By Nancy Leonhardt, 2018-19 membership chair for District 6150, Arkansas, USA
When it comes to membership growth, there are no magic potions. Our district was blessed to add more than 65 new members last year, one of only four districts in our zone to have any increase. But I can’t point to just one thing we did that achieved those results. Instead, planning, goal-setting, follow-thru, and hard work on the part of many committed individuals were instrumental in the success we achieved.
My committee and I emphasized the importance of membership growth and engagement at every district event last year. In addition, our membership committee undertook the following efforts:
- Chartering a new club for the first time in the last 10 years. The Rotary Club of Little Rock Afterhours meets at 5:30 p.m. on the first Mondays of each month, allowing members to attend meeting on their way home from work. Additionally, members meet a second time during the month for a social, service project, or committee meeting. Of the charter members, 31 are new Rotarians and 10 are former Rotarians, 55 percent are female, and 53 percent are under 40.
- Quickly and consistently acting on new Membership Leads. I reached out to each lead within hours of receipt. I followed up with clubs to check the status of the leads that were forwarded to them to keep that dialogue always going.
- Encouraging clubs to set membership goals in Rotary Club Central and regularly reminding members of the goal.
Six of our clubs worked particularly hard to increase their membership: Helena, Jacksonville, Jonesboro, Searcy, Sherwood, and Stuttgart. Jonesboro’s membership chair, Brian Rega, is the club president this year. He had a club competition (a horse race) to encourage growth.
Stuttgart’s membership chair, David Leech, an assistant governor, set a goal of 100 members by the end of the year and constantly reminded the club of that goal. Both Brian and David where members of my team. The other four clubs had presidents who “got” the membership message and encouraged the club on a regular basis.
So, in conclusion, the simplest message to clubs is this: Set a goal, share the goal, keep the club updated, offer encouragement along the way, and celebrate at the end.