Thursday, October 30, 2008
I share some insights from Judy Beard Strubing, RRIMC for Zone 23, on the recent economic downturn and the pressure it is placing on Rotary Clubs in the membership area. This is equally applicable to us in Zone 33!
We’re hearing reports that some areas of North America are experiencing resignations from Rotary due to the economy. Because the reports we get from RI are often delayed, we have no way of checking to see if this is true for the districts in our Zone. (We're also advised that another aspect of this is that we may experience a pull back in giving to TRF.)
This is one of those critical times to work together. I'm asking seven things of you..........
1. Please check the district records to see if the economic situation is affecting membership numbers in your district. Are there areas that are being particularly hard hit? Industries that are being affected?
2. Talk with the clubs about sensitivity to those who might be feeling the pinch because of company cutbacks. Offer ways to help the clubs identify those who may potentially leave and be sure those members feel their membership has value and a special meaning to them - i.e. engagement and involvement. (Businesses may also begin to cut expenses and may not subsidize their employee's dues and/or sponsorship of Rotary events. This could have a huge effect on our clubs. )
3. Consider the "New Generations" or “After Five” model in setting up new clubs, which can mean a less expensive approach to meals and venue. Some clubs may also wish to consider converting to this model.
4. Be creative! Dues are not the big expense – food, fines and contributions tend to be what our members find expensive. Consider some of the following:
· 5th meeting of the month – “brown bag” at the business of one of the members – make it a Vocational Day.
· Meet and eat with Interact Club at school – good for connection and communication with our young future Rotarians and school lunches are cheap!
· Picnic at a local park during the summer.
· Are there less expensive meeting venues? How about Churches or other town meeting halls? Meals can be “brown bag” or Sub sandwiches.
· Talk with the restaurant about simpler lunches, i.e. soup and sandwich.
· Re-evaluate “fining.” Ask each member twice a year for their estimate of personal club fines for that period. Encourage “Happy Dollars” as an alternative.
· Look for hands-on projects to give members alternatives to just writing checks.
· Consider setting up “Rotary First Harvest” as a district/club project – great for hands-on and community involvement.
· Consider joint project with County Extension (or whatever group in your community) to teach young families how to do things for themselves: gardening, canning, sewing, home repairs, carpentry (all the things our schools are no longer able to teach.)
· Big Foundation Gala a tradition? Consider instead a “Subsistence” Dinner (based on a typical Third World meal) with a minimum donation for dinner, but a great program inviting contributions to TRF. Money goes to TRF instead of to a fancy meal and evening for the attendees.
5. Friendship and socializing is an important part of Retention. Plan simple monthly events, i.e. “First Friday” – keep it inexpensive and be creative.
- BYOB drinks and appetizers
- Potluck dinners
- Desserts and games
- Super Bowl Chili Party at one of members’ home (or several homes if your club is larger.)
- Mystery dinners
- High School ball games
- Costume parties
- Access to a farm? Hayrides, barn dance
- Pumpkin Carving party
- Christmas Tree cutting with hot cocoa and cookies afterward
- Divide into 12 groups and each group draws a month for which they’re responsible in coming up with a fun and inexpensive social event.
6. Keep your radar tuned to any signs of difficulty.
7. Call your RRIMC for assistance, information or ideas -- that's my job!
If we approach this in a proactive way, we may cause a member to put resigning from Rotary or cutting on Foundation giving further down on that list of where they will cut corners!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Regional RI Membership Coordinator (RRIMC) Bevin Wallwas a featured speaker at the District 7600 Conference held in Portsmouth, Virginia on October 3-5, 2008.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Business, professional, and community leaders know that accountability for adhering to common fundamentals is necessary for success. They also know that lack of accountability generally leads to failure. At Membership Ground Zero – the Club – EFFECTIVE Rotary clubs generally do not have Membership Development problems because they practice fundamentals and set expectations as their form of accountability.
Fundamentals are used because they have proven to be dependable. For over one-hundred years, effective Rotary clubs have successfully applied fundamentals to strengthen Membership. But what fundamentals?
- The reason Rotary clubs exist is to advance the Object of Rotary.
- The First Object of Rotary is to Develop Acquaintance as an Opportunity for Service (Membership Development.)
- Rotary is an organization of business, professional, and community leaders, active or retired, who have discretionary use of their time.
- Business, professional, and community leaders are not accustomed to mediocrity, associating with anyone who accepts mediocrity, or being involved with mediocre organizations.
- People join Rotary for their reasons, not the club’s or the invitee’s.
- People join Rotary to get to know, or get to be known by, like minded individuals – to network.
- Members stay in Rotary because they are satisfied.
Membership Ground Zero – the club. In preparing or refining Membership Strategic Plans, consider instituting ways and means of inspiring, encouraging, and equipping members to be accountable for practicing fundamentals. Imagine what could happen if membership committees had in their membership toolbox information that came from these, or similar, fundamental questions:
- How many Rotary information meetings (fireside chats) for non-Rotarians did the clubs hold the previous month?
- How many potential member business, professional, or community leaders who have discretionary use of their time were at the information meetings?
- What was the club’s average attendance percentage last month?
- How many members resigned last month?
- How many of the members that resigned had been in Rotary less than three years?
- Why did they resign?
- How many new members were inducted into the club last month?
Imagine this chain of events: The club membership chair gathers this information each month and reports it to the club’s Board of Directors. The Board of Directors discusses the information and takes action as necessary. At the next weekly membership meeting, the club president gives a brief report and recognizes the Membership Committee for a job well done.
This simple accountability system would be a way to keep Membership Development fundamentals in the minds of all at Membership Ground Zero and would lay the foundation for improving the club’s ability to satisfy their customer – the club member. And we all know that satisfied customers attract others.
(For more information, or setting up sample Excel spreadsheets, contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Contact President Randy at Randy.Yocum@ExpressPros.com
- Raising Public Awareness to Generate Interest in Rotary Club Membership
- PR Resources for Clubs
- Using Technology to Enhance Your Clubs Public Image
- Links to Membership Statistics and Publications
Membership "Must" Links
- Zone 33-34 Membership Resources Index
- Rotary.org Membership Resources Page
- RRIMC Blog
- Club Assessment Tools
- Zone 33-34 Website Membership Page
- Zone 33 Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI)
- Sunshine Division Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI)
- Rotary's You Tube Video Site
- Link to All Zone Membership Newsletters
- Sign Up for Membership Minute
- Sign Up for RI's Public Relations Tips
- Every Rotarian Every Year
- RI's Training Talk
- 2009 MD Presidential Membership Conference Resource Page
- Zone 25-26 Membership Blog (West Coast US)
- Zone 21 Membership Blog (Latin & S America)
- Zone 31-32 Membership Blog (Northeast US)
- Zone 15 Membership Blog (Scandanavia-Russia)
- Zones 10B-18 Membership Blog (Europe & Africa)