Thursday, January 17, 2008

Speakers Stress Membership to Governor-Elects During Int'l Assembly

During the third plenary session at the International Assembly today, Past RI President Cliff Dochterman emphasized the need for incoming district governors to make membership growth a focal point in the upcoming year. “Membership in your district will not grow or blossom unless some very necessary steps are taken,” he said. “Rotary’s very survival depends upon it.”

Dochterman outlined three areas in which clubs can expand membership:

  • Seek new members for clubs

  • Retain current members

  • Sponsor new clubs in the community

Seek new members. New members are everywhere, Dochterman said. Potential members include Ambassadorial Scholars, Rotaractors, and Group Study Exchange team members. He also recommended that clubs set specific membership goals, such as one new member per month.

Retain current members. Keeping current club members is just as important as bringing in new ones, Dochterman said. A willingness to adapt is key. “The truth is, many of us in the older generations must be willing to change some of our thinking, provide a little more freedom in our regulations, and give a lot more consideration to the demands and expectations that business and professional executives face today,” he said.

Sponsor new clubs. Dochterman encouraged the incoming district leaders to consider new types of Rotary clubs. “How about clubs with professionals under the age of 40? How about a new club in an ethnic or minority section of your community?” he asked. “Or a new club in a shopping mall, an airport, a high rise, or a large university campus?”

“Membership development is up to you,” Dochterman concluded. “The bigger question: Are each of you up to the task? I think you are, so go for it!”

Leadership plan helps Rotary stay relevant. Earlier in the session, Leigh Higinbotham, past governor of District 5040 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, spoke about the importance for each club to build its own identity. The Club Leadership Plan is an essential tool for this, he said.

It is vital to the stability, growth, and success of our organization,” said Higinbotham. “It provides clubs with leadership techniques and an administrative structure to guide their activities.”

The Club Leadership Plan steps are critical for effective Rotary clubs, he added. “A club may address these functions in any way it chooses. This flexibility allows the Club Leadership Plan to be implemented throughout the Rotary world.”

The RI theme for President-elect Dong Kurn Lee’s year, Make Dreams Real, will need strong clubs, Higinbotham said. “As district leaders, it is your role to effectively lead your clubs during the upcoming year. One sure way to support D.K. Lee’s theme is to encourage the clubs in your district to implement this plan.”

Reprinted from Rotary International News at

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