4 August 2014 — Focus on Membership Development (Fun!)


This is a special Monday for Rotary Clubs – Membership Month Monday!  As such, we’re kicking off the Rotary Theme with a special program prepared by our very own Membership Chair, Mel Powell.  Mel, who served on the Rotary Zones 25-26 Ignite Membership Team under Rotary International Director Ken Boyd, has compiled some great resources to help Ignite ideas for reaching out to people we know who might be interested in joining Rotary. 

Also, mark your calendars!  On August 17th, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, the Rotary E-Club of the GSFV will be holding its quarterly “One More Item” Food Drive at Gelson’s Market in Sherman Oaks.  If you signed up for a shift (or two), we’ll see you there; if you want to work a shift but haven’t signed up yet, or if you have a friend or family member or two who wants to come work your shift with you and have a lot of fun, please contact Brenda B. (bwbradford@aol.com) to be added to the list.

Have a great week!

Linda Catran
President, 2014-2015


MONDAY, AUGUST 11 — 6:15pm — Club Board of Directors Meeting, The Fireplace Room at Denny’s, all Club Members always welcome, too.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 17 — 10:00am to 4:00pm — ONE MORE ITEM FOOD DRIVE, Gelson’s Sherman Oaks, our sixth!

SUNDAY, AUGUST 24 — 12:30pm to 2:00pm — Our FOURTH SUNDAY meeting for August, with special guest speaker TBA and exciting team news! The Fireplace Room at Denny’s, 5525 Sepulveda Boulevard in Sherman Oaks.









Rotary International likes to assign a “theme” to each month…actually, ten of the twelve months.

August is considered to be “Membership Month,” which may not be all that great an idea. There’s a risk that we trick folks into forgetting all about membership-related issues as soon as August is over.

Optimally, the members of the Rotary E-Club of the Greater San Fernando Valley should be thinking about what great people we know who would make fantastic additions to our team at only two times during the year. Those “only two times” are “day” and “night.”

Well, August includes some days and some nights, so let’s use it as an excuse to put some specific focus on membership development for just a few minutes.

First, let’s talk about how a Rotary Club should handle its membership development, as a team. Although there were some glitches built into the system, most of those bumps related to turning it into a competition, a regional membership program called IGNITE has some great aspects. A Rotary Club whose members see the value and are willing to implement some of its key ideas will see positive results and a stronger team.






We’ll talk about what each of us can do in a few moments. First, for a Club, there are five simple “rules” for membership development.






One: Membership Development is FUN! That idea shocks veteran Rotarians, many of whom have endured years of fire-and-brimstone exhortations from external “leaders” to recruit new Rotarians or else, including the occasional threat to take you out back and smack you around. We don’t do that sort of thing in our Club. We do need to be diligent about finding and inviting all-stars to join our team, but we’ll never make it a chore. Membership development is fun.





Two: Our Rotary Club, as all should and most do, has a Membership Development Chairperson. Apparently that’s me, since they’re making me write this message. That Chair may have a couple of people working with the Chair as part of what Clubs called their Membership Committee, and that’s great—and a big mistake. Think of the Chair and those few helpers as the Membership Development Ideas Or Maybe Event Planning Committee, or the MDIOMEPC. (Or not.) But the responsibility to build a stronger Rotary Club, a stronger team, is everyone’s. So Simple Rule Number Two is, well simple: you’ve got a Chairperson and a couple of assistants or helpers or planners, but EVERYBODY is on the “Membership Committee.” This means you. Congratulations!









Three: Adding great people to the team is a very good habit. We get fresh energy, we get different perspectives, we get diverse skills and talents, we get great new ideas. But it is extremely rare for anyone to beat down the door to get into a Rotary Club. That’s why the third Simple Rule is about new member recruitment, and the rule in six words: Don’t just stand there…DO something! The IGNITE program has some great methods, steps that have worked in Clubs around the region and around the world, and some may work for us. We’ll get to them a bit later in this presentation.






Four: Too often, when working on “membership” issues, Rotary Clubs are excited to get new people in the door, and then put them in the corner and forget about them. Fortunately, that’s not us, hasn’t been us from the beginning, and will never be us. It is enough of an issue around the world of Rotary that it never hurts to give everyone a reminder. The fourth Simple Rule is to look after each other, get involved, be sure everyone else is involved, remember we’re a team.






Five: It’s a simple concept. No matter what you hear elsewhere, no matter what they tell you, no matter who tries to turn it into a chore, it’s not a chore…the fifth Simple Rule is: Membership Development is FUN!

Now let’s a take a quick look at what we, each of us, can do to follow Simple Rule Number Three and invite some great people to be part of our team. The more hands we have on the projects the more good we can do! No one cares about how many names appear on a Club’s roster—and if they care, they’re getting it all wrong. The world is filled with Rotary Clubs where ten percent of the members ever participate in a service project. Our hallmark is that all of us are in on everything, whenever possible.

In fact, that idea highlights another key to the process. Despite years of exhortations to Rotarians to invite anyone and everyone to be a guest at your Rotary Club…and inviting great people is very important…there’s a dangerous habit of separating that invitation process from the care and feeding of your Club itself.

You cannot attract new Rotarians to your Rotary Club. You must be an attractive Rotary Club—active, fun, inclusive—so new people will want to join your team. When we have a guest, especially on a Fourth Sunday, what will they experience?

We do need to look at outreach, though, and trust that we will continue to be the active, fun, exciting team we are. Here are three quick ideas for you to consider as you look around you, in your daily life, in business, other activities. Who do you know who can be a member of our all-star team?






1) Bring A Friend Day. It is always a good idea to invite a good potential teammate to our fourth Sunday meeting, and always a good idea to send a friend to our website to look, most importantly, at the PROJECTS page…followed by the Programs page. But perhaps we can create a separate event, for fun and information and maybe with an element of hands-on service (Meet at the Food Bank warehouse and help sort food? Meet up with Debbie Navarro of Reach Out And Read and help organize or sort books for distribution to the medical clinics? Random ideas…). But, with these friends with us, also have a prepared but informal presentation to tell them about all of our great projects, and the fun we have doing them.

By the way—you can bring friends to any service project, including the Food Drives. You wouldn’t pressure them to join the Club, or even necessarily ask them yet…just give them a chance to feel good about helping others, get to know us and have fun, hear a bit more about the other things we do.





2) Classifications. What’s that? A somewhat archaic—but still recognized—element of Rotary membership. Rotary Clubs are not like “Le Tip” groups or similar, where there can be only one representative of any given profession or vocation. Just the same, we recognize Classifications as we review our membership: we have insurance, and education, and automotive, just by way of examples. Diversity, of people and skills and talents, is a vital element of a wildly successful Rotary Club. This becomes a simple question: where are we unrepresented? That’s pretty darned easy, with our fifteen members: we have a lot of exciting spots we could fill, from medicine to science to engineering to banking to computers to a whole lot. Let’s challenge each other to take personal quiet time and consider who you know, whether you see them often or not, who would bring new skills and a new background to our team from a vocation we don’t already have covered?






3) Diary. It’s easy. We suggested this once before…this time, let’s accept the challenge! Let’s challenge each other to write down the name of EVERY person you happen to encounter in the next 48 hours. Accept all without pre-judgment; pare the list down later if there are folks, and there will be, who would not be good additions to the team. Not everyone qualifies, and we’re not interested in jamming names and numbers onto a roster. We are building an all-star team, and we’ve done a great job of meeting that goal so far. Focus on that goal, but there are more all-stars out there. Write down the name of every person you encounter, for the next 48 hours, starting right now. Then we’ll talk.

So what’s next?

As a Club, we continue behaving the way we’ve been behaving: very active, making a positive difference in the community, having fun together. We add just one element: remembering to share that fun with other great people we know, and offer them a chance to become part of our team. And, when they do, we’ll be more active, make an even greater difference, having even more fun together.

Accept those two challenges. Make more magic.

Sound like a plan? Of course it does. Let’s get busier!







The opinions expressed by guest speakers, or in advertisements that appear on external websites linked to this program, are those of the speaker(s)/websites/advertisers and not necessarily of the Rotary E-Club of The Greater San Fernando Valley or its members. No endorsement is implied. Programs are presented for informational purposes only.


5 responses to 4 August 2014 — Focus on Membership Development (Fun!)

  1. Great ideas! I’m jazzed! I began my 48-hour “diary” this morning and already have 11 names listed. Using my smart phone, I created a new “Note” on which started a list, which I’ll try to remember to update daily with the names of new people I see.

    Another consideration when inviting someone to attend a meeting is to offer to pick them up and go together, or at least arrange to meet them prior to the meeting and walk in together. Even the most sociable people tend to feel more comfortable in a new situation if they’re with someone they know.

  2. Great program with very doable suggestions. I especially like the idea of doing volunteer work with Valley Food Bank, Reach Out and Read. Good opportunities to be of service as well as showing first hand what Rotary is all about with less need need to advertise or going overboard to push Rotary. Thank you for your program.

  3. Wonderful suggestions! Rotary does so much good for the local as well as global community. I look forward to bringing diverse friends and colleagues to our meetings so they can experience first hand a wonderful group of individuals who work together to provide service and support to so many.

  4. Thanks, Mel. Those are good suggestions. Now it’s up to us to spread the word.

  5. Thanks for all the great ideas! I’m planning on asking someone later today to come sit in on one of meetings. I also like the idea of sorting food and other various hands on projects, so a potential member can see and enjoy some of what Rotary has to offer.

    A funny story, I was giving a long time customer a ride home the other day. I mentioned if he had ever heard or thought of joining Rotary? He said yes, but he didn’t have time to commit right now. The next question he asked, ” Do you know MEL POWELL?” REALLY!!!!!!!!!!!

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