Keep Your Clubs Growing!

It’s time to think about developing strategies around growing your membership. The reason Rotary is such a successful organization is because it is full of members that have one trait in common – the passion to make a difference in the world. All of us share this passion and it’s what drives us to work together.

Today, many young professionals are not even aware of Rotary or what it does, while those who know us are unable to join for a variety of reasons. We’ve made many changes to combat this challenge such as the introduction of eClubs, relaxed attendance requirements, more meeting time options, etc. but we still have a long way to go. Members continue to leave and clubs continue to struggle to recruit.

This year, with members in mind, why not create a development and recruitment strategy by implementing methods your club hasn’t tried before.

Membership development

  1. Analyze results from past exit interviews to see what members cited as their reason for leaving the club. Often, you can immediately see a pattern to act upon.
  2. If your club doesn’t conduct exit interviews, consider contacting ex-members from the past few years to ask them for feedback on what they feel the club could’ve done better.
  3. Make sure every member has some role to play. Every member in your club joined to become part of something big, and if they aren’t being given a chance to make a contribution to the club, slowly but surely, their satisfaction level will begin to decline. Consider giving each member some sort of responsibility at every meeting (ex: introduce/thank speaker, contribute jokes of the week for the club newsletter, etc.).
  4. Focus on happiness: happy members are those that are motivated to do good for the club. There are many ways to keep members happy. Sometimes just being asked means a lot, so in your next meeting, have every member anonymously write changes that they would like to see in the club which would make them happy. Such a simple act shows your members that you care about their presence in the club.

Recruitment strategies

Even though your club may have an open door policy, many prospective members interested in joining still might be hesitant to come visit. The answer?

  • Promote your open door policy everywhere you can – on your website, social media and even at your meeting location (example, at the entrance of the building, near the elevators, staircase, etc.)
  • Put up flyers welcoming visitors pointing them to where you meet, time, etc. The more signs prospective members see, the more you’ve alleviated their fear of trying something new.
  • Countries like Germany, India, Africa have all seen an increase in membership due to the emphasis they’ve put on personal connections. Rotarians here have been urging family members to join and have even created new clubs that meet in the evenings and have lower fees for the children of all members. This makes it easier for parents to balance family life with club service.
  • All of us know at least one person that might be a good fit for Rotary, whether that person be a colleague, family member or friend – all we have to do is ask.
  • Many Rotaractors tend to leave Rotary altogether. Team up with a local Rotaract club and speak more on the benefits of joining your club, so that you can create a smooth transition for them to join your club when they are ready.
  • Propose a ‘trial’ period – offer a 3 month membership plan where members can pay only for those months to get a better feel for what it means to be part of your club. This way, they don’t have to worry about investing money/time for the entire year.
  • Create a club designation to recognize members that recruit the most members. Then for every 2 or 3 new members that join, the recruiter receives the special club designation title. Plus take advantage of Rotary’s New Member Sponsor Program.
  • Host an open house and promote it via Facebook ads. You can set your own budget and reach a wider audience.
  • List the benefits of joining your club right on your site. Add a video showcasing the fun your members have so as to evoke a feeling of being part of a team.
  • Ask your guests and speakers to join your club, even if they choose to join as honorary members.

Most importantly, follow up with all of your prospective members. Send a personal note reminding them of their interest in the club and reinforce the benefits. At the end of the day, it’s up to us to open the door to new members by asking people to join. What’s your membership goal this year?

This article first appeared in the ClubRunner Newsletter.  Visit the ClubRunner website at

Polio Update

Rotarians’ have played a key role in working diligently to eliminate polio. We have made it clear that no child no matter where they live in the world should ever be crippled by the polio virus; especially, since we have the means to end polio.

Long before Rotary International launched a dedicated effort to eliminate polio, individual Rotary clubs teamed up to attack the deadly disease. Beginning in 1979, Rotary and the Philippines Ministry of Health launched a five-year program of immunization in the southeast Asian nation that protected more than 6 million children in the country against polio. By 1985, polio had been eradicated from the Philippines.

It was this success that helped lead to the creation of the Global Polio Eradication Imitative (GPEI). It also led to the launch of Rotary’s Polio Plus campaign, which since 1985 has led Rotarians to donate more than $1.3 billion and countless volunteer hours to rid the world of this crippling disease.

Since the launch of the Polio Plus program, the annual number of polio cases reported worldwide has fallen by more than 99 percent. From more than 350,000 new cases reported around the world in 1985, fewer than 100 cases were reported last year and we are within reach to see the end of polio in our life time.

Your contributions are essential if we are to win the war against POLIO Together we can and will make a difference.

Jim Ferguson, District Chair, Polio Plus

Your District Disaster Relief Foundation is Making a Difference!

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Things are moving along with your District 7550 flood relief efforts.  The District has contributed $25,000 each for five homes in flood affected areas.  We’re building houses in White Sulphur Springs, Rainelle, Richwood, Clay and Clendenin.

The house in White Sulphur Springs is in Hope Village.  It’s a three-bedroom house that will be home to a single mother with two kids who lost everything in June’s flooding.  The house is under roof, and the family will be able to move in shortly.

The house in Rainelle is also under roof, and nearly ready for the family to move in.

In Richwood, Clay and Clendenin, we’re still in the planning phase, but construction is expected to begin soon.

The District Foundation is also providing funding for Rotary Pavilion to be constructed in Paisley Park in White Sulphur Springs.  The park is being built on land beside Howard’s Creek, where seven homes were washed away.  Four residents of this neighborhood were killed in the flooding, and the park is being constructed in their memory.  Here’s the coolest part:  the pavilion is being erected by Antique Cabins and Barns, LLC, owned by White Sulphur Springs Rotarian Mark Bowe, and the stars of the DIY network series, Barnwood Builders.  The construction will be featured in an episode of the series.  Construction will happen on March 7-9, 2017.

All-Clubs Conference

Your All-Clubs Conference leadership team has been hard at work putting together an exciting event!

This year’s conference theme is A Little Bit of Rotary and a Whole Lot of Fun, and we’re issuing a challenge to All Clubs!  We’re having a Club Challenge, there will be games throughout the conference, clubs will earn points for their wins, and the winningest club will take home the Club Challenge trophy!

The Challenge starts with the Golf Tournament Friday afternoon.  The winning foursome will pick up four points.  Longest drive, closest to the pin and ??? will also get points.

The cookout Friday evening will be followed by more games.  Think corn hole, giant Jenga, and Yard Yahtzee, fun for everyone, a chance to spend time with your fellow Rotarians, and some team-building, too.  Game wins earn Club Challenge points.

Then throughout the day Saturday, you’ll have more opportunities for earning points, culminating with awarding of the Club Challenge trophy at the banquet Saturday night.

To participate:

  1. Register for the conference on DaCdb.
  2. Register with the hotel: we have a block of rooms, and the rate is just $119 per night.  Just mention the Rotary Conference when booking your room.
  3. Organize your Club Challenge team
  4. Sign up for the golf tournament, so you don’t miss out on those points!
  5. Practice your corn hole, Jenga and other silly game skills.

There is no minimum number of Rotarians required for a team, except for the golf tournament, where you must have a foursome.

Along with the games, there will be other content at the conference.  We’ll tell you more about that next month.

March is Water and Sanitation Month in Rotary

What better time to talk about our District Water Jug Project?  This year’s project goal is to raise more than $60,000 for water by filling the water jugs distributed this Rotary year.

We want members to donate to the jug each week, with the goal of collecting an average of $55 per member this year.  That’s just a little more than a dollar a week.

In addition to cash donations in the jugs, Rotarians can make contributions by check to the local Rotary club and receive individual credit from The Rotary Foundation for their contributions towards PHSM, PHF, PHS and at the same time be donating to projects in Ghana with the club receiving credit in our District Water Jug Contest.

Tom Greenstreet, our District International Service Chair, will work with your club’s designated person to coordinate these donations using the Multiple Donor Form to insure club members get their individual credits.

We are having a District Water Jug Contest again this year.

The District will be awarding $1,000 to the winners in each of 3 categories, including:

  • Most Money Collected
  • Most Money Collected Per Capita
  • “Best Jug”, which will be judged by a committee that DG John selects at his district conference this spring.

The Best Jug award has been hotly contested in past years, with some beautiful and interesting designs.  Get creative!

The three $1,000 awards will go toward defraying the cost of a trip to Ghana with Walter Hughes in the next few years. Our goal is to provide at least three more Rotarians from our district with the opportunity to participate in a life-changing international project.

Winning clubs will also receive Club Challenge points for their Water Jug wins!

So decorate and fill your jugs, and let’s help bring clean water to the world!

Atlanta Bound!

The District 7550 bus for the Atlanta Rotary International Convention still has seats available!  We’re offering you the chance to attend the Rotary International Convention with other Rotarians from our district for just $100 round trip.

The International Convention will feature a keynote address from Bill Gates.  He’ll be talking about the Gates Foundation’s partnership with Rotary to End Polio Now.

The Host Committee has planned a whole series of events to coincide with the Convention.  You can learn about the events here:

You can get updates on the convention here:

You can sign up to get on the bus on DaCdb.

The registration cost for the convention goes up again on April 1, so get registered now!

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