Welcome to the Zone 31-32 Membership Blog

This Blog will serve as a resource for all those interested in membership growth and development in Rotary International Zones 31 and 32 in the Northeastern United States, Canada, and Bermuda.

We invite you to explore our Blog and add your best membership practices to those here. From recruitment, to retention, to new Club extension, we are here to help you grow your Club and District.

The time is NOW! The need is GREAT! Help us "Make Dreams Real" through membership growth in 2008-2009!

Yours in Rotary Service,

PDG Mark Kriebel
RRIMC, Zone 31

PDG Dan Spencer
RRIMC, Zone 32

RI Presidential Membership Conference - A Great Success!

Hundreds of Rotarians gathered at the Greenbelt, Maryland Marriott on March 28-29 for the last Presidential Membership Conference of the 2008-2009 Rotary year.

Inspirational messages from President D. K. Lee and Director Mike Colasurdo were well received by all in attendance committed to "making membership dreams real" this year. Director Mike reminds all of us that we must keep our efforts focused on retention of our members through the end of the year!

President D. K. summed it up best, while stating his ambitious membership goal of 10% net growth was "...reaching for the stars. By setting our goals high, we might not reach the stars, but we will reach the moon".

Congratulations to Conference Chair Toni McAndrew and her committee for a job well done!

RI President D. K. Lee

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Poor Enconomy and Rotary - Thoughts from Judi Strubing, RRIMC, Zone 23


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 Zone 23. (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 on me 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!

An idea to counteract attrition from D5160:

Concord CA Rotary has set up a program called "Shoulder to Shoulder" for proven (their word) Rotarians who have fallen on hard times. The term is six months, renewable one time for another six months. Dues and meal costs are waived, in turn the Rotarian has to commit to attendance and participation in club projects and activities. The thought is that the loyalty will be rewarded when the participants get back on their feet.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Membership from the eyes of Dr. William BP Cadwallader , PRID

These are points that I feel we should consider strongly as we start our year of membership. Let me know what you think.

How to increase Rotary Membership and retain the members we acquire:

We should emphasize the positive results of membership growth in India, Korea, Eastern Europe and the many new, young Rotary clubs here in North America as examples to others of what can be done to increase new, young members into Rotary.

Most often, the cause of declining membership is that Rotarians themselves, even where changing, positive demographics have had an impact on the area of their Rotary Club, do not invite young people to become an active part of their Rotary fellowship.

There are four levels of responsibility for membership:

1. Rotarians themselves must accept their responsibility for membership

  1. Rotarians are leaders in their communities and therefore well connected within their community of business and professional leaders, young and old.

  2. Rotarians are likable and trustworthy leaders with whom others, of all ages, enjoy spending time and sharing opinions and goals.

  3. Rotary Clubs must provide constant, weekly Rotary information to their members to allow their membership to have confidence and pride in the reasons they choose to be Rotarians. Information about Rotary leadership programs for youth like Interact, RYLA, Youth Exchange, Rotaract, Ambassadorial Scholars and Peace Studies should be emphasized.

    Talk about these benefits to local schools and prospective Rotarians has renewed two failing Rotary clubs in our district last year and this was the reason to start a new club in Dryden, NY. Young men and women were pleased to become Rotary members. Young students today want to help others. Helping students to help others is a true power of Rotary.

    Rotarians simply must involve themselves in communicating this power. If we do this, young people will come to our Rotary clubs.

  4. Rotary clubs must provide a team for the new member sponsors; a mentor for each new Rotarian and the club information chairperson to inform new Rotarians of all the details of the power of Rotary.

2. District Governors, starting as governors-elect, must take seriously their responsibilities for membership:

  1. District Governors Elects (DGEs) must inform their club presidents that they will expect to meet with the club membership chairs to see the list of all club members and the check off list that indicates that each club member has invited someone to join their club; someone preferably less than 50 years of age. All Rotarians must be involved in
    inviting young people to become Rotarians.

  2. Each DGE must expect that club presidents will have a club Rotary information chair to give a “Rotary Moment” each week for Rotary Education. Rotary International should provide such “Rotary Moments” as examples of what can be said. Senior, and new Rotarians, can state why they remain active in Rotary and what they have done in Rotary.

  3. Each DGE must expect the club presidents will provide each new member sponsor with a club mentor who is an experienced and dedicated Rotarian for the newly sponsored Rotarian to check on the new members and to give them support.

  4. As District Governor (DG), these requirements must be checked at each club visit.

  5. The RI President must inspire Rotarians to meet these needs. Rotary train representatives of the RI Membership Committee to check on the progress, and to hold accountable, each district by contact with the DG. Presidential Recognition must be tied to these membership goals and achievements.

3. New Members also have a responsibility for membership:

  1. Each new member must be expected to invite someone new to join the club during the first year after they join Rotary. This should double the number of new members and also reduce the average age of the club. New members can have a strong influence on the future direction of club activities.

  2. The new member’s sponsor, mentor and Rotary Education chair must be certain that the new members are adequately educated about Rotary so they can explain Rotary to their prospective new members.
4. Rotaractors and Foundation Alumni should start their own Rotary Clubs.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Member Video Available Online

As Rotarians interested in membership development, we know the importance of asking qualified individuals to join our ranks. We also know that, once we have a new member, we must do all we can to keep them. Rotary has developed a short video to help you in orienting your new members. Click here to view this video online. This less than 4 minute video will orient new members regarding the "4 avenues of service", and encourage them to get involved!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Your voice, your solution for recruiting younger members

Welcome to Rotary International's problem-solving forum. Each month, Rotarians are asked for their ideas and strategies to address challenges they deal with every day.

Provide your input to help create a Rotary knowledge base of best practices and new ideas that will help Rotarians around the world improve their clubs and their service to the community.

Click here to access the forum. Please use the comments section to share your solution to the problem described below. Return to this page before the end of the month to read solutions from your fellow Rotarians.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Leadership and Zone Institute 2008

RID Michael Colasurdo, Sr. convened the annual Zones 31-32 Leadership and Zone Institute this past week, and it was a great success! Leadership chair Knut Johnsen, GETS chair Dan Spencer, and Zone chair Bernadette Jennings and their team went "above and beyond" in providing a Rotary "mountaintop experience" for all who attended.

The 2009-10 DGE's from Zones 31 and 32 met September 2-4 in Philadelphia to complete their mandated training on a variety of Rotary subjects prior to their attendance at the 2009 International Assembly in San Diego. 30 DGE's experienced "GETS" training sessions similar to those that will take place at the IA, ably led by PDG's Pam Akins and Don Lee, with Membership Presentations by RRIMC's Mark Kriebel and Dan Spencer, and Foundation Sessions with RRFC's Jack Best and Hogie Hansen.

The Zone 31-32 Institute followed, attended by many Rotary senior leaders, including RIP D. K. Lee, RIVP Monty Audenart, and RI Foundation Chair-Elect PRIP Glen Estess. All stressed the importance of MEMBERSHIP GROWTH to help "Make Dreams Real" this year and to secure Rotary's future. Membership breakouts were well attended, and many ideas were shared to further our Club and District membership goals.

Congratulations to our DGE's and our enthusiastic 2010-11 DGN's, who also received training for their first step on the road to becoming Governor. Membership growth and development will be in good hands with our incoming crop of DG's.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dave Benson (Zone 31) and Joe Dino (Zone 32) Newsletters 2006-2008

Many of you have written to ask for a collection of the monthly Rotary Membership Action Line, published from July 2006 through June 2008, or to have them archived where you can access them. To access the archived newsletters, go to: http://vermontvacationrental.net/pdf/members.htm.

District 7370 - "The Little District That Could" by Karen Teichman, PDG

Like most service and civic organizations in the United States, Rotary clubs in District 7370 in rural central Pennsylvania have experienced an increasing reduction in membership over the past ten years.

Due to major industries permanently closing their doors and still more jobs lost due to downsizing, business mergers and consolidations, many of our members were relocating to other cities and states. Sadly, we also began to lose increasing numbers of our long-time, dedicated Rotarians through death.

District 7370 was identified by the RI Board of Directors as not meeting the new minimum membership number requirement as set by the Council On Legislation of 1,000 minimum members. We had been encouraged to increase our membership for a decade but suddenly the District was in serious trouble.

The first “official” notice letter came in April 2005. The Secretariat sent an official notice requesting two things: First, our Plan of Action outlining how we would improve our membership numbers, and Second, our plan of consolidation for clubs to join surrounding districts should we fail to reach the 1,000 member mark.

From 2005 through 2007, our district and clubs focused on membership. We held membership seminars, talked about how to recruit new members and how retain our current members and emphasized membership growth in our newsletters. Yet it seemed that no matter how hard we worked-- more members were leaving than we brought in!

As the 2007-08 Rotary year began, a direct and to the point letter was received from the Re-Districting Committee. While we had all felt the “threat” of losing our District family before, this time we knew Re-Districting was an imminent possibility. This letter asked our Governor not what our membership growth plan was, but what our preferences were in the merging of clubs to surrounding Districts.

We Take Action To Save Our District!

Meeting with our Governor, the PDGs surveyed the membership reports. While membership had been one of our highest priorities, and we had worked hard, now we needed a whole lot more… and we needed positive results within six months! We decided not to submit a letter of merger and instead dug in our heels and decided to make a difference.

We had tried membership recruitment and retention but this time we added the third part of the membership calculation – EXTENSION.

A map of our geographic region was laid out. US Census figures were researched. The evaluation of possible sites for new club extension became our priority. Seven locations were identified as good extension possibilities with four selected as the best choices to get the project rolling.

Visits were made to the targeted locales. A meeting location had to be identified. “Seed” members needed to be identified. Day of the week and time of the meeting had to be set. Concerns had been heard that dinner meetings took too much time away from the family and breakfast meetings were impossible to attend and get to work on time. The expense of meals was also a concern, so we knew we must address meeting times as well as reducing the cost of becoming a member.

Working on the first locale, it was quickly identified that an “after hours” club would be the best idea. Members could stop on their way home from work, participate in a meeting with a light dinner, snacks or appetizers and be home to spend time with the family. This idea was a hit! The Lewisburg Sunset Rotary Club began meeting in October and by December 14th had added enough members to submit paperwork for chartering with 35 new members! (Note: This club was added in a town of 15,000 people with two active clubs in existence: breakfast and dinner. This proves the point: potential Rotarians are available, and are just waiting for the right time slot!)

We Can and Do Grow Our Membership!

The most interesting thing happened along the way… other clubs began to change their outlook. It almost felt like the dark storm cloud of re-districting had been replaced with a very positive karma. All of the clubs began to bring in new members. Assistant Governors jumped into action and promoted membership both in the new provisional clubs and in existing clubs. Weekly and sometimes daily membership count updates were emailed to all clubs. Clubs competed to see who could bring in the most new Rotarians. The clubs began to hold membership recruitment activities like they had not done in years, emphasizing fun activities along with Rotary club information. Some of these included:

· Wine tastings

· Football tailgate parties

· Open Houses

· Holiday Parties

District 7370 Turns the Tide

The tide was changing in our little District. By the end of December, half way into the Rotary year, our District had shown positive membership growth, we had shown Rotary International that we were still “viable.” Suddenly our statistics began leading the Zone 31/32 region, later leading the United States and Canada and on December 31st, our little district was leading North America! But we had only just begun – we were up 8.59% and three more clubs were underway!

Mifflinburg began meeting in late fall of 2007. They worked together, often bringing telephone books and brainstorming about other business owners and professionals to bring into their club. With dedication and true commitment, they submitted charter paperwork on June 27, 2008, with 22 new Rotarians… all actively involved in wonderfully inventive community projects.

Forty-five minutes north of the Mifflinburg and Lewisburg Sunset clubs, yet another club was underway. This region, known for Little League World Series, has a population of well over 40,000, but had only one lunchtime club and one breakfast club. When two professionals had to leave the breakfast club due to business time constraints, they were the first to admit that an after hours club would work for them and many of their friends. That’s how the River Valley (Loyalsock) club started. They grew to a club of about 15 and were happy with their weekly meetings and fundraising events, but when told that the Mifflinburg Club was reaching charter numbers, they quickly added members and submitted their own charter paperwork to Rotary International. Both clubs were chartered the same day on June 27th – both clubs with 22 members!

Currently, our fourth provisional club is working very hard to find members. As extension chair, the job became more than one person could handle. A co-chair was named and an Extension Committee is being formed. It is imperative that positive-minded, can-do attitude committee members be assigned to the clubs to help them grow and become their own entity.

As the clubs were adding new members, we sent out bold and colorful e-mail communications to keep our Rotarians informed and up to date on our the progress… brightly colored letters announced the clubs who were adding members. As we neared the end of 2007, and again as we neared the end of the Rotary year on June 30th we kept everyone informed of our growth progress. Three new clubs were chartered AND positive enthusiasm grew in all of our clubs! 35 (Lewisburg Sunset) + 22 (Mifflinburg) + 22 (River Valley-Loyalsock) PLUS renewed enthusiasm and excitement generated amongst all clubs = District 7370 success. Everyone took ownership in their club and our district and with renewed enthusiasm, everyone has worked together to achieve this fantastic goal. And – watch out, we’re not done yet! We have identified ten more towns that need Rotary Clubs!

International Membership Challenge

In February, two 7370 PDG’s joined an NID in India. The District Governor in 3010 welcomed the NID volunteers and one evening bragged to the RI Director assigned to the NID that he planned to lead the world in membership growth! The RI Director quickly spotted the 7370 PDGs and told him that he’d have to deal with us – the little Rotary District in Central Pennsylvania who was doing things no one thought possible! An International Membership Challenge was underway! Returning home, this international membership challenge was relayed to the clubs… help us win! A Paul Harris Recognition is at stake!

How Can Your District and Your Clubs Grow?

First, you need to develop a plan. And then you need to ask people to join. You need to build enthusiasm and become a cheerleader for the clubs. If you are hum-drum, not exciting, talk about membership in a business as normal attitude… things will likely never change. It is imperative that dedicated and positive-minded Rotarians who can put their time into the project, must be identified.

The obstacles that Rotarians personally experience but do not talk about deal mostly with their lack of understanding and their fear of being rejected. If they don’t ask and recruit new members a wrench is thrown into any membership growth plans! When we implemented our membership growth plan we often heard: “How do I do that? What if they say no? I’ve been in Rotary for years and I’ve not sponsored anyone because I still don’t know enough about Rotary. I don’t know how to ask.”

Start with the basics – teach your members how to ask. At a recent club meeting where I had been invited to discuss membership issues, I encouraged the club members to say “Are you a member of a service club?” when I learned they were not asking because they did not know how, or felt uncomfortable with how to ask. “Are you a member of a service club?” It’s that easy! You will either get a “yes” or a “no”… go from there. Once you break the ice, you can talk about specifics. Use “Be My Guest” cards and invite them to come see first-hand what Rotary is all about. “Be My Guest” cards are so easy to print using your home computer. Keep a supply in your wallet and use them! One Club President installed on July 1st was the recipient of one of my “Be My Guest” cards – it certainly paid off!

Lead by example. When was the last time you personally sought out and sponsored a new Rotarian? You are surrounded by potential Rotarians. All you need to do is Ask. For example: While we were organizing the Mifflinburg Rotary Club, on my way out of my dentists’ office, I mentioned to the Nurse/Practice Manager: “We’re starting a new Rotary Club in town, would you be interested in attending an information night?” Vivienne literally jumped up and shouted: “YES! My sister is a Rotarian in California and she loves her club! She is always telling me of the fun things they do… yes! Count me in!” So don’t be afraid to ask… there are many potential Rotary members just waiting in the wings. Good luck!

Karen Teichman, PDG

Membership Extension Chair, District 7370

56 Beth Ellen Drive

Lewisburg, PA 17837

(570) 523-7810 home

(570) 524-1120 office


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

PDG Jim Yarmus' Membership Strategies

Making Dreams Real for Membership
Visions and Processes by
PDG Dr. Jim Yarmus 845-300-6666 drjamesjyarmus@yarmusconsulting.com

The Steps that worked
.Share your passion for what Rotary does
.Build trust in you as a Rotarian for Life
.Explain why YOU became a Rotarian
.Tell details of your earlier years in Rotary
.Loose any shyness about showing emotion
.The heart comes first, the wallets will follow
.Share Your Visions and Plans, then make
them real for potential new members
.Help members find their ideal committee

Creating new clubs: Extensions
.Find those who care as much as you care
.Learn and teach how to form new clubs
.Appoint Special Representatives
.Finding a Sponsoring Club is best
.Always communicate with RI staff
.Learn from www.rotary.org
.Find preferred committee for members

Enjoy the Adventure-Have Fun
.Your team and RI are today and the future
.Clubs represent their own communities
.Members should work on what they do best
.The local community is first, then the world
.Use the Classification Survey as a tool to find
new members and to learn about yourself
.Explain your ideas, seek feedback, listen
.When you are asked for help, give it freely

Modern Speed of Communication
.Each club must have an information person
.Allow members to opt out of Emails
.Provide a website that all can use/enjoy
.Website Features: Spotlight on a member,
Glad and Sad Tidings, Club news, and Photos
.Find a responsive Webmaster (Spidy)
.Retain a sense of humor, help your DG
.Engage each member on their favorite work

Provisional Clubs with Deadlines
.Governors create the Provisional Clubs
.Get Charter date deadlines from those clubs
.RI makes them chartered when they are 20
.Use form 808en in www.rotary.org
.Try hard to do it everything right, seek help
.Ask everyone to get members into the club
.Then listen, watch, adapt and act as needed
.Facilitate information to join committees

Some obvious YES answers
.Can a new club be formed in your same area?
.Should you reach out to “unusual” trades?
.Should you try again to form a club where
previous attempts did not succeed?
.Should you keep a record of your efforts?
.Are programs and fun really important?
.Should you ALWAYS seek new members?
.Should new members become active?

Keep Rotary Terms Simple
.Assist others to understand the Rotary ways
.Avoid sounding like alphabet soup
.Take questions, never look down on anyone
.Make yourself accessible by cell, fax, Email
.Do not fear “not knowing”, never wing it
.Provide recognition with praise, print, gifts
.Seek fellowship with new and old members
.Help members to join a committee soon

Information and Resources
.On line resources are vast, so use them
.Your website and your briefcase are fine
repositories of your valuable knowledge
.Your enthusiasm and caring are role models
.Save your “Rotarian” magazines for others
.Invite speakers to became Rotarians
.Volunteer your time, not just your wallet
.All Rotarians are leaders. How do you lead?

A little planning goes a long way
.Form a committee of “door to door” volunteers
to find members who live or work near their club
.Obtain demographic data, use interviews
.Find and use 862enin www.rotary.org
.Guess as needed to determine culture, age,
diversity & occupation while seeking members
.Ask barbers, beauticians, store keepers, etc.
.All areas have people who were never asked
.Publicize events, assist other clubs to succeed
.You should partner with other clubs in
membership development efforts and events

Additional Suggestions
.Leave you business card with questions
.Share your success stories with others so the
may learn, avoid mistakes, reach goals faster
.We are a community helping others
.Rotary will be at its best with you in charge
.Share Rotary with those who will join us in
making the world a better place to live
.Help the new member find out how to do that

Ways to Reach Me
.PDG Dr. James J. Yarmus (Jim)
.Cell Phone: 845-300-6666
.Fax: 845-230-6616
.Rotary Club of Spring Valley, NY, 10977
.District 7210-Hudson Valley, NY