Home' Rotary Down Under : August 2015 (International) Contents A BURNING QUESTION
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Prospective members are more likely
to be attracted to a club, and new
members are more likely to assimilate
into the culture of a club, if they
can participate in a diverse range of
activities beyond weekly meetings.
These days, we seem to place far
too much emphasis on the weekly
meeting. Our clubs shouldn’t be
measured solely by our meetings, but
by the way we go about serving our
community. If our clubs are active and
our members regularly participate in
service projects, fundraising initiatives,
youth programs and social activities, a
new or prospective member will get to
see members and Rotary in a different
light to that which is visible through
So, is your club centred around
meetings or action? Of course,
punchy, informative and friendly
meetings in a pleasant venue are an
important ingredient, but Rotary is not
a “meeting” organisation, it’s a service
Why are we always in so much of a
hurry to get a guest to a meeting?
Imagine how much more effective
our first impression would be if guests
were to experience us doing the work
we do. It’s also a much more effective
way to build friendships.
District 9520 Membership Chair
Rotary Club of Edwardstown, S.A.
Performance management is key
In my view, part of any solution to the membership gap lies in our supposed
area of expertise as business and professional leaders: Performance
management. If our performance fails, our customers leave us behind. Even
market leaders like Nokia have made that mistake and had to pay the price!
Human behaviour has not changed a lot; not in the passions that drive us,
nor the indolence that sees opportunity lost.
The gap can be closed by ensuring we provide knowledge and opportunity
to all members, irrespective of their length of service and by empowering
them to craft the club to meet what they see are the needs of the local
and wider community. To do this, the club (you) must first recognise and
acknowledge the gap and that the gap is a problem. Then the club (you)
must take action to close the gap.
The gap exists, in part, because neither side knows of the range of
talents and experience of those on the other side and therefore cannot
appreciate them. It remains, in part, because traditions are revered rather
than acknowledged. Therefore, instead of creating new traditions to make
the club stronger and more cohesive, it becomes a rock that may wreck the
club. By acknowledging and addressing these facts, the gap can be bridged
Rotary Club of Collie, WA
I must respond to the “Burning Question” from my friend and colleague
Ian Lomas – a great question and similar to one I ask myself, “How does
Rotary maintain inherent and intrinsic values, but move forward alongside
a rapidly changing world?”
I would also say Ian’s question is an opportunity for us to engage in a
”fierce conversation”, a conversation in which we come out from behind
ourselves into the conversation and make it real, and discuss this issue
soundly, pragmatically and passionately. I hope many Rotarians will join this
conversation, because it will lead to more questions and more answers.
Ian, we need to look back to the 50s and 60s when Rotary International
was growing prolifically; it was lifestyle and the current global situation.
After two world conflicts and depression, governments were struggling,
people wanted to help and Rotary gave them a vehicle through which
they could take ownership of their communities and serve them.
So, Ian, let’s get back to basics, give new and current members a
common cause of a project that our communities want and put them
all to work. They will be a team, enjoy the work, be engaged and gain
satisfaction for themselves.
Assistant Rotary Coordinator – Zone 8
Rotary Club of Padstow, NSW
Give them a common cause
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