A recent REMODELING Reader Panel (see October 2003) discovered that nearly 10% of remodelers belong to Rotary clubs (www.rotary.org). The reasons for membership vary, but according to Joe Prin of HomeFix in Eagle, Idaho, "Rotary is made up of business owners and leaders of the community. Therefore, the people you meet are people in decision-making roles. So it's a higher class of networking."
But, as Prin notes, the real purpose of the Rotary is for members to give back to their communities. In fact, some clubs discourage "talking business" at meetings (attendance required), fining offending members $5. Also attractive, Prin says, is Rotary's code of ethics, which asks: "Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?"
"In theory," says Peter Dell, of Peter Dell Custom Remodeling, Yakima, Wash., "all Rotarians are ethical and honest. It's comfortable, and we all tend to do business with whoever we're comfortable with." Plus, the group's "service above self" motto keeps discussions apolitical, unheard of in most industry organizations, Dell says. While he figures he has gotten $100,000 in business from membership over three years, Rotary has benefited him more as a person. He helped his club collect 90,000 pounds of food and $22,000 for the needy.
The Rotary's worldwide humanitarian goal is to eradicate polio by 2005, the organization's centennial year.