Rotary – Keeping Rotary Vital

Leadership at Rotary clubs around the world talk about membership – how to recruit and how to retain members. I suggest a mind shift.  

Instead talk about ATTRACTION and ENGAGEMENT.

The business words “recruit” and “retain” are offensive, especially to new members who suddenly realize they have been recruited, that they are a number, a statistic and part of a campaign. 

People will be drawn to Rotary clubs if they feel they fit, that their personal passions match the passions of the club and its members. And they will stay if they are engaged, not just on a committee, but really engaged in something they are passionate about. 

How one talks to a prospective Rotarian is  critical. When the question is asked, “Tell me about Rotary.” the response should be immediate and must lead to a conversation about the inquirer’s passions. Then relate your club’s activities to those passions.

Many acquaintances have seen my Rotary involvement on Facebook and Twitter and have asked about it, what Rotary is and why I am involved. If I know a little about the person, perhaps they are interested in education, then I talk about our club’s literacy projects, job shadowing, youth programs and projects such as Rotoract and Interact and that we are looking to expand our involvement in this area. What ideas do they have? What volunteer work are they now doing in this area? Can we partner?

If I hear them talk about homelessness I launch into our club’s efforts to prevent and alleviate homelessness. If they express concern about our country’s military involvement I talk about sending packages to our troops and I talk about peace and that Rotary’s mission is peace.

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