Wednesday, February 27, 2008

District Membership Seminars

The initial step in planning a district membership seminar is deciding who should be invited to attend. Naturally the first person that comes to mind is the membership chair from each club. How about encouraging future club membership chairs? Or all membership committee members?
Often club presidents are first on the list. While it is always good to encourage presidents to lead by example, they should have a full plate. Perhaps the club presidents-elect and nominees should be invited instead.
The next step is to determine the appropriate seminar program. The principles to keep in mind when planning the seminar’s program is simple:
-1- The program must have substance to assist audience needs.
-2- The program should inspire the audience to action.
If your seminar does not contain inspiration and substance related to membership development, chances are it will fall short of expectations and undermine the district’s purpose of existence - assisting clubs to advance the Object of Rotary. A well-planned program takes time to develop and finalize.
Selecting the place, date, and time depends on your district’s program schedule and membership seminar program. Often, for many reasons, districts plan concurrent membership and TRF seminars. But remember your projected audience – plan your seminar based on audience convenience, not presenter or district officer convenience. And remember, in small clubs it is not uncommon one Rotarian to be the TRF and Membership chair.
The sooner the expected attendees can pencil in the seminar date, the better your attendance should be. Do not be afraid to ask for advance registration and payment. A well planned seminar can be rendered ineffective by having large numbers of unexpected attendees and/or no-shows. Advanced registration and payment, common in professional seminars, reduces both while helping assure that your seminar will have substance and be inspirational.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Zone 33 to Join Zone 34 at RI Headquarters for Membership Training

Zone 33 Regional Rotary Membership Training will take place in Evanston IL at One Rotary Center on June 3-5, 2008 and will be a joint meeting with our membership counterparts from Zone 34.

As a result, Zone 33 will not be holding any membership training this year in conjunction with the Zone 33 Regional Rotary Foundation Seminar in Greensboro on May 16-17. 2007-08 RRIMC Joe Ferguson & I both join in thanking RRFC Anne Matthews and her team for inviting us into that event in recent years. RRIMC Joe, RIMZC Sue Poss & I had all discussed alternatives due to challenges with participation last year.

Zone 34 RRIMC Jim Henry & I have been confirming the details of the Evanston training through last week, and I have been polling the Zone 33 DGEs this week. There is a high level of enthusiasm among the DGEs and almost all have voiced a willingness to support this training event with their attendance, personnel and budget appropriations to aid attendance. Other than the travel to Evanston, the costs are in line with those in Greensboro. We are asking that DGEs (08-09), DGNs (09-10) and District Membership Chairs (08-09) attend.

The focus of the event will be developing a written District Membership Strategic Plan for each district.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.


PDG Bevin Wall
Zone 33 RRIMC 2008-09

Monday, February 4, 2008

Do Rotary Membership Caterpillars Exist?

From Chip Bell’s “Tackle Box”
Processionary caterpillars feed on pine needles. They move through the trees in a long procession, one leading and the others following--each with their eyes half-closed and their heads snugly fitted against the rear extremity of the predecessor.
Jean Fabre, the great French naturalist, after patiently experimenting with a group of the caterpillars, finally enticed them to the rim of a large flowerpot where he succeeded in getting the first one connected up with the last one, thus forming a complete circle which started moving around in a procession which had neither beginning nor end. The naturalist expected that after a while they would catch on to the joke--get tired of their useless march and start off in some new direction.
But not so…
Through sheer force of habit, the living, creeping circle kept moving around the rim of the pot--around and around, keeping the same relentless pace for seven days and seven nights--and would have continued longer had it not been for sheer exhaustion and ultimate starvation.
Incidentally, an ample supply of food was close at hand, and plainly visible, but it was outside the range of the circle so they continued along the beaten path.
They were following habit, custom, tradition, precedent, past experience, "standard practice"--whatever you may choose to call it, but they were following it blindly.

Is it possible that there are some caterpillar Rotary clubs and districts (and leaders of same) when it comes to developing membership?