Support Members, First

The 2018-2019 Rotary International President Barry Rassin is calling on Rotarians “…to do more, to be more, to create something that will live beyond each of us.”  He highlighted Rotary’s new vision statement, “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”

To achieve this vision, Rassin said, Rotarians must take care of our clubs and our members.  “We are a membership organization first.  And if we want to be able to serve, if we want to succeed in our goals — we have to take care of our members first.”

So how do we do that?  How do we nurture our members and make sure that they see value in being a Rotarian?  Here are some ideas:

  • Offer members opportunities to share personal stories and professional activities. Consider having a ‘vocational minute’ provided by a different member each week.  Compile a business card file or digital directory of member’s businesses.  Include a story in the club bulletin and Facebook page.
  • Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, club anniversaries, births, new jobs and offer support for deaths, divorce and job loss. Encourage members to ask for support from other club members.
  • Make new member inductions SPECIAL! Consider having a custom cake.  Have the induction ceremony conducted by an AG, DG or PDG.  Invite the new member’s family and co-workers.  Have balloons and a welcome new member banner.  Post the new member photo, personal and professional story on Facebook and other media.  Tag the people in the photo.
  • In one-on-one, face-to face-meetings, ask members, old and new to participate in club activities and on committees. Help members find their passion in Rotary and share their talents.
  • Recognize members who are contributing to the welfare of the club.
  • Reach out when members are absent. It is an opportunity to provide support and to identify small issues before they become significant.  Send cards or notes by mail, as appropriate.
  • Conduct a brief survey to see how the club can better support members and identify activities that interest the current membership. Hint:  perhaps it’s time (or not!) to ditch the long-held pancake supper in favor of a different hands on activity.
  • Encourage members to learn more about Rotary and the many opportunities for involvement beyond the club.
  • Ask each member to share Rotary by bringing a friend to a meeting at least twice a year. This will remind members why they joined and with proper follow-up, expand membership.
  • Make it FUN!
    • Have theme meetings
    • Have on-site meetings at members’ businesses
    • Have a ‘member of the day’ answer random questions about themselves: ‘what’s your favorite candy?’, ‘what country or region would you like to visit?’, ‘are you a dog person, or a cat person’…
    • Have fines for… (careful here)
    • Give balloons to people with a birthday that week

You get the idea!  Before we can effectively serve the community, we need to have strong clubs, abundantly filled with members that feel valued and nurtured.

Share your member engagement ideas in the comment section below!

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