August is Membership Development Month


With the simple aim this year for each club to be stronger on 1 July 2017 than on 1 July 2016, the first strategic pillar of ‘strengthening our clubs’ is an important one.

During Governor-Elect leadership training last year, John Germ commented that the need for Rotary in our communities today is more important than it ever was, and tomorrow it will be even greater. Additionally, there is also reason to believe that some time during 2016-2017, the last reported case of the wild Poliovirus could be announced. When that moment comes, Rotary International will work hard to ensure that it receives the recognition it rightly deserves, and the world will know what Rotary has done and is capable of with its huge powerful networks of members in all parts of the world, with their diverse skills and experience. This is something that no other organization has.

With that prospect will come a once in a lifetime opportunity for clubs to leverage that success in regard to membership development, with people who want to be part of Rotary. So we need to be ready, with friendly clubs that engages its members with interesting projects and ensures the local community knows what we do. What can you do to help make your club the best it can be, so that existing members are proud to stay and prospective members are keen to join? Be innovative, ask why not rather than are we allowed to, and think about what we need to do differently. With recent Council On Legislation changes, clubs now control how they want to conduct their meetings.

How many members does you club need to be a vibrant, well functioning club that delivers what the community needs? Well, that’s for you to answer, but I would be surprised if any club believes it has all the members it needs. Membership is never static, as people come and go for all sorts of reasons, so we must all constantly be on the lookout for the right people to join. Last year, the objective of 3,000 members was set for District 9800, with the total now heading toward 2,500. My expectation is that we will continue in that direction and the result at the end of the 2016-2017 year will be the product of our individual club efforts to develop and retain members. Let’s see what that success turns into.

During President-Elect training last year, we drilled down into the characteristics of a vibrant club and Presidents discussed what this meant. Things like:

  • Decide where your club wants to be in three to five years time
  • How diverse is the club & does it reflect your community profile
  • Ask female members to ask their female friends to events
  • Listen to your community on what their needs are
  • Set annual goals and enter them into Rotary Club Central on My Rotary
  • Develop strong relationships within your club
  • Create committees that are practical 
  • Develop a Membership Recruitment and Retention Plan
  • Hold club forums regularly to keep members engaged and involved
  • Prepare members for future roles to maintain a smooth leadership pipeline
  • Develop members as future leaders in the club

Women are still considerably under-represented in Rotary with 27% female membership in our District. There is an opportunity for clubs to accelerate that by developing flexible, innovative ways for membership to be possible. For example, E-Meeting access or satellite meetings for young mum’s that cannot attend regular meetings in person.

The concept of vibrant clubs is supported at District level with experienced committees led by Philip Archer (Membership), Adrian Nelson (Marketing & Public Image) and PDG Julie Mason (Learning & Leadership Development). Let’s use their experience and knowledge to build stronger clubs.

District Membership & Public Image Seminar

The District Membership & Public Image Seminar will be held at Trinity Grammar on Saturday 27 August 2016, and is a collaborative effort between the Membership & Public Image Committees. Invitations will be sent out shortly. Come along and hear some success stories and be part of interactive sessions to discuss innovative ways to develop something that will work for your club.

The member a month campaign last year was very successful, so it will be continued, with a grant being provided to any club that recruits at least four new members between the period 1 June to 31 October 2016. This will be outlined at the seminar, but in the meantime any questions in relation to how it works can be directed to Philip Archer or Chris Eggar. Some clubs have already achieved four new members and have applied for grants. The grant funds (maximum of $1,000) over that period, are to be used by the new members on a club project of their choice.

Being a Rotarian is an honour – The opportunity to Serve is a Privilege

Our founder, Paul Harris believed that the opportunity to serve humanity is the most worthwhile thing any one of us can do with our lives. Being invited to join Rotary is an honour and the opportunity to help others, a privilege.

John Germ believes that Rotarians see that opportunity to serve for what it truly is, not a small opportunity, but a great one. The opportunity to help others by doing what we can, when we can, with whatever time we have.

When do we ever have enough time to do anything? We don’t need a lot of time in Rotary – Just the right heart, because we are doing what we do together. If someone you think should be a member says they don’t have the time, tell them you’ll take whatever they have, then be patient, nurture them and one day they will give you more when they can. They will!

Neville John
District Governor 2016-2017

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