Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Membership Plan

Why do people stay in Rotary Clubs? Something in the club experience meets their needs, satisfies a desire they have.  In many clubs the members are friends with each other and stay in, just to keep up their friendships and enjoyable associations. The weekly meeting is a convenient way to do this. Providing service and creating value for their town is also an important need satisfied by the current membership model.

An essential element of the current member experience is the periodic meeting. And this meeting is an essential element of the value which members see.

Why would people join a Rotary Club. They might be looking to create new friendships and provide value to their town. The reputation of the club might be attractive to the potential new member. They might expect to enjoy the activities of the club. They might want to establish contact with the "movers and shakers" who are in the club. In any case finding the people in a town/area who are interested in a club is not a simple nor easy task. Most clubs find that a very small number of members bring in the vast majority of new members. That is not changed by cajoling and programs etc.

Once the person who is interested in joining the club is found, the membership experience s/he is looking for, must be provided quickly so that the person will remain in the club. Currently many clubs leave the assimilation of a new member to chance. It should be planned and organized.

There may be people who are not interested in the currently structured member experience. In particular it has been said that younger people do not have the time nor interest for a weekly meal meeting. The existing range of club experiences is very broad and there is the ability to make it even broader.

There may be nothing special about the meeting location. It's the conversations
and enjoyment of others company as well as service to your community
Here's a Rotary member with 62 years of service. He has valued the
friendship of club members and they have valued him.

Here are two new members of the New Haven Rotary Club. It is crucial that
we involve them in task and activities with other members on day 1
Here's a Rotary club program with the local Emergency Response team.
What a great opportunity to have a public meeting. The ERT reaches
out to the community and your Rotary club gets some visibility

So here are three elements of a membership plan(you may have additional ideas)
1. Finding New Members
 Hold public events, meetings, service projects(maybe one per month) and give these happenings lots of publicity. Make it clear at these events that membership in the Rotary Club is a possibility and to talk with a member. One club had a public event every month for 6 months and signed up 11 new members. Rotary Means Business is an excellent example of a Rotary Event that could be a public event and could be an attraction for new members.
2.Keeping New Members
 As soon as a person is inducted into the club assign an existing member to do a task with him/her for a month. Assign different people to do tasks with him/her in the next two months. These tasks can be small things like being the greeter at the meeting or doing the card game or ??  The idea is to have at least three different people work with the new member and hopefully establish friendships. Assign the new member to a specific service or fundraising committee right when they are installed.
3.Attracting Different People to Rotary

 To attract people who are not interested in the current member experience, find a few people, particularly younger people, and ask them to create a new member experience. It is very important that the new people design the new situation and that it is not done for them. Our goal is to have these people's creativity and knowledge create a whole new paradigm. You don't like a weekly meeting with a meal, well what would you like? Make this a satellite club. The members of the satellite club don't have to attend the existing meetings(but they can) and they establish the rules and duties for this new organization. The satellite club has its own service projects and fundraisers but it can also work on the main clubs' activities. If club members want to work on the satellite clubs activities, that's great. At some clubs where I have mentioned this, the club members are only focused on their existing clubs' meetings and projects and are not at all interested in this type of approach. The idea here is to create a new entity which gives a new and different set of people a Rotary experience. There will be synergy between the two entities but they need to be independent. By making it a satellite club we avoid a lot of red tape and it will work with a lower number of people.

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