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Costs and time are cited as the major reason members leave a club
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PDG Brian Coffey, Assistant Rotary Coordinator —

How Rotary Meets Our Needs. PART 3. Part 2 was published last month and Part 1 in the September edition

Article by PDG Brian Coffey, Assistant Rotary Coordinator

Rotary Public Image is more than a logo, its much bigger than a wheel, often delipidated, unrecognisable at 60km/h and unneeded on the outskirts of a town. 

We have other ways to find out when and where meetings are on these days. How many clubs have had a potential new member, knock on the door and walk in from seeing a roadside sign in the past 5 years? I could be generous and expand it to 20 years to try and elicit an answer. The sign is nothing more than an image that Rotarians know – without the masterbrand with the word Rotary – a majority do not know what it is.

When we talk about the Rotary and membership, we are not talking about what we know, we are talking about a brand that reflects our identity, our vision, and our essence, as well as our values – people perceive Rotary from their experiences, contact, stories and images we share. We can do it better than what we do, through compelling, consistent brand communication that engages and attracts more members, more donors, and more partners.

In my first article of this series, ‘How Rotary Meets Our Needs’, I mentioned that both Maslow and Robbins indicate that people have a psychological need to be loved and belong. Any service club or organisation will not grow, if it does not accept, befriend and work around its members.

This simple attraction strategy should lead to a true leader finding out, or recognising, what your members skills/interests/passions are, and giving members the opportunity to grow them within the club. To know and value your current and prospective members is the most importantly attraction and retention strategy you can develop.

Not every member might be interested in your clubs timing, style or activities – be a true Rotarian and act selflessly, by encouraging prospects to look around – they will appreciate your honesty. It is about the strength of Rotary – not just one club. The Membership Chair of my District (my wife) does this, whether they be leads or potential members who approach our club; her attraction strategy and success is exemplary.

When attracting or retaining member interest, don’t forget the various club, District, International projects or the 95 odd International Fellowships Groups that we have on offer – from stamp collecting to beer drinking and flying (but not at the same time) – any of these may be a selling point.

With its changing governance, Rotary is now a very flexible organisation. Costs and time are cited as the major reason members leave a club – these are areas under a club’s autonomous influence, not Rotary’s.

A simple lesson to clubs:

  • Keep costs and time demands on members down. Meals, fines, raffles are the true financial burden
  • Be friendly and current in your conduct. Meet in attractive visible venues. Engage and respect District knowledge and leadership.
  • Engage members with a mentor, take and interest, offer training, engage in District social and service.

It's up to your club to decide how, and if you want to introduce flexibility into your club meetings. Decide what changes would benefit your club, edit your club bylaws to reflect them, and try them out. If you decide they aren't working, try something else.