By Fely R De Leon, past president Rotary Club of Hundred Islands, Pangasinan, Philippines
When I became president of my club, I shared a dream with some of the officers that the club could have a hundred members. But how? We had only 31 as of 1 July, 2016.
I faced challenges on two fronts. I had to make every meeting lively and enjoyable. And I had to make ours the club of choice for those who were looking for a worthy organization to join.
On the first front, I had to restructure our meetings from the usual drab, formal discussions to a fellowship where a member could really feel “at home.” Even new members could, in a relaxed manner, contribute to the free flow of ideas. Everyone was encouraged to present opinions on every issue. I gave responsibilities to every member, and even assigned project chairmanships to new ones. I tapped the expertise of the past presidents who gladly became advisers and confidantes.
Soon, the members started to feel the camaraderie and enjoyment of being a Rotarian. The last meeting of the month became our fellowship parties, hosted by the birthday celebrators for that particular month. Themes were selected and food and drinks were abundant. These fellowship parties became much-anticipated affairs, boosting morale for everyone.
As a result, it became easy for us to embark on big projects. We even partnered with the local government and other organizations on a lot of projects. Even Lions International became an ally.
I made sure that this change of strategy and the renewed vigor that followed were communicated to the public and even among clubs and Rotarians in District 3790 by way of social media and the local paper, as well as banners and streamers announcing our projects. I also made sure that public image was given much emphasis.
Attacking the second front had now become easier with the favourable image we had created from the first. It became a natural task of each Rotarian to attract other members. More than twenty of our members brought in friends who also became motivated members.
We may not have achieved our goal of a hundred members. But we ended up with 80, making our club the biggest in our district.
Throughout Membership and New Club Development month, we have featured blog posts that focus on club flexibility. From a hybrid club to dual membership, these posts feature clubs who have benefited greatly from restructuring or implementing new membership options.