Frequently Asked Questions:
Why are our districts coming together?
The short answer is due to declining membership numbers. The long answer is that Rotary wants to have districts be of a certain size in order to justify the costs associated with supporting each district. With our three districts just barely at or below that threshold, our leaders chose a proactive solution rather than having Rotary International decide for us.
Is this change really necessary?
Yes. Unfortunately, the declining membership in each district has put us barely at or below the threshold for the number of members Rotary International requires each district to have. Our leaders felt it was better to be proactive with the three districts becoming CNY Rotary rather than wait to see what Rotary International might require us to do. This means we get to decide our fate and our own members get to be part of the process of building something new.
How do these changes impact my everyday experience in Rotary?
This is a great question! The average member is not likely to notice anything change in their club experience as we transition to CNY Rotary. Clubs will continue to operate autonomously just as they do today.
Club leaders who receive training, support and resources from the district will have new, expanded teams to work with.
There will be many more leadership roles on district committees, providing more members with rewarding opportunities to serve their fellow Rotarians. So, if you want to serve in new ways, it is great news for you!
CNY Rotary’s events like District Conference will attract a much larger crowd, which helps us attract exciting speakers and presenters to inspire us with bigger and better ways to serve.
How was the President chosen?
Each district had already selected someone to be District Governo for the 2024-25 year, which at the time we called their District Governor Nominee Designate (DGND). From those three names, there was a random drawing to determine the order in which they would serve, one year each, starting with the 2024-25 year.
Since then some changes have taken place and we are now embarking on the nominating process for the 2025-26 President of CNY Rotary!
Why President instead of District Governor?
Given the size of the region, decisions will be made by a board of directors. Commonly, a board has a president, so we stuck with that title. As far as Rotary International is concerned, our President is the District Governor, but adopting the term President will hopefully be more relatable to both members and the public.
Will the President of CNY Rotary visit all the clubs like District Governors do?
Rest assured that everyone will get a chance to meet with the President of CNY Rotary. It will be more common that clubs come together for a visit, but we feel that this is a great opportunity for clubs to make new connections and establish new traditions.
What is a Transition Action Group (TAG)?
A Transition Action Group (TAG) is a temporary team that is tasked with helping build the structure of CNY Rotary’s future committees. We started with the required committees – Administration, Finance, Foundation, Public Image, Membership and Training. There is also a TAG working on establishing the CNY Rotary Youth Exchange committee since their work will begin later this year. The TAGs are composed of people from each of the three districts who have experience with, expertise in or a passion for that committee’s focus. Their work includes deciding how big the committee should be in order to serve all of CNY Rotary, what each person’s role should be, how the work will be divided, who reports to whom, what materials might be needed and what the budget should be. Some are deciding on the best approach to holding events, like Youth Exchange orientations and District Training Assemblies. Everything the TAGs are dreaming up will come together in a recommendation to be submitted to the Steering Committee by March 10, 2023. Their work will continue beyond that as needed to finalize their committee structure, but members of TAGs are not obligated to serve on the committees come July 1, 2024.
More TAGs are forming to start work on additional committees we will need. The Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Transition Action Group (DEI TAG) is already meeting to start the process of sharing what each district currently does and start to imagine what a vibrant DEI committee can do. We need to start a TAG for other Youth Programs (i.e. RYLA and Interact), as well as a Rotaract TAG. It would be awesome to have TAGs to build a couple of brand new committees that could be really helpful in the future – Events and Service. What exactly those committees do to support our clubs is up to the people who join those TAGs. You build it out, recommend it to the Steering Committee and we work together to innovate in this brand new region!
Click here to let us know how you want to get involved.
Will there be Assistant Governors?
Yes, but we have changed their names to Area Representatives. Area Representatives will primarily be responsible for bringing club needs & concerns to the board of directors. These roles will be vital in the flow of communications for CNY Rotary!
CNY Rotary sounds like a really big district. Is that normal?
Broadly speaking, each of our districts currently have about 40 clubs and about 1,000 members. So becoming CNY Rotary with about 115 clubs and about 3,000 members sounds pretty big. Having a district that takes five hours in the car to connect its furthest corners is a new challenge for us, but none of this is new or unique in Rotary. Many districts cover regions far larger, like the entire state of Alaska. Some require boat or airplane travel. Many span multiple countries. There are leaders who must be bilingual in order to communicate with all of their members. And we are not talking about districts on the other side of the world either. You can find districts with these added travel and distance challenges right here in North America. CNY Rotary’s leadership team will be built to serve this larger footprint and in-person gatherings will be adapted to be as accommodating as possible. Thankfully we are all adept at virtual meetings, which will make it even easier to stay connected in between our get-togethers!
How do Rotarians stay informed about what is happening?
Look for an article in your district’s monthly newsletter updating everyone on how things are moving along.
You can follow @cnyrotary on both Facebook and Instagram, where we post information and reminders.
In January and February, we hosted virtual town hall meetings. We’re working on editing those videos down to feature the questions and answers and will post that when it’s done.
How do I get involved?
Simply go to our contact form and let us know how you’d like to participate. We welcome as many people as possible to get involved.
If we are becoming one district because of declining membership, will there be a plan to get us back on track with membership growth?
Currently, each of our districts have just one- or two-person Membership Committees with volunteers who have to wear multiple hats in addressing recruitment, retention, training and more. The goal in building CNY Rotary is to have a stronger Membership Committee with more people volunteering to provide resources to our club leaders. With enough volunteers in place, the committee can focus on supporting clubs in both growing membership and reducing churn, the dual approach needed to ensure overall growth. There will be more resources for starting new clubs as well.
We promote that strong clubs need strong leaders and will strive to do the same with CNY Rotary leaders who are trained on best practices and not wearing so many hats at one time. We will be asking for more members like you to step into these roles, where training and guidance will be provided, so be prepared to answer that call and be part of the solution.
Is there equal representation on the planning committee?
Both the Steering Committee and all of the Transition Action Groups are made up of members from across our three districts. Check out this map of hometowns for each volunteer helping build CNY Rotary. It is important to everyone on the steering committee that each district has active participants and we welcome volunteers to join in the process at any time. Submit your name here if you wish to get involved.
Will district grants still be available?
Yes, just as all Rotary districts do, we will continue to have a grants program that provides access to funding for a variety of club projects. The leaders from your district who currently handle these are partnering up on our Foundation Transition Action Group (TAG) to explore how everyone handles training, applications, distribution and reporting today. The goal is to take best practices from each area and build a grants program that will help clubs navigate the process, get access to these important funds and continue to have an impact on their community and world.
How will CNY Rotary leadership roles be filled?
That is a question we can’t fully answer just yet. Currently, the Transition Action Groups are helping to outline what all those roles will be, with recommendations due March 10, 2023. Once we are certain of how many people will be needed for each committee, and what their roles and responsibilities will be, the Steering Committee will determine the best approach to filling them. It will likely be a mix of formal nominations and self-nominations.
We know that there will be many more opportunities to serve with an expanded CNY Rotary team. We think members will find that this approach creates much more clear job descriptions that will help you decide if something would be a good fit for you. We also expect that these larger teams will make lighter work for all concerned and hope to overcome the misconception that volunteering at the district level has to be some huge time commitment. We’re all volunteers and we want CNY Rotary leadership roles to be accessible.
Watch your district newsletter and @cnyrotary on Facebook and Instagram for calls to put your hat in the ring when we are ready for you!