Growing Rotary Membership is Like Losing Weight!

I’ve got a master’s degree in clinical nutrition, have owned a nutrition consulting business, and have had a life-long problem with weight.  I know a thing or two about dieting!

I am a graduate and facilitator of Rotary Leadership Institute, have started a new stand-alone Rotary club (and failed), started a Satellite Rotary Club (so far, so good) and have personally recruited over 20 Rotarians.  I know a thing or two about growing Rotary Membership.

To me, there are a lot of similarities between achieving a healthy weight and achieving a healthy Rotary Club membership.  Let’s compare…

Healthy Weight Healthy Membership
It’s not easy!  It requires consistent, on-going focus.

Start with creating a supportive environment
  • Remove ‘junk food’ from the house
  • Buy healthy food
  • Post motivational quotes
  • Enlist support of friends/family


  • Refresh the club meeting location
  • Have current club brochures available
  • Update banners
  • Have greeters and a welcoming culture
Identify realistic goals and time frame

Choose an approach that appeals to you, and has proven success  

For me, a well formulated low carb diet offers the best chance of success.  Info:  here, here, here.

(Disclaimer:  consult your MD before starting a weight loss program.)

Update club format and meeting times, as necessary, to be attractive to new members.  Consider adjusting meeting time, location, format, food, service
Maximize success—make multiple changes at once.  While it is frequently suggested to change one thing at a time, it is often easier to ‘go all in’ and make multiple changes at once, which increases rate of success and provides positive reinforcement of change.


  • Change environment
  • Change diet
  • Increase exercise
  • Add stress-reduction practices
  • Increase personal connections
  • Improve sleep
  • Add fun!


  • Change environment
  • Solicit names, contact information for potential members, monthly
  • Create hands-on projects, including mini-projects, invite potential members
  • Improve speaker program, invite potential members
  • Increase connections through social events
  • Add fun!


Engage on-line support and social media
  • Join on-line forums and support groups.
  • Post progress in private groups.
  • Read blogs, websites and search for, and try, new recipes
  • Join on-line forums and support groups on MyRotary.
  • Enlist support from peers through private District Facebook groups
  • Post frequently on social media and websites


Take personal responsibility Attaining a healthy weight is YOUR responsibility, not your:  doctor’s, dietitian’s, personal trainer’s, health coach’s or family cook’s.

Now, get up off your chair and DANCE!

Growing club membership is EVERYONE’s responsibility, not just the club president’s and membership chair’s.

Help make your club warm and inviting!


It’s a journey, not a destination. Attaining a healthy weight is not a linear process.  Expect bumps in the road and a need to make course corrections and refocus efforts. Unfortunately, life events cause about 15% of Rotarians to leave each year, so new member attraction is an on-going process.


Let’s get healthier in 2019—eat real food and share the gift of Rotary with a friend!

Happy New Year!

One thought on “Growing Rotary Membership is Like Losing Weight!

  1. Another comparison: adding 3.0% pounds each year and in short order you weigh 400 lbs. Losing 3.0% of your club members each year (typical for U.S. Rotary Clubs) and you go extinct.


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