Why Membership?—Part 1

This is the first post of a multi-post series outlining a straight-forward membership development plan.  The next installments will be posted every day or so.  Stay tuned!

Membership growth should be the top priority of the Board of Directors of nearly every Rotary Club.  Why?  More club members means:

  • More friends!
  • More opportunities for networking and mentorship
  • Easier to find interesting program speakers
  • Easier to conduct effective service projects and fundraisers
  • Easier to have a robust leadership succession chain
  • More impact in the community
  • More FUN!

Yet, many Rotary clubs struggle with membership growth.  Perhaps it is due to lack of attention or lack of know-how, but I think one of the biggest factors is the complexity of the membership attraction and retention process.  It is easy to get lost in data analysis, or forget to invite your friends to a meeting, or have poor follow up with potential members, or have a weak new member orientation process.  The Membership Jumpstart template is designed to streamline membership growth activities.  It is a comprehensive, step-by-step approach, with each action step being small and easily accomplished.

There are any number of approaches to membership expansion; as one Rotarian remarked, “everything works and nothing works!”  The Membership Jumpstart template removes the guesswork and most of the analysis from the membership growth process.  By simply following each step of the template, clubs will be virtually assured of success, leading to a larger and more vibrant club!

Acknowledgements:  Many of the concepts included in the Membership Jumpstart template were learned through attending Zone 33 training led by Rotary Coordinator, PDG Chris Jones and his team.  Zone trainers are a committed group of Rotarians and openly share their expertise.  I strongly encourage AGs, District leaders and interested Rotarians to attend their training, which is held each June.

Membership Jumpstart Template

Step 1

Define club membership goals and date to achieve them.

  • Suggested goal—induct 20% of current membership to achieve a net growth of 5% per year.
  • Note that over a course of a year, clubs lose an average of 15% of members due to life circumstances, therefore to grow 5%, the club must induct 20% new members.
  • Perhaps include goals to increase club diversity: age, gender, ethnicity, professional classification.

Obtain Board support for the Membership Jumpstart initiative
Review the importance of membership expansion with club members. (See Why)

  • Make it fun, perhaps have a skit or have each member choose a ‘fortune’ (slip of paper) that describes one benefit of more members—more friends; better programs; bigger projects; more impact, etc.

Step 2

Plan the Party! Identify dates for at least two membership activities each month for the next 6 months.  Include a variety of formats and times to enhance attraction.  Examples:

  • Book a high-quality speaker for the first meeting of each month, with the intention that this is the ideal meeting to invite potential members to learn about Rotary.
  • Hold a short 15-20 minute ‘Discover Rotary’ session at the end of the special speaker meeting, at least every quarter.
  • Conduct small service projects each month, either during the meeting or at another time. ‘Doing good’ is a comfortable introduction to the club for potential members.
  • Hold an informal meeting or social event with the joint purposes of introducing potential members to the club and enhancing member fellowship.

Identify the project lead for each of the membership activities

Publicize the events 4-6 weeks in advance through social media and the club newsletter.  Consider news releases for special-events through local radio stations, or newspapers.

Stop by tomorrow to see what’s next!

4 thoughts on “Why Membership?—Part 1

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