Empower leaders, strengthen communities, and grow Rotary

By Zuhal Sharp, Service and Networking Programs Senior Specialist, RI Staff 

The Rotary Community Corps (RCC) program empowers communities to address their own needs through sustainable service initiatives. Since 1986, when the program was first created, RCCs have strengthened communities in South and Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. While there are fewer RCCs across North America, Europe, and East Asia, clubs worldwide are encouraged to participate in the program.

Today there are more than 12,000 RCCs across 105 countries. 4,162 Rotary clubs located in 264 districts sponsor RCCs as partners in local community service. Nearly 31,000 Rotary clubs are missing opportunities to:

Increase impact
RCCs are groups of community volunteers who share our commitment to making sustainable, long-term positive change through service projects. By sponsoring RCCs, we empower community members to take the lead in addressing local needs. Projects are more sustainable when we bring the knowledge and talents of local people to identify root issues and long-term solutions. RCCs are critical in every stage of a project: from assessing the community, to planning and implementation a project, to long-term oversight. More than 90% of our members who have worked with RCCs say that RCCs help their sponsor club deepen its relationship with the community, enhance its understanding of the local community, and provides opportunities to make a positive local impact.[1] 62% of clubs who sponsor RCCs report that working with an RCC increased their club’s local service impact and 51% report that sponsoring an RCC has helped the clubs undertake more service projects.[2]  

Expand reach
RCCs open your club to a wider range of stakeholders through opportunities to work with community volunteers. These collaborations increase a community’s awareness of the club and its work through greater interaction with residents, local businesses, and community organizations. 53% of Rotary clubs who sponsor RCCs report that working with an RCC has enhanced their community’s awareness and understanding of their club.[3]

Promote diversity and grow Rotary    
RCCs are instrumental at increasing participation from diverse backgrounds and involving voices from traditionally underrepresented groups. Research shows that RCCs tend to recruit younger members. In 2021, 81% of sponsor clubs reported that RCC members are younger than 50 years old, and 39% of the sponsor clubs reported that RCC members are below 40. 36% of sponsoring clubs reported that their RCCs have predominantly women members and 26% reported that they have equal number of men and women.[4]

Even though the RCC program is designed to empower non-members’ voices and strengthen a club’s service collaborations with its community, the program has also attracted new members to Rotary. Greater awareness of your club’s work will lead to greater support from meeting new prospective members to new project partners and supporters. Data showed that many members who joined Rotary in 2020 and 2021 had participated in the RCC program.[5]   

In addition to diversifying participation in your club and attracting new members, RCCs also enhance your existing members’ experience by offering them meaningful service, connection, and mentorship opportunities. According to Rotary’s 2021 Programs and Offering Survey, 89% of Rotary members who worked with a Rotary Community Corps found this collaboration meaningful to their Rotary experience.

Besides being tremendously beneficial, it is simple to start and support an RCC. Start by assessing the need and feasibility to establish an RCC. Then, identify and recruit at least ten interested community members. And, finally, you register your RCC with RI by filling out the RCC Organization Form.

To learn more, visit, www.rotary.org/rcc.

Use the RCC brochure and sample presentation to promote the program to your club and district members.

Detailed results from the 2021 Rotary Community Corp Survey can be found here.

Members of the Rotary Club of Plano West, Texas, USA, come together with members of their Rotary Community Corps to participate in acts of service to their community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Activities include packing and delivering food and supplies; providing educational information on vaccinations; and encouraging civic participation.

[1] Source: 2021 Programs and Offerings Survey
[2] Source: 2021 Rotary Community Corp Survey
[3] Source: 2021 Rotary Community Corp Survey
[4] Source: 2021 Rotary Community Corp Survey
[5] Source: 2020 and 2021 Programs and Offerings Surveys

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