By Gina McBryan, a member of the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
We all have our stories of how we were introduced to Rotary, and for the most part, those stories are positive. I could have been a Rotary member much sooner, had someone approached me.
I’m sure every club encourages their members to bring along guests and sponsor new members. For the past five years I have been a Rotary member, I’ve heard the same words of encouragement from my club leaders. And worldwide, our membership totals have remained stable. This makes me think of that line about the definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting different results.”
This made me think of my own experience, why didn’t I find out about Rotary before 2011? How come no one invited me to visit a Rotary meeting? It wasn’t that I lived in a remote part of the world where there wasn’t any clubs. In fact, there were four clubs in my local community. Maybe I even worked alongside Rotarians and didn’t know it. The fact is, I didn’t know anything about Rotary until I moved to the Cayman Islands and was introduced to a local club by my cousin, who is a member.
Now presenting: Rotary
So what would have introduced me to Rotary 10 years sooner? This idea hit me. If a Rotarian from a local club had come into my workplace and held an information session about what Rotary is, how Rotary serves the community, and how I could become a member, that would have been a great start.
What would have appealed to me even more would have been a presentation that included information about not just one club, but several in the area. I would have had choices to think about based on meeting time, types of projects, and the demographics of each club.
So how do you do it?
- Find somebody in your district or local group of clubs who is good at speaking and create a presentation that highlights how your members have fun while serving their community. Explain the projects you are known for and how your members are being enriched through them.
- Break the stereotypes associated with Rotary and show how dynamic and multi-dimensional we can be. We are uniting people of all ages and backgrounds to come together and put “Service Above Self.”
- Make it a joint effort between Rotary and Rotaract clubs in your area because you never know who your audience is going to be. You don’t want to lose a potential member because a particular club meets on Tuesday evening but Wednesday mornings would better suit their lifestyle.
- Bring some brochures (you can download many from the Brand Center) and include a short video. Include details about all the clubs, including websites and social media pages.
- Bring treats, and cards inviting your audience to be a guest at an upcoming club meeting. You will be increasing your chances of attracting new members and building awareness of Rotary at the same time.
I really wish I had been introduced to Rotary earlier. I think I could have been a great Rotaractor, before moving on to Rotary. And now you can be both, at the same time. Don’t let what happened to me happen to the young professionals near you. Go to their workplaces. Tell them how fun and exciting Rotary is, and how much it will enhance their life.