Double your club in 60 minutes

Rotary club of Henderson
Members of the Rotary Club of Henderson, Texas, spend their Saturday building a wheelchair ramp.

By David Higgs, president, Rotary Club of Henderson, Texas, USA

When I was asked to serve as president of our local Rotary club, I knew I needed to focus on recruiting new members during my term. Our club was down to about 20 members and far too often we would have less than a dozen at our weekly meeting. So, I took some of the ideas I learned at Presidents Elect Training Seminars and molded an approach to enlisting new members. 

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The many benefits of meeting virtually

By Dominica Pradere, past president, Rotary Club of Montego Bay, Jamaica

Dominica Pradere
Dominica Pradere

When Jamaica’s borders closed in March 2020 from the COVID-19 pandemic, I was packed and ready for a trip to Trinidad and Tobago, where I planned to connect with other Rotary members, as I normally do when I travel. Naturally I was sad and disappointed at having to cancel my plans. Lockdowns and curfews, as well as government restrictions limiting the movements of citizens, further isolated many retirees like myself as we tried to “stay safe.”

My club began meeting online immediately. I became aware that many clubs around the world were doing likewise, and my life was transformed when I received a spreadsheet created by the Rotary Club of Mount Lawley, Western Australia, Australia, showing details of clubs that had started to meet virtually.

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From GSE to leadership, my journey into Rotary

GSE team to Switzerland
Vivek Khandelwal (left) and the 2009 Group Study Exchange team to Switzerland.

By Vivek Khandelwal

In 2008, I happened to see a newspaper ad promoting Group Study Exchange through Rotary. Intrigued, I applied for the program never suspecting the many ways this simple action would impact my life.

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Video spotlights preserve history, connect members

Two members discuss the video spotlights
Lancaster Noon Rotary Club President-elect Jamie Culver interviews Christine Collins for one of the member spotlights.

By Laura Tussing, Rotary Club of Lancaster, Ohio

What can you do when a global pandemic shuts down international and regional travel, the ability to visit your favorite restaurants, or even the ability to attend your regular Rotary club meeting?

Two members of our club came up with an ingenious answer that has engaged our members and captured the attention of new members. Matt Wideman, immediate past president, and Jamie Culver, president-elect, felt that profiling long-time members with a video interview would be the perfect solution to keep members connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Lessons in disability inclusion: Does he take sugar?

Editor’s Note: Jeremy Opperman is a member of Rotary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion taskforce and a regular contributor to this blog on issues related to disability inclusion.

By Jeremy Opperman, Rotary Club of Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa

I had just finished keying in my pin number on the card reader at the supermarket checkout counter recently when the cashier turned to my friend and asked, “how does he know which buttons to press.”

Being completely inured to this sort of thing, I watched with interest to see how my friend would react. It is peculiar that when encountering a person with a disability, many people very often address the person accompanying them rather than addressing us directly.

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How to bring in new members

By Tom Gump, immediate past governor of District 5950 and a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Edina / Morningside, Minnesota, USA

Rotary’s recently launched Membership Society for New Member Sponsors has created a high level of enthusiasm for bringing new members into our organization and forming new and innovative Rotary and Rotaract clubs. How do you attract new members into your club? Or form a core of people interested in launching a new Rotary club? As someone who has brought in more than 50 new members (Membership Society Gold Level), I want to share a few thoughts.

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Shifting the paradigm on disability inclusion

Jeremy Opperman

Editor’s Note: In September 2020, Rotary formed a task force charged with assessing the current status of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Rotary and shaping a comprehensive action plan to help us further value and live those principles throughout the organization. This is the fourth in a series of blog posts from DEI Task Force members reflecting on their work on the committee and why it is critical for the organization.

Jeremy Opperman joined the Rotary Club of Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2020. He was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a deteriorating eye condition which results in total blindness. He speaks, writes, and consults widely on topics including achieving disability confidence in organizations; making a business case for universal access; and taking a strategic approach to disability inclusion. Read his full bio.

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Rotary Youth Exchange alumni form new club

Fernando Nercelles films a program for District 4340's virtual conference.
Fernando Nercelles films a program for District 4340’s virtual conference.

By Fernando Pinto Nercelles, member of the Rotary Club of Pehuén de Las Condes, Chile; District Alumni Committee Chair; and District Peace Fellowships Subcommittee Chair.

The last couple of years have been especially challenging for Rotary members, particularly for those of us in leadership positions in our clubs or districts.

My district’s Alumni Committee that I have led for some years has approached involving our alumni from a traditional perspective: through one-on-one and case-by-case contact. Interesting but insufficient.

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Spouse membership is low hanging fruit

Club member and spouse
Carole Romp, left, and her partner, Dale Liebenthal, one of the club’s first spouse members. The Rotary Club of Sandusky’s spouse/partner plan has made it easy for spouses and partners to join.

By Maris Brenner, Rotary Club of Sandusky, Ohio, USA

As a career Sales/Marketing professional, it was always easier to “close the sale” when our potential client had familiarity with our product. And, in many cases, already liked it. In sales, we call this the “low hanging fruit.”

Most Rotary clubs already have potential members close by.

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Smile and celebrate the small wins in DEI

Todd Jenkins

Editor’s Note: In September 2020, Rotary formed a task force charged with assessing the current status of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Rotary and shaping a comprehensive action plan to help us further value and live those principles throughout the organization. This is the third in a series of blog posts from DEI Task Force members reflecting on their work on the committee and why it is critical for the organization.

Dr. “Bowtie” Todd Jenkins serves as a Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Leader at a Fortune 100 company in Corporate America and as an Executive Inclusion Trainer, Strategist, and Speaker with Bowtie Leadership, Inc. Todd is a member of the Rotary Club of Fayetteville, Arkansas; and has served as a Rotaract Advisor, Interact Sponsor, RYLA presenter, and Youth Services Chair. He is currently one of the youngest Youth Exchange District chairs in Rotary. Rotary. Read his full bio.

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