District Governor Jay Jones give speech to Mesa Sunrise Rotary

Jay Jones, District Governor 2013/14 - Married to Carol for 47 years. Two children, two grandchildren.


Jay's speech to our club:


Club President Glen and Mesa Sunrise Rotary Club Rotarians and guests,  Good morning!  It is a sincere pleasure for District Governor-Nominee Sherry Mischel, Assistant Governor David Kline, and myself to visit you today.  Visiting the Rotary clubs in his or her district is a highlight of a District Governor’s responsibilities.  I am humbled and grateful for having been selected as your District Governor for 2013-14.  I want to thank every Rotarian in our district of clubs for this amazing privilege.

I certainly enjoyed the opportunities I had last year to visit a number of our district’s clubs as the District Governor-Elect.  I learned much from those visits.  In particular, I came to value the uniqueness of each club.  Every Rotary Club knows about the Four Way Test, the Five Avenues of Service, Rotary’s Core Values, and Rotary’s Areas of Focus for foundation giving.  How each club interprets these principles creates uniqueness.  Please remember that Rotary’s policies and procedures have to be applicable for Rotarians in more than 200 countries and geographical areas around the world.

During 2013-14, I would like our district’s Rotary Clubs to take a look at what is important to each of them as a club and refocus their energy on the areas which give them the most pleasure and satisfaction.  I’m suggesting that in the short-term, clubs do what makes them feel good about themselves as a club and as individual Rotarians.  If clubs and Rotarians do this, I believe it will be an energizing experience.

Rotary International President Ron Burton has asked us to, “Engage Rotary; Change Lives.”  If Rotarians are having fun and feeling good about their involvement in Rotary, a lot of the other things in Rotary will fall into place.

•             Membership retention and growth will improve.

•             The support of the Rotary Foundation will reach new levels of giving.

•             Participation in Youth Services will increase.

These things will not happen immediately or even during the 2013-14 Rotary year, but we can put improvement in motion.  Think about what engages and excites your club members and then proceed.  Am I suggesting that Membership and Foundation are not important?  Absolutely not!  I’m suggesting an approach that I hope your club will find helpful as you move forward.



Is District 5510 engaged?  I think it is.  However, it is not as engaged as it could be.  To me, becoming engaged suggests actively supporting our district. Rotarians join Rotary to positively impact their community.  Over time, the initial enjoyment of that may fade.  Most people eventually tire of something that was fun and exciting at one time, but has become routine or less fulfilling.  After having succeeded at leadership positions within a club, some people want new challenges.  Rotarians can add some new zest to their Rotary engagement by becoming involved at the district level.  There are a number of opportunities available.  For some reason, Rotarians in our district seem to be reluctant to step up and say, “I want to do something new and become more engaged in Rotary.”  Compared to the other two districts in Arizona, our district has the fewest Rotarians working at the district level on a per capita basis.  We have a number of vacant positions which, if filled by engaged Rotarians, would enable our district to move forward more rapidly.

Would you be doing a disservice to your club by looking outside your club for more and new engagement?  I believe you will become a stronger Rotarian and your enthusiastic engagement will affect other club members in a positive manner.  If you would be interested in becoming more engaged on the district level all you have to do is let somebody know of your interest.  Make your desire for more engagement known.  Ultimately, you will benefit yourself, your club, our district, and Rotary.

The Rotary Foundation

Supporting the Rotary Foundation should be viewed as an opportunity for service; not an obligation.  It should be something Rotarians want to do; not something they feel like they have to do.  The Rotary Foundation has accomplished so much since its inception in 1928 that it’s impossible for anyone to recount all of it.  It has helped people around the world including within our own country.  I suggest that it would be very difficult to find another charitable organization that is as highly thought of and as efficient as the Rotary Foundation.

Organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation don’t provide grants unless they are certain that the money is going to get used efficiently and effectively.  Polio cases are down 99% worldwide since 1985 largely because of the work of our foundation, our partners, and thousands of volunteers.  In 1985 when Rotary began working to eradicate polio, 1,000 cases per day were being reported.  In 2012, there were 270 cases reported worldwide.

In addition to the more than $355 million they have already provided, the Gates Foundation has pledged that from 2013 to 2018, every $1 Rotary commits to the World Health Organization and UNICEF in direct support for polio immunization will be doubled up to $35 million per year.  [See page 72 in the September issue of The Rotarian.]  That’s a very strong statement of support.



Why are membership recruitment and retention important?  Let me quickly give you four reasons:

1.            The more people sharing the responsibilities of making any organization effective and desirable, the easier the job becomes for everyone.  This includes having more people available to work on a hands-on service project or fundraising activity.

2.            Members who leave Rotary take with them the knowledge and experience that they have gained through their time of service.  That knowledge and experience is not a commodity that can be readily replaced.

3.            For a large club, filling leadership positions can be relatively easy because large clubs have more members than they have leadership positions to fill.  For a small club, just finding enough members to fill the leadership positions they want to have is a struggle.

4.            Share Rotary!  Give your friends, neighbors, business clients the opportunity you enjoy of being a Rotarian.

Having an effective recruitment program is simply a matter of ensuring you have enough resources to do what your club believes needs to be done.  Again, please allow me to digress for a moment.  Last year we heard a lot of talk about needing to have 1,300 members by June 30 if we wanted to stay whole as a district.  The 2013 Council on Legislation last April rethought that matter.  The minimum number of members for a district is now 1,100.  Our current membership is between 1,180 and 1,190.  It is typical to have a loss at the beginning of every year as clubs clean up their membership rolls when dues come due.  I believe we will recover.  I have set a goal for our district of 1,245 members by June 30.  If all 40 clubs in our district of clubs add at least one new member this year, we’re well on our way toward that goal.


Club Business Planning

How many of you think having goals is important?  Do you believe having goals for your club would improve your club?  I believe goals are important in almost every aspect of our lives including our lives within Rotary.  Goals provide a target for you to measure accomplishment.  A lot has been written by people much smarter than I am about the value of goals.  I am not going to start quoting the library of literature on the subject.

I imagine that many of you at some point in your work experience have gotten involved in strategic or long-range planning.  I certainly did and those experiences made me a believer.  Rotary is not a business; but it needs to be run like a business.  Part of running Rotary like a business is planning for the future.  Yogi Berra once stated, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.”

The terminology “Strategic Planning” and/or “Long-Range Planning” causes something less than a warm, fuzzy feeling for many people.  I prefer the term “Club Business Planning.”  It is not difficult.  The most difficult thing for most clubs is finding a sufficient number of members willing to make the necessary time commitment.  I’m not going to try to tell you how to do club planning.  There are templates available to help you through the process.  Rotary Club Central is a good resource to view your club’s history.  You don’t need a professional planner to lead the session.  All you need is someone who has good facilitation skills to guide the discussion and keep the planning session on track.  You probably have a club member with the necessary resources to do so.  All you have to do is schedule a time and place and let it happen.  There is no absolute right or wrong way to do it.  Just do it!  The only essential outcome is some starting goals that all your club members can accept and are willing to work toward.

Youth Services

Youth Services are designed to help young people develop leadership skills and make becoming a Rotarian something they want to accomplish in their life.  There is a natural path to do so in Rotary.  A young person can get on the path at the point of their choosing and skip parts of the path if necessary.  The path goes like this:  a high school Interact Club; the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards camp; participation in the Interact District Council; returning to RYLA as a Counselor for other youth; participating in a Rotary Youth Exchange, joining a college, university, or community-based Rotaract Club; and, eventually, joining a Rotary Club.

If Rotary is ever going to move beyond having 1.2 million members, we have to infuse our organization with energetic, engaged, and younger members with vision and the desire to be involved in service for humanitarian purposes.  I strongly encourage you to support our youth programs.  The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow within Rotary and outside of Rotary.


Public Image

Rotary has done something less than a stellar job of making the Rotary brand known throughout the world.  A survey conducted by Rotary International determined that 40% of the people surveyed had never heard of Rotary.  40% of people surveyed only knew about the Rotary name, but not what Rotary does.  And the remaining 20% had some familiarity with our organization.  Rotary International is aware of this and is actively addressing the problem.

I believe that Public Image efforts are highly effective at the club level.  Who knows your community’s culture and needs better than you?  If you have not done so already, please, find someone in your club who has the interest and is willing to put the effort into becoming your club’s Public Image Chair.  Find members in your club who use Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Linked In and the host of other social media services and who are willing to take information presented to them and post it on those services.  If you don’t have one, create a Facebook page, and teach your members how to access it and use it.  Encourage all your club members to submit articles, pictures, and information about upcoming events to those members who have stepped up and said they will make improving your club’s Public Image a reality.


Why work on your club’s public image?  Is your club’s membership recruiting effort so successful that your club is growing every year?  Are your fundraising efforts so successful that you can effectively address many of the needs of your club and your community?  These are some of the benefits of an improved Public Image.  As I mentioned earlier, people want to join Rotary to have a positive impact on their community.  Your Rotary club can help them do so if they know about you.  It costs very little to have an effective Public Image effort in your club, and the potential returns are enormous.


We all have many, many demands imposed on us – family, home, work, volunteer activities, creating a better life for those whom we value most highly.  All of these contribute to who we are as individuals and how we feel about ourselves.  I urge you to take stock of your particular situation and decide what’s important for you and for your Rotary club.  Then act accordingly!

Have a great Rotary year and a rich and rewarding Rotary experience!