By Doug Vincent, a past district governor and member of the Rotary Club of Woodstock-Oxford, Ontario, Canada
Recently, I attended a great presentation on “Embracing Opportunity” as part of our day-to-day life. I’ve had the benefit of enjoying opportunities through my global Rotary activities and travels, but many members do not do take advantage of this outside their local Rotary club. Here is a great way to attract new member prospects with fun and enjoyment.
The author and travel writer Paul Knowles spoke about how we can each enjoy life’s journey more when we are open to take advantage of opportunities that arise. He shared a variety of interesting experiences he had enjoyed by merely saying “yes” to invitations or suggestions while travelling. Once, when he was being taken to an island, he was invited to take the helm of a speed boat. At first he was hesitant and nervous. But then his mind accepted the opportunity and he “put the throttle down.” He noted, “I felt adrenaline that had not been there for years.”
Some ideas he shared included saying yes when a friend suggests a trip or activity; exploring different places or doing unique activities that may arise when you travel; meeting people from different cultures and learning from them; and volunteering for an event or group to make new friends and assist with a cause.
These days, he says, people are more interested in being a “Twitter Volunteer” which means they would commit to a short term activity or event, rather than going on a board or committee with longer range commitment. “They may give 144 minutes in spurts to help, but not an endless amount of time.”
What’s the take away for Rotary? Create a “friends of Rotary” group and have hands-on service projects they can join. We can likely attract more people with a shorter term commitment helping out with our projects than getting them to commit right away to all the demands of membership. As people get involved in one project, then another, they will experience the fun, fellowship, and satisfaction which motives them to remain. While members may sometimes leave Rotary, they will not leave their friendship group. This is the key to retention.
Wanting to help others is human nature. So we need to ensure that our club(s) have regular hands-on service opportunities so the Twitter volunteers can embrace them. Potential members will join our cause long before they will join a dinner club.