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Action Plan

As People of Action, we understand that fulfilling that vision requires a plan.

More than a century ago, we pioneered a new model of service leadership grounded in person-to-person connections. Today, those connections are a network that spans the globe—bridging cultural, linguistic, generational, and geographic barriers—and shares the vision of a better world. As People of Action, we understand that fulfilling that vision requires a plan.

This is Rotary's Action Plan through 2024: to increase our impact, expand our reach, enhance participant engagement, and increase our ability to adapt.

Live the Action Plan

Is your club living the Action Plan? Share your story with us! Complete our survey for a chance to be featured in one of our communication publications or social channels.

Action Plan Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why does Rotary have an Action Plan?

A: The world today is not the same as it was when Rotary began in 1905. Demographics have shifted, the pace of change has accelerated, and technology has created new opportunities for connection and service. What hasn’t changed is a need for the values that define Rotary: fellowship, integrity, diversity, service, and leadership. The Action Plan honors our past and embraces our future. It is meant to help evolve Rotary as an organization to not only keep us relevant but thriving.

Q: How were the Rotary vision statement and Action Plan developed?

A: Rotary’s vision statement: Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves was created with input and feedback from Rotary members, former members, Rotaractors, alumni, Youth Exchange students, Rotary staff, and the general public. Over one million people across the world were asked to share their insights with the Strategic Planning Committee through surveys and focus groups. The result is a statement that inspires and engages while setting the pathway for the future of our organization. The vision was approved by the Rotary Board of Directors and Board of Trustees in June 2017.

Shortly after the vision statement was adopted, the Committee began developing Rotary’s new Action Plan. Again, the Committee invited reactions and input from Rotary members; over 582 people from 28 different countries participated in focus groups and interviews to provide feedback. In June 2018, both boards approved the strategic priorities and objectives that drive the new Action Plan.

Q: What is the Action Plan and how does it affect members?

A: The Action Plan is intended to guide activities at the corporate level, but as clubs and districts are the core of Rotary, they are strongly encouraged to develop their own action plans and align them with Rotary’s plan. The world is changing rapidly and to continue thriving in the years ahead, Rotary must evolve. This plan is intended to help us honor our past and embrace our future by guiding our organization, members, and supporters toward projects, opportunities, and activities that support our vision.

Q: How is the Action Plan being rolled out?

A: The Action Plan rolled out in the 2019–20 Rotary year. Currently Rotary is in its second year under the Action Plan. Rotary International has developed 17 new initiatives to advance the four priorities. We are committed to full transparency in sharing information about how the Action Plan’s components may or may not affect clubs and to the club’s role in supporting the strategic priorities.

Q: What are clubs and districts supposed to do with the Action Plan?

A: We want all clubs and districts to know that the plan was shaped by the input of Rotary members, and that it lays the foundation for new and exciting opportunities for the organization. During this next phase, we encourage clubs and districts to visit the resources section on our Action Plan page.

Q: How does Rotaract membership support the Action Plan?

A: The 2019 Council on Legislation formally recognized Rotaract clubs as a membership type of Rotary International and elevated Rotaract within the organization to better position Rotary for a future that is innovative, inclusive, and adapting to the world around us. These young leaders are part of the Rotary movement to develop solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. In communities worldwide, Rotary and Rotaract members work together to take action through service.

To deliver on Rotary’s Action Plan priorities, we are supporting Rotaract members and clubs as an integral part of our membership. Rotaractors have shown creative ways to support our causes and adapt to changing environments, and they are uniquely positioned to involve young adults and diverse groups in the Rotary community. Recognizing the value and contributions of Rotaract, we are investing in Rotaract’s success to help us realize our Action Plan.

Q: What is meant by “new channels into Rotary” and “new participant models of engagement”?

A: In order for us to expand our reach and attract additional leaders and people of action into our organization, we know that we need to explore and adopt new, effective models and ways for people to engage with Rotary. These models could take a variety of forms, from events, to service opportunities, to online engagement with clubs or the overall organization. Whatever forms these new channels and models ultimately take, our strategic focus is on creating and perfecting ways for participants – anyone who interacts with our programs, events, clubs and offerings – to have opportunities to grow personally and professionally, collaborate with diverse people, and participate in volunteering and service experiences, even without necessarily joining a club. These models will be piloted and tested so that we can learn from them and make adjustments to ensure challenges are addressed before a full launch.

Q: How can this strategy be successfully implemented with annual turnover for most leadership positions in Rotary?

A: The turnover cycle in leadership positions has long represented a significant challenge for Rotary to implement long-term strategies. However, work at the international level to bring together current and incoming leaders and work at the local level to encourage continuity in planning has shown that collaboration and communication are the keys to maintaining a strategic perspective over time while also allowing new leaders to gain experience and serve. It is also helpful for clubs and districts to align their own strategic plans with the Action Plan so that we can all work together towards the same goals.

Q: What can clubs do to support and advance the Action Plan?

A: One of the most important things clubs can do to support the Action Plan is to develop their own strategic plan that aligns to and reflects the priorities and objectives of the new strategy. Research shows us that clubs with strategic plans are more successful in engaging their members. You can utilize the Strategic Planning Guide, available on My Rotary, to assist you with the process. We will also be providing more information on actions clubs can take to help drive our priorities forward over the coming months.

Message from our leadership

Rotary's Action Plan is our path to achieving our vision of bringing even more people together to create lasting and positive change in an evolving world. As we continue to make progress in the third year of this five-year strategic plan, I want to update you on our efforts to achieve the four strategic priorities.

Increase Our Impact

We're implementing consistent practices to measure the positive, sustainable change that Rotary creates and developing tools to share our impact more widely. We're encouraging clubs to implement projects based on well-defined community needs and determine how to best measure the incremental and long-term change that ultimately leads to a transformation in the community.

We're also working on a framework that will help us evaluate our programs and to make sure that they're aligned with our strategic priorities.

Expand Our Reach

For Rotary to remain vital, we need to reach even more people who are dedicated to sparking positive change. To do that, we're evaluating new club types, exploring additional ways of engaging people, assessing our current membership, and seeking to create a more open and welcoming environment.

We're gathering feedback and working to make sure that our culture reflects the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We've convened a DEI Task Force whose members are considering our regional differences, needs, and priorities as they develop a DEI action plan for Rotary.

Enhance Participant Engagement

We want members and participants to have valuable experiences and find meaningful connections in Rotary. To achieve that, we're expanding our emphasis from membership to engagement. That shift means changing how we communicate about membership to increase our focus on engaging and retaining members and other participants, instead of focusing solely on recruitment.

We're identifying our strengths and addressing the gaps in our resources, curricula, and partnerships, particularly those that focus on leadership and building skills.

Increase Our Ability to Adapt

Successful organizations — including legacy organizations like Rotary — have to be efficient, innovative, and nimble. To increase our ability to adapt, we'll be testing different ways to structure our organization in order to learn how to be more efficient. We hope to expand the paths to leadership, improve the way we work, and open conversations to more people with diverse voices, perspectives, and experiences.

Rotary is hard at work building a stronger future to ensure that our values endure. But we can't do it without you. Your support and efforts to incorporate the Action Plan priorities into your clubs and districts is vital to Rotary's vision and our continued success. We're relying on you to take action to make this a reality.

To learn more about our strategic plan and find new resources to help you implement it, visit the Action Plan page.


Tom Thorfinnson Chief Strategy Officer Rotary International

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