Posted on Jan 25, 2018
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What you need to know in 2018
Ian Riseley
President, 2017-18
Dear fellow Rotarians,

As we pass the halfway point of this Rotary year, it’s time to take stock of what we’ve achieved so far and what we still have to do. The Rotary Citation is not only an honor, but also a useful tool that helps clubs plan their service. Club leaders will receive an achievement guide by email in mid-March, with valuable resources to help you reach your goals. If you’re on track to receive a citation, congratulations! Your club is well on its way to a very productive year.

Here in Evanston, we are working hard to achieve the goals that Rotarians have laid out for us. In a Rotary-wide survey of Rotarians and Rotaractors, 90% of respondents asked for improved training, better methods to connect with other clubs, more planning resources, and better online tools. In response, your 2016 Council on Legislation passed a $4 dues increase that is now allowing us to invest in the improved resources, processes, and technology you’ve asked for.

One of the many improvements we’ve made (and are continuing to make) has been to Rotary Club Central, which has been completely redesigned to be faster and easier to navigate. As you already know, this year we are asking all Rotary clubs to submit two numbers to Rotary: the number of volunteer hours worked and the money invested in service. The fastest and easiest way to submit these numbers is through Rotary Club Central. If you’re already tracking your projects using Rotary Club Central, make sure you’ve entered the number of volunteer hours and amount spent for each project you’re tracking. Otherwise, remember to enter those two key numbers in the Goal Center, under the Rotary Citation tab.

On 23 January we will unveil changes to the global grant reporting section of the Grant Center. You’ll find that the report has an updated look, its content has been aligned with the global grant application, and the financial portion will be much simpler to use. We hope these changes will make it easier for clubs to report on the tremendous work that they accomplish through global grants.

One of the new initiatives I’m most excited about in this Rotary year is the Group Cultural Exchange program, a type of Rotary Friendship Exchange that brings together international teams of Rotarians, non-Rotarians, and young professionals. Contact your district’s Rotary Friendship Exchange Committee Chair for more information about exchange opportunities through your district. If you have questions, or an experience you’d like to share, contact

Depending on where you are in the world, it may be the right time to plant your club’s trees. Not only is planting trees one of the best things you can do for the environment, it also brings you one step closer to your Rotary Citation. Be sure to plant your trees by 22 April (Earth Day), and take care of the trees you’ve planted until they’re thriving on their own.

There’s still time to register for one of six Presidential Peacebuilding Conferences designed to help us better understand the connections between Rotary’s six areas of focus and our commitment to building peace. The conferences will be hosted between February and June in different cities across North America, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East.

Looking ahead, it’s not too early to start planning your trip to the Rotary International Convention in Toronto, Canada on 23-27 June 2017. Register online by 31 March to receive the discounted preregistration rate, and find Inspiration Around Every Corner in Toronto!

Finally, let’s not let January pass without a reminder of Vocational Service Month. Vocational service is one of the unique aspects of Rotary that makes us so effective. Our updated vocational service handbook is a great resource for those new to the idea of vocational service, and those who want to bring it more fully into their everyday lives and service.

We all know that Rotary would not be the organization it is without the dedication of our club presidents, district governors, coordinators, directors, trustees, and other leaders all over the world. Because of your hard work, Rotary is truly Making a Difference in the world, so thank you.


Ian Riseley
Rotary International President, 2017-18