By Richard Bosworth, a member of the Rotary Club of Harrogate Brigantes, North Yorkshire, England
At the beginning of 2013, I was serving as membership chair of my club when I realized that we needed to do something to slow the loss of membership. Three years later, we have a vibrant and growing multi-dimensional club – we use the term Multi-lifestyle Rotary Club – that is making full use of the digital age and is discovering smarter ways of operating to secure our long-term future. How did we do it, and what do we mean by a multi-lifestyle club?
What I mean is a club that appeals to and is comprised of members of more than one distinct group, who work “together, yet apart.” Currently, we operate two groups, a traditional evening group and a new business development group. The latter meets over breakfast and appeals to younger, enterprising, entrepreneurs and business executives.
Sun and planets model
Each group operates and manages itself to suit its members: the traditional group with a council and committees, the business development group with a small executive team, using smart technology and social media to connect. The two groups are bonded together by their common belief in and practice of the aims, objectives, and values of Rotary, along with a willingness to collaborate.
That is when the real magic happens. You’ll often find members at each other’s meetings.
Having investigated various models of governance, we are now considering a “sun and planets” approach. The “sun” at the center of the club is the board comprising an elected president, secretary, and treasurer, chosen by all the members of the club, plus the chair of each group. The groups themselves are the planets.
How it works
In this model the role of the board is to lead the club and provide strategic direction, strategic leadership, standards, and accountability. In keeping with Rotary International practices, two full club assemblies are planned for each year. The board is charged with creating the conditions for a growing, vibrant, diverse club where both groups operate within the requirements of RI and collaborate to the mutual benefit of all members, their families, and the local community.
What next? This year’s president is from the business development group and more groups are planned.
Do you like our model? What would you think of becoming a multi-lifestyle club?
Join Rotary International President John Germ and Vice-President Jennifer Jones for a Facebook Live chat on 11 August, 10:00 Chicago time, as they discuss club flexibility and what they are excited about this Rotary year.