By Dinesh Gajeelee, Rotary Club of Haute Rive, Mauritius
One of the ongoing challenges in Rotary is maintaining a healthy level of membership. My club of Haute Rive is no exception. We started the club in 2014 with 20 members, and despite the fact that we have gained new members since then, we’ve also lost a few. So much so that membership fell to just 18 as of 1 July 2017. Fortunately, our leadership team was proactive and began forming a plan to address the situation.
- As club president, some of the responsibility fell upon me to understand the situation. It was clear we couldn’t approach recruitment the same way we had been from the beginning, asking members to suggest their friends and business partners. We needed a more defined and deliberate strategy. I began looking into many different options, and we decided to pursue a couple of different strategies.
- We opened our meetings to guests from the community by deliberately organizing talks on topics that would interest non-members, like the environment, our laws and constitution, and current events. These gave people a no-risk opportunity to attend a Rotary meeting while giving us an occasion to share with them what we do. This proved to be successful beyond our expectations, and at the same time, enhanced the image of Rotary in our community.
- After much research, we also decided to pursue a satellite club. This required considerable planning and explanation, because there were many Rotarians in our district who did not know what these are — a group of members connected to the main club who meet at a separate time and location. But after much discussion and an extensive amount of info sharing, we had an enthusiastic group of people, and we formed a core team with the help of a Rotaract club we sponsor. As of June, we had organized the first satellite club in our district.
With these strategies, and the hard work and determination of our members, we ended the year with a 100 percent increase in membership, and five more prospective members visiting our club.
A club’s health is, of course, not just a question of numbers. But having more members does help create enthusiasm and increase participation in projects and events.
In this journey, we developed quite a few tools that helped us implement our plan, including some slideshow presentations, answers to frequently asked question, and more that we would be happy to share with any interested clubs by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are willing to address your situation, and put in the time and research, it is possible to achieve a 100 percent membership increase.
Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of posts celebrating Membership Month. Satellite clubs allow some of the members of a club to meet at a different time and location, while officially remaining members of the main club. If membership in the satellite grows sufficiently, it can break off and charter as a new club. Learn more about satellite clubs and find more membership resources.