By Rob Tidd, District 5060 membership chair and member of the Rotary Club of Wenatchee Confluence, Wenatchee, Washington, USA
In January, we had 61 members in our club, an increase of about 40 percent from the beginning of the Rotary year in July, when we had 43. Our success has been based on two ingredients: encouraging friendships and promoting fun in Rotary.
But just as important to our growth has been a systematic and continuous follow up with potential new members. Too often a potential new member is approached once and then forgotten. Every club needs a champion or champions willing to take the extra time to stay in communication with every potential new member. I am often asked where I find all these potential new members. Our sources grow as we come up with new ideas. Below are some of the practical ways we have found members:
Follow up on RI membership leads:
Prior to my year as District 5060 membership chair, I discovered that some of the membership leads sent to us by RI were never contacted. I decided to work my way back in time through the leads, going as far back as several years, to see if any of these individuals were still interested in Rotary.
One gentleman in particular had never been contacted and was enthusiastic to be invited as my guest. Not only did he join, but he asked if his business partner could also be considered for membership. Of course my answer was “yes” and now both are members. These are people who took the time and made the effort to contact Rotary International.
Get referrals from other clubs:
I have found that sometimes a member of another club crosses paths with a co-worker who they think would be a good Rotarian, but because they are co-workers, or they have a boss-employee relationship, they don’t want to invite them to be a member of their club. If something were to happen at work, it could create awkward situations in the club.
Yet that person might be a great fit for another Rotary club. So I routinely go through the membership lists for the other clubs in my area and ask for referrals. I know this works because we have Kyle as a member of our club who was referred to us by a member of another club.
Find leads in your local newspaper:
I get excited every day to see who I might find as a potential member in my daily newspaper. Our newspaper includes information about the movers and shakers in our community, the recently retired, new home purchasers, and new businesses. The list is endless. I craft specific letters and follow up in 30 days. Often it is not even necessary to follow up because the recipient is touched by the letter and accepts the invitation for lunch at my club. I know this works because we have Jeff in our club because he responded to my letter.
Keep organized with a spreadsheet:
I created a spreadsheet with a list of potential new members, and set up a schedule to follow up with these people. My list includes recommendations from club members in my club, people who have given presentations at my club, former Rotarians who left other Rotary clubs in my area due to dissatisfaction or lack of engagement with their former Rotary club, and recipients of the letters I mentioned above. Systematic and continuous follow up is so important. This list helps me stay on track to make sure no one is forgotten.
I hope you find this information helpful. May you also be successful in your quest for new members.