Posted by Doug Logan on Aug 01, 2019
It’s membership month! 
What a great time to step back and think about your club and your approach to growing your membership, and exploring any declines you may have experienced.  Perhaps nothing vexes the Rotary world today more than our loss of members. Declining membership is actually a symptom of other problems and unless we address these, we won’t see a change. People are leaving (or not joining in the first place) because what we have to offer doesn’t appeal to them. They simply don’t want to buy what we’re trying to sell. We’re not irresistible! To understand why this is, we must take a hard look at who we are, what we do, how we do it and fix what isn’t working before we expend energy bringing in new members.
With that in mind, let’s do a little thinking exercise...
Most people’s first ‘look’ at Rotary is a club meeting. Imagine you’re not a Rotarian but have been invited to attend a meeting. Even if it’s hard to do, use your own club as an example and imagine yourself as an outsider having your first Rotary experience. Now, walk yourself through the meeting through the eyes of someone new. Here are some questions to help you do so:
Was I welcomed professionally and introduced to club members?
  • Or was I ignored?
Was I offered a place to sit?
  • Or did I have to find my own place?
Did the meeting start and end on time?
  • Or did it start late and drag on?
Was the meeting well run, moving quickly from one agenda item to the next?
  • Or did there seem to be no agenda at all?
Was there a guest speaker?
  • Or did it seem that the meeting had little or no purpose?
If there was a speaker, was he/she effective, relevant and informative?
  • Or did the speaker speak poorly and run on and on?
Did someone sit with me and explain the agenda, Rotary terms, etc.
  • Or was I left to try and figure out for myself what was happening?
Did the club’s traditions seem up to date and relevant?
  • Or did their practices belong to a previous decade?
Did I enjoy the humour displayed?
  • Or were their jokes inappropriate and offensive?
Did I get a sense that the club was engaged in important projects?
  • Or did they seem to have no purpose other than just having a meeting?
Did anyone ask me what my own interests and passions were?
  • Or did they ignore me?
When the meeting was finished, did I get thanked for attending?
  • Or did they leave me to depart un-recognized?
Did I feel that it was a worthwhile use of my time? 
  • Or did I feel I’d just wasted an hour or two?
Are you interested in attending another meeting?
  • Or have I vowed never to have anything to do with Rotary again?
What do your answers tell you about your club? Why not do a similar exercise with other aspects of your club: projects, fundraising, planning, governance and more?