Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Plan to Make Membership Month Last All Year

As the official Rotary Membership Month of August recedes into the rear view mirror of the Rotary year, I'll make a quick few observations as Regional RI Membership Coordinator for Zone 33. In a nutshell, hard work and planning are paying off for many districts, but the emphasis must continue to be successful.
 
Districts have done a superb job in conducting Membership events throughout the Zone, whether stand-alone events, multiple events,
 or in conjunction with other activities. Our District Governors, Membership Chairs and their teams are to be congratulated. Director Eric has been very supportive of President D.K. Lee's renewed call for membership action.      
 
The message that Rotary must grow to thrive (and survive) is being well articulated, and Rotarians are hearing the message. However, as we all know, Rotarians hearing a message, and Rotarians acting on the message are two distinctly different things. Remember Frank Devlyn's "Create Awareness, Take Action" theme- we must have both the awareness and the action! Two out of three words in this year's theme cry out for action. "Make" is an action word, and in it's position at the beginning of the phrase make it declarative! "Real" refers to reality, the way that things actually exist! MAKE DREAMS REAL!  
 
A roadblock to effective action, the "80/20" Rule, is still in effect at the club level, and this is a pivotal challenge. If the dynamic at the club level does not improve, then the rates of retention and recruitment will not improve. 
 
Clubs and Districts that have a plan, and institute a system of definable actions specific to their assessed recruitment or retention needs are those that are seeing positive membership growth. A successfully implemented plan requires member "buy-in", incremental measurement of success, and recognition.
 
Membership Strategic Planning was the emphasis for all District Membership Teams attending the Regional Membership Training Seminar in Evanston in June. Now, this planning emphasis is trickling down to the club level. 
 
Club Visioning Teams to assist clubs with strategic planning are now available, at a club's request, to come into the club and work with their leadership to help set goals, and to define measurement and success. Clubs must make a serious commitment to changing the current dynamic, and taking the next big step toward realizing their potential as Rotary Clubs and their place in their community. Experience Facilitators from The Rotary Leadership Institute are conducting these sessions. Clubs are welcome to explore this opportunity. For more information contact me at Bevin@RLI33.org
 
Planning is an important step to productive and forward looking action, but it is not "action". As Leaders of Rotary, the 2008-09 "Dream Team" must continue to work the plan, and keep a results-oriented eye trained on the short-term and long-term horizons of Rotary membership. For us, "short-term" should be a monthly assessment through the end of June 2009, with adjustment of the plan in January, as needed. "Long-term" should be measured annually, with a duration of no more than 3-5 years out, and must involve successive years leadership.
 
We must break the mold. As the saying goes, "If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!" In membership, let's together move our clubs beyond what we've always done, and we will see more opportunities for service and fellowship than ever before.

Bevin Wall, Zone 33 RRIMC  

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