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.