By Michael Bucca, president of The Central Ocean Rotary Club of Toms River, New Jersey, USA.
Rotary clubs are always looking for ideas on how to increase membership and develop meaningful service projects. Sometimes, the answers lie outside our own club or organization.
Partnering with other local charities, or joining a service project already in progress, are excellent ways of furthering our mission of Service Above Self. Look around for organizations that share similar goals as Rotary. Invite someone from their group to come and speak to your club. In doing so, you develop an immediate contact that can be built into a deeper relationship.
The Central Ocean Rotary Club of Toms River, New Jersey, USA has been doing this long before I was a member. Directors and board members of about two-dozen organizations are on a first name basis with at least one of our members. About half of our club members either run a local non-profit organization or serve on a charity’s board. Some of this has evolved organically over time, but this year it has been a focus of our club.
The opportunities for service this has opened up are outstanding. We have plenty of activities to choose from for service. We also participate in about a dozen or more events, which continually puts Rotary front and center in the community at large.
How can you go about creating service connections in your community?
- Contact non-profits in your area about opportunities to serve them. Assign one of your members to create a relationship with a representative from their organization, and invite them to speak to your club.
- Ask your club members to participate as board members for other charities that they feel passionate about. This creates a link between the two organizations and makes the member feel engaged by acting as liaison for Rotary and the other non-profit.
- Co-sponsor a fundraiser or event with a local organization. By sharing the event, the public relations opportunities for Rotary become more far reaching, especially if the charity is widely known.
This is by no means an overnight process. But in time, you will find community leaders coming to your Rotary club looking to get something accomplished. Your Rotary club can become the hub of community activity, maximizing the potential to perform Service Above Self.
Michael Bucca is president of the Central Ocean Rotary Club of Toms River, New Jersey, USA, and co-chair of the District 7500 Public Image Committee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @MichaelBucca