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to join the Rotary Club of St Johns during their
Stonefields Community Fair in October.
They are well-connected to and spend a
lot of time with their peer group, but what
they want is networking with, while working
alongside of, people with greater business
experience and wisdom. Along with this is the
fact that an established club has found its place
in the community and has an organisational
knowledge of the needs of the community and
what works best to address these needs, with
the networks to match.
Of course, all this is of little use if the Rotary
club culture was not welcoming or willing to
adapt to the needs of its members, but their
club adapts to evolving needs. They were
welcomed as full Rotarians, equal in every
respect, from the day they were inducted.
Opportunities to participate to the level they
are comfortable with have been encouraged
from the outset, and when they put their hands
up to take on roles leading aspects of existing
projects, or make suggestions for new projects,
they are listened to and fully supported.
The club culture is one of friendship and
cooperation, respectful of the fact they lead
busy lives, encouraging them to participate in
the club’s activities as they can. For example,
this means there is no pressure to attend
meetings every week, although they soon found
they liked the meetings so much they attend if
they can, as they are relaxed, fun events with
inspiring speakers that constitute good value
for their time spent. Their fellow Rotarians
circulate and are easy to chat with, regardless
of the topic of conversation. All new members
are assigned a mentor/buddy and the club fully
sponsors any member to Rotary Leadership
Institute (RLI) discussion-based training to help
them make the most of their membership.
Within two months of joining Rotary, three of
these new members completed their first RLI
day. They commented that they learnt so much
of value as Rotarians and as individuals that the
seminar further reinforced their decision to join
Rotary. They are looking forward to graduating
from RLI in March.
Their experience in Rotary has been so
beneficial they have already proactively recruited
their friends and colleagues to join their club.
What can you do differently to attract young
professionals to your Rotary club?
ENGAGING YOUNG PEOPLE
Rotary e-Club of NextGen Australia
I am a member of the Rotary e-Club of
NextGen Australia, and I believe e-clubs
offer an exciting avenue for Rotary
to attain and sustain new and
As with any Rotary club, there’s no “one
size fits all”. But as an example, the model
our e-club offers is designed around flexibility and youth.
Our project philosophy recognises that people joining
Rotary already have ideas of the projects they would like
to undertake and allows them to bring their individual
projects in and make them a part of our club. Our current
projects represent the diversity of our membership and we
run successful campervan/motorhome tours with support
for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and literacy in remote
communities, Days for Girls, knitting projects and KIVA,
An e-club’s real advantage is its flexibility. For Rotarians of
all ages, busy careers are often cited as the reason for not
being able to fully commit to meetings. Our current software
has an app available for download on mobile phones, which
means that whenever and wherever you are you can sign on
for meetings. It also means clubs can establish relationships
with outside stakeholders in an easy-to-use format; e-clubs
can invite anyone along to their meetings for free!
Online meetings also allow for Rotarians to foster
relationships with the young people that cycle through
their youth programs as they grow and develop into future
Rotarians. It’s so easy to invite them along to meetings every
so often, and even if they move away for university or to
launch a career, the traditional geographic impediment is no
longer an issue. It also allows for their friends and family to
join in on meetings and is a great way of widening the scope
of influence a club has on reaching and engaging people
in Rotary. Our club also offers a NewGen membership, a
discounted membership for people currently studying, as a
way of allowing students to join.
Are Rotary e-clubs the best solution to the eternal question
of membership? Certainly not as a stand-alone solution.
But the concepts and ideals behind them – flexibility,
incorporating non-traditional projects and forging and
sustaining relationships with people who otherwise wouldn’t
engage in Rotary – are what will make the difference in
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