Oh no! Not again. I can almost hear you say. Not another article on membership. Haven’t we read / heard it all before? But let me ask you a question on the biggest issue facing Rotary in the next decade. I’ve heard the same question over 30 years since I joined Rotary and the answer has been Membership. Membership is not just about numbers; this growth is the momentum of our organisation. It increases our human resources, develops leaders and when we attract and retain members it’s a great testimonial to the value of Rotary membership.
So why does this issue come up again and again? Maybe because we haven’t done as much as we should have or should be doing. August is Membership and New Club Development Month, a time to do a little more to keep the Rotary wheel turning. I ask you to think of someone you know who is a Rotarian in deed and action, and tell that person about Rotary. The secret of Membership Growth lies in one word — Ask. Don’t be disheartened by a ‘No’. Don’t wait for someone else to do the asking. Begin now and with yourself. There is an old saying “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is Now.” It applies perfectly to Membership. Today is the best time to introduce a friend to Rotary.
Retention is of prime importance; and the best time to ensure it is when a potential member is identified. The best way to retain is by engaging and involving members by focusing on their talent, not just their time. Instead of asking members to give their time, ask them to lend their talent to your Rotary club. Make it a personalised approach. We talk a lot about quality or quantity. To my mind quality means — quality induction, quality fellowship, quality assimilation, taking quality care of the family which will result in assimilation and retention. We need a quantity of quality in our clubs. And of course there is a lot of potential, many unserved areas in our zones where new clubs are needed.
Membership is the future of Rotary and that is in your hands. Let us begin the change. Change the trend, bring a friend, retain that friend. Enjoy Rotary, Enjoy yourself.
Dr Bharat Pandya
RI Director, Zones 4 and 7