American Service Clubs Today

December 07, 2017 0 Comments

Today, all these almost secular organizations, are well spread around the World. Lions Clubs International - the most diffused worldwide - may count on over 44,500 clubs and more than 1,368,683 members in 191 countries around the world. Rotary counts 34,282 clubs and over 1.2 million members while

Kiwanis has 240,000 members in 7,700 clubs in 80 countries. The most elitist Civitan, includes 40,000 members (referred to as Civitans) in almost 1,000 clubs around the world.

Many others Service Clubs organizations are active in the USA only, like Ruritan International, or are niche oriented as Soroptimist (open to women only), so they are not so well diffused as the four “Big Role Players” just mentioned.

Today, a typical service club or service organization is a voluntary non-profit organization where members meet regularly to perform charitable works either by direct hands-on efforts or by raising money for other organizations. In the United States, some of these clubs usually also have a component club organization that is a tax exempt, 501(c) non-profit organization.

A service club is defined first by its service mission. Second its membership benefits, such as social occasions, networking, and personal growth opportunities, encourage involvement.

Much as the historical religious organizations formed the basis for many of societal institutions, such as hospitals and service organizations, now Service Clubs perform many essential services for their communities and support other worthy causes. Many of these clubs meet weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly on a recurring established day and time, commonly at a mealtime.

In conclusion, many of today's service clubs got their start as social clubs for business networking, but quickly evolved into organizations devoted more to service and less for networking, although networking is still a primary reason for many members to join.

* This post is part of a speech entitled 'A brief History of American Service Club Organizations', Carmelo Cutuli held on May 2012 at Rotary London Centenary e-Club.

Dott. Carmelo Cutuli

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