Posted on Aug 04, 2017
In recognition of Membership Month as declared by Rotary International it was only fitting that we spoke on this subject today. Mary Murray kicked things off by speaking to a formal PowerPoint program about this important subject. Mary sits on the District’s Membership Committee while Rod Pender and John B. are this year’s co-chairs of the club’s membership committee this year.
Growing our membership, Mary said, only helps us to have that much greater impact on what Rotary does worldwide! It is in keeping with the RI theme for this year – Rotary – Making a Difference! Mary asked the audience why they joined Rotary. There were many responses and it all boils down to “fellowship” and “serving the community”.
Rod said that years ago, if a member worked for an employer, their dues were generally paid for and were told to get involved. Today, with the growing number of small business owners and self-employed people, it’s a bit more difficult since members are paying their own dues and when they attend meetings it takes them away from their jobs.
John B. said that if you take the 49221 zip code area, there are approximately 1,200 businesses in that geographic location. Half are businesses that have 1-4 employees. It’s a tough segment to grow inside of Rotary, he said, because of the reasons Rod mentioned. He said that as he and Rod set out to increase club membership, they will be looking at “mission”, “strategy”, “operations”, and “tactics”. They know what the role of Rotary is, now they need to devise a strategy to impact membership locally and then come the tactics to further identify what needs to be done.
Rod Hokenson shared with us that he was inspired to join Rotary in southern Indiana because he’d heard about the polio effort internationally, had a passion for the issue and, more importantly was asked to join! Mark Murray shared that he was attending a Kiwanis meeting in Hawaii and felt it to be not the type of environment he liked, went to a Rotary meeting and found it to be much more energetic, welcoming, enjoyable and fun! Helen Bendes said she joined because members were very friendly and you don’t always find that when you move to another community. The other reason Helen said she joined was that when we say we’re going to do something we do it!
Mary said that a new member doesn’t have to be someone you work with necessarily. It could be someone from your church, even a family member and cited the Tobey’s and Simay’s. Think outside the box, she said. We have to increase our membership so we can expand the good work we’re doing in this community and globally.
Mary then posed the question: “Why do you think people leave Rotary?” Very simply – oftentimes there’s nothing to do, the meeting quality is poor or the club is no fun were among the most reasons cited. Retention is key to any club, she said. “In order to compete with other service clubs we have to be just as involved as they are”. Members have to be happy, meet new people, and have their needs met.
It’s also important to work on retention. Mike Tobey suggested that we devote a meeting solely to discussing membership. The next Club Assembly, Kathye said, was October 5th. Both Rod and John offered suggestions on how we should approach prospective members. Mary promoted the New Prospect Brochure that will be updated shortly and finished with doing our part as we “Join leaders, exchange ideas and take action” – That’s what this organization is all about!