the local communities are starting to attend/visit each other.  At the District level, our District Governor Stream (DG, DGE and DGN) met with the Toastmasters DG and others this past weekend to discuss how we can work together.  RI is now looking at doing similar alliances with other organizations.
More information go to: Rotary & Toastmasters Alliance . Note: as a result of the joint DG meeting, we are in the process of developing some joint initiatives ... more to follow.
Partnerships - Rotary clubs are now looking at partnering with other organizations to conduct Fundraisers, service projects, etc.  In some cases, on an informal level by approaching individual clubs such as Lions, Kiwanis, Optimists, Knights of Columbus, Masons, etc. with much success.
Presidents’ Councils have been by far been the best/most significant/initiative within the District for the past several years.  Area Governors have and are forming Presidents’ Councils comprised of their Rotary and Rotaract Presidents.  They meet regularly monthly or bi-monthly and discuss their calendars, fundraisers, service project and issues within their clubs.  They then quickly become a team and easily double their impact though joint fundraising, service projects, and recruiting while also helping each other with any issues their clubs may have.
The service clubs in Cornwall, Ontario have formed a community service club council, with a representative of each service club at the table, that now serves their community better by coordinating actions as a group to include things like coordinating fundraisers or coordinating/preventing overlap on community service.  If your community does not have one recommend you take the lead and form one.
In closing, think outside the box(club) and connect with other organizations that can positively impact your effectiveness.  It will make our clubs even stronger and possibly assist in gaining new members.