MEMBERSHIP FORUM APRIL 2014
 
Session 1 – David Anderson
“Why Membership Matters”
*Membership is the number 1 priority for clubs this year and next year*
• Clubs are getting smaller
• Membership is aging
• Internationally we lose as many members as we attract  -> retention issues
• 20% of members are over 70. This will double in 10 years
• Average age of Rotarians around the world is 62
• There are currently almost 34,000 clubs around the world
• International membership is stable at 1.2 million
• Rotary is dying in the ‘Old World’ but growing in the ‘New World’ -> Recruitment Vs Retention
• Figures for our Zone show a continued downhill trend in membership figures
 
9820
• Over the 10 year period from 2004 -> District 9820 has recorded a net loss of 42 Rotarians. 
• Current membership of 1458 which is exactly the same as at the end of 2013
• More members will lead to revenue growth. More members = more money to run Rotary
Diversity of Membership
• Is your club representative of your community? Does the club reflect your community in terms of race, nationality, age, gender, vocation etc?
• Increasing diversity of your club means you have greater skills and abilities available to work in your community -> more inclusive clubs
• Diverse membership leads to a greater understanding of your local community which enables you to respond more appropriately to the local needs
• 3 ways to grow membership:
o Retention
o Recruitment
o New clubs
• Unless new members are engaged with meaningful projects, clubs will lose them. 
• Need for an age balance in club membership
• Need for better education for new members -> retention
 
*Active clubs are attractive clubs*
 
Session 2 – Paul Reid
“Selling Rotary”
*We need to view Rotary in a business sense and try and ‘sell our product*
 
• Generation Y are a very community conscious generation. We need to engage with Gen Y on THEIR terms
• Advertise Rotary with label pins, badges, shirts etc -> how do YOU sell Rotary? Be a walking advertisement for Rotary
• Make Rotary relevant. Need to approach a 60 year old differently to a 30 year old
• Don’t sell the rules of Rotary
• “What’s in it for me?” – people join Rotary for personal reasons and personal gains
• Need to make contact with potential ‘customers’
• Know your product – not the rules of Rotary, but what’s good about it
• Sell the benefits of Rotary
• Sell Rotary because we believe in it
• Rotary has the potential to fill a gap in someone’s life
• What is the best age to join Rotary? – The age you are RIGHT NOW!
• Prepare an ‘elevator speech’ -> something you can deliver in approx. 60seconds when someone asks what Rotary is and what we do
• Fireside chats for new members. Ensure they have a thorough understanding of Rotary before they join. Leads to an increase in retention
• Clubs need to marry the needs of new members with the benefits of Rotary
• Exit interviews – why are people leaving? Can be a catalyst for change
 
Session 3 – D.G. Tim Moore
“What works and doesn’t work in your club?”
Ideas that work
• Fortnightly meetings rather than weekly
• Targeted invitations to people identified as potential members
• Interesting meetings
• Productive / large projects with a local focus
• Good PR
• Focus groups to assess Rotary
• Great fellowship
• Follow up people who do make a connection
• FUN
• Selling ourselves / encourage enquiries
• ‘Rotary Career Person of the Month’ program in local media
• Program selection (Youth Programs – targeting parents of students selected for MUNA, RYPEN etc.)
• Meeting time that suits people
• Work with other local organisations to get people in the door
• ‘Friends of Rotary’:
 Database
 Inclusion in activities
 Corporate community day
• Building relationship / rapport with Shire / Council community engagement officer
• Good website including tools that track visitors – need to follow up visitors!
• Corporate membership programs
 
What doesn’t work
• A lack of young members that can teach us about the community
• Our product doesn’t appeal – poor packaging
• We don’t have an age group (Ie. Apex)
• Club rituals
• All talk and no action
• Poor planners / lack of timetabling. Demonstrates a lack of commitment
• Assumptions – we think we know, we don’t ask!
 
Session 4 – Phil Archer
“Leadership, effective clubs and membership”
• Importance of finding the ‘right’ members
• Membership chairs process should be moral and ethical
• Make pathways into the club
• Need for simplicity and common sense
• LISTEN!! People are being invited to ‘join the conversation’ so we need to listen them
• Focus on successes
• “WE ARE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE LIKE YOU!”
• Need to make people realise the benefits of giving their time and energy
• People want to learn and develop their leadership skills
• Do NOT focus on attendance. Engage members with meaningful projects and activities instead
• Be a “recommendable” club
• “Club visioning” – very powerful exercise and gives each member equal voice in club goals and plans. The process produces a set of shared ideas.
• Create and your promote your “club story”
• Retention – 45% of members leave Rotary within 3 years of joining.
• ‘1st Year Club’ New members assigned to ‘1st Year Club’. Club allocates them money ($500) for a local community project. The following year they become the ‘2nd Year Club’ and are allocated $2000 for an international project. They are able to increase their funds each with the help of grants etc. but it is a figure to get them started and a project to get them immediately engaged.
• Sort out any existing problems within your club ie. tension between members. Make the club appealing.
• Be appreciate and be genuine -> show members they are valued
• Be a leader when it is required -> let people know if something is wrong. Don’t be afraid to fix problems!
• Harness members’ strengths -> play you players in the right position!
• Connect with local youth -> take a team into the schools and let them know what is available from Rotary.
• Essay Competition. Year 10 students are invited to enter a competition by providing an answer to, ‘What needs to be done in the community?’. Could be essay, video, photography etc. Have entries judged by Youth Chair, Mayor, Police rep., business leader. Offer prizes. This will provide a real insight into the needs and values of your community -> project ideas.
• Set a goal for your club to reflect the local community by the end of the year, ie. race, age, gender etc.
• Be entrepreneurial and think outside the box
 
Session 5 – Breakout groups
 
Is your club ready for new members?
• Increase local paper / media coverage with a view to breaking down the barriers / change perception Leongatha
• Make meetings fun! Engage and welcome the members. More emphasis on social aspect of membership as well as community activity. Show the passion and look after people so the network grows in addition to Rotary – sub-committees Moe
• Mentors for new members. Mentors need to be the right person. Introduction / induction via follow up coffee after the 1st meeting and to get feedback from the member once they have become engaged Philip Island
• Clearly demonstrate how to give back through Rotary to the community
• Ensure new members are given a role to get and keep them engaged
• Major projects are important to demonstrate visibility – what your club does
• Get prospective members involved in some way – working bee, great guest speaker. Build the social aspect, the inclusion, build rapport
• Have a film night with supper as a fundraiser with 100 people – great opportunity to spread the word of what Rotary does Leongatha
• Distribute brochures at Australia Day and other community events Philip Island
• Monthly Farmers Market – 4 new members as a result. Banners used for visibility Berwick
• Clubs need a PR / Membership budget
• Volunteers could be allies / Friend of Rotary rather than have to join as a member
• Vital to make guests welcome!! Essential that the ‘greeter’ meets and introduces the visitor around so they feel comfortable
• Leverage off the projects your club does eg. MUNA, RYPEN etc. Involve and engage the parents. Utilise the students to consider Interact
• Need to ‘refresh’ New Member nights – make them relevant and exciting
• Seek feedback from people in your local community
• Consider the structure of your meetings – are they too formal and not appealing to prospective members? Same with language used during meetings.
• Need to implement a succession plan and procedure where records are shared with in-coming boards, chairs and committees
 
Club membership / readiness
• Need for a club vision statement with ideals shared by all members
• Does the club reflect the current members OR where the club wants to go?
• Assumptions are hampering growth – mentors need to mentor and be involved in the club – does not necessarily need to the proposer
• Membership plan / membership committee
• Greeters need to be the ‘welcoming people’ in your club, not just a rotating roster of all members
• Leverage off projects and programs
• Have projects that will engage current and prospective members
• District Committee will share what is working and what is not working – clubs will help each other.
 
Session 7 – David Anderson
“Zone Membership Strategy”
* Get your ASK in gear!*
 
• Consider alternate wording. People tire of hearing about “Membership” but if you refer to it as “Strengthening Rotary” they will listen.
• Priorities of the strategic plan are the vision for the future
 
** Notes in Italics taken directly from Membership Development Plan, Zones 7B 8**
Increase Membership Diversity
• Develop clubs that are more reflective of the local community
• Identify and act on opportunities to increase diversity
• Provide additional opportunities for non-Rotarians to participate in club activities and projects
• Investigate innovative membership types, club structures and operations
• Promote inter-club support within districts and / or regions
 
• Review classification system and identify potential target members that way -> “fill the gaps”
• When introducing diverse membership clubs need to try and introduce a group at a time. Creates a “fish out of water” feeling if you just have 1 woman, 1 younger person etc.
• Follow up Rotary Alumni ie.  participants from Youth Exchange, RYLA, RYPEN, MUNA and parents of the Alumni
• Diversity of membership = diversity of projects
• Club should reflect community demographics
 
Develop Skilled & Informed Rotarians
• Develop effective training at district and club level
• Assess and increase members’ knowledge of Rotary
• Encourage participation in events and programs that enhance Rotary awareness
• Enhance Rotary information sharing with clubs
• Encourage and support new members to learn more about Rotary
• Provide additional resources to clubs and districts to increase members’ knowledge
 
• Take time to process new member induction. This leads to more skilled and informed Rotarians from the time they join.
• One way to create better informed Rotarians -> Give a member a letter of the alphabet and ask them to find a topic in Rotary that starts with that letter, ie. ‘R’ could by RYLA. That member then shares information about that topic with other club members in a 3 minute presentation at the next meeting. Increases knowledge of member doing research AND then all members when the information is shared.
• Rotary Leadership Institute for training
• Scatter meetings
 
Support Innovative and Flexible Clubs
• Conduct regular club forums to review club health
• Adopt a three year management planning process
 
• Don’t get bogged down in tradition and doing what has always been done
• There are no ‘Rotary Police’
• Rotary is a ‘bottom-up-organisation’. Clubs have the power to make decisions and make changes as needed.
• Consider a change of venue, format of meeting, optional meal etc.
• Use of satellite clubs to appeal to members
• ‘e-clubs’ – way of reconnecting former members who can no longer commit to a traditional club.
• Engage in outward looking projects -> invite the public in to your club
• Corporate memberships
 
Create Strategic Partnerships
• Provide resources and support to clubs and districts to enable development of partnerships
• Develop strategic partnerships at national, district and club level
 
• Clubs can create local partnerships with banks etc.
• Get involved in events like ‘International Womens Day’, ‘Social Inclusion Week’ etc.
 
Enhance brand recognition, understanding and trust
• Identify Ambassadors to promote membership of Rotary
• Promote Rotary Week and Rotary achievements
• Rejuvenate websites, social media and public image assets
• Establish and publicise “Whole of Club” projects
• Support non-Rotarians to attend district conferences
• Implement a game-changing external PR campaign to engage and attract prospective members
 
• Rotary IS  a trusted brand
• Clubs need a social media presence that is updated regularly
• Open up Rotary by inviting non-members to get involved
 
GETTING STARTED!
• Spread the word!
• Set realistic and measurable goals
• Get organised – plan your approach to membership
• Get the right people on board to carry out the action plan
• Use resources available! www.rotaryaustralia.org.au
• Regularly review your approach to membership. Change action plan as needed.
• Recognise, reward and communicate your successes
• Reinvigorate and re-energise your club
• Conduct the club health check
 
Rewards of increased membership
• New energy and ideas
• Increased club effectiveness
• Enhanced ability to serve your local community
• Even greater impact!