After a century of service Rotary adapts to changing volunteer trends

Rotary in South Australia is adapting to changing volunteer trends for a sustainable future. Join them celebrating their 100th anniversary and discover new ways to support community organizations.

Celebrating 100 years in 2023, Rotary in South Australia is embarking on an ambitious campaign to adapt to changing volunteer trends to sustain its future for the next generation of Rotarians.

To coincide with National Volunteer Week (May 15 – 21, 2023), Rotary is calling on community-minded individuals with a social conscience to consider new ways of supporting organisations that serve the community.

Rotary District Governor Paul Thomas AM, said like most service organisations, Rotary in South Australia has experienced a decline in membership since the onset of COVID-19.

“In recent years, our membership has dropped by around 10 percent state wide. Our members are all volunteers who dedicate their time to creating community impact.

“We recognise volunteering trends are rapidly changing and our biggest challenge is to reverse that trend and make Rotary relevant, especially to young people.

“Many young professionals are time-poor but they often have that philanthropic gene and it’s important we engage with them so they can help others through positive social impact.

“As we celebrate 100 years of our community impact, we are focussed on creating a legacy for future generations. We are extremely proud of Rotary’s past and confident of the future however, recognise the need to adapt for the next generation of Rotarians.”

The community-driven organisation currently has around 2000 Rotarians in District 9510 which represents South Australia, Broken Hill, Alice Springs and the Mildura Sunraysia area.

Within the Rotary network in South Australia, there are around 80 clubs from Port Lincoln in the west to Bordertown in the south east.

Rotary’s Community Impact Expo

To prepare for its upcoming 100th birthday, Rotary in South Australia are hosting a Community Impact Expo on Saturday, June 3 to showcase volunteering opportunities with its partner organisations.

Rotary International Director, Dr Jessie Harman, who will be among the guest speakers at the Expo said Rotary was responding to current volunteering trends in a positive way.

“We’ve seen a significant decline in the rates of formal and structured volunteering through organisations since COVID-19.

“These changing volunteer patterns provide challenges to service organisations like Rotary, who have traditionally been membership based,” she said.

“To counter this, Rotary is creating new types of volunteering opportunities and new channels into volunteering with a greater focus on diversity and inclusiveness.

“Incorporating technology and providing opportunities for people to connect with Rotary in a more informal basis through specific cause projects will be important now and into the future.”

Keynote speaker at Rotary’s Community Impact Expo, Volunteering Australia CEO, Mark Pearce said volunteering is changing and organisations should focus on the volunteer experience.

“Volunteers are the change makers in our community. We need to look through their eyes, so we can improve and maintain the volunteer experience,” he said.

“This means building opportunities that create engagement and meet the needs of volunteers by directly connecting to the organisation’s mission and the outcome it delivers.”

For 100 years, volunteers from Rotary have supported the South Australian community with a variety of projects, from hot meals at Hutt St Centre right through to funding important research.

Rotary’s Community Impact Expo will be held on Saturday, June 3 at Bonython Hall in the University of Adelaide from 8:30am – 4:00pm with up to 35 exhibitors and partnership organisation showcasing volunteering opportunities. Attendance is free and open to the public.

Rotary Adelaide


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