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PDG Stephen Lamont —

From ten members to thirty eight, it took all club members to embrace a strategy … and to follow it through.

Article by PDG Stephen Lamont

I wish to share an example of how a Rotary Club decided that they needed to grow to survive. It was down to ten members - they now have a membership of thirty eight. Importantly, it took all Club members to embrace a strategy … and to follow it through.

I recently had a chat to the effervescent PP Caroline Rickard from the Rotary Club of Bellarine North to find out their secrets for growth:

"Our strategy to increase membership is:

  • Every member in our Club is responsible for Membership with a Membership Secretary and /or a small committee overseeing the smooth transition of growth and retention.
  • When you are out in the community, talk about Rotary and your experience and what attracted you to join at every opportunity you get…. start a conversation.
  • Our members have been successful chatting to people as they are out walking their dog. They have met people new to the area and invited them along to meet other people.
  • Wear you badge proudly out; it is always a good conversation starter.
  • Explain that you don’t have to have any special skills just come with your ideas and an open mind.
  • Invite them to a Club project or a Club meeting that would have an interesting guest speaker.
  • Keep weekly meetings relaxed.
  • The most important part of the whole process is to get their details and FOLLOW THEM UP. Make regular contact even if they are not quite ready to commit.
  • Our Club takes people out for coffee and answer any questions they have and ask what their interests and passions are.
  • Introduce them to members with similar interests to start forming relationships.
  • Use local papers and local magazines for publicity about the Club / Rotary in general. Make contributions regularly, editors appreciate surety they will get an article and hence more likely to ensure there is space.
  • Our Club provides a fun and relaxing environment for people to commit to the organization that gets things done here and overseas."

Caroline sums things up by saying "I guess in summary we follow the four-way test and make people feel welcome."

It is important to acknowledge that the growth success has come about by a team effort. A team that wished their Club to not only survive but progress and grow by becoming a more diverse and welcoming Club. It also took commitment and not to be afraid to get a few knock backs. It is also built on a premise that members form relationships based on friendship, common interests and passions. 

Well done Rotary Club of Bellarine North - you are a wonderful example of how you can grow Rotary.