16 ideas for breathing life into your club

Participants in the summit draw their ideas on paper.

Participants in the summit draw their ideas on paper.

By Anabella Q. Bonfa, District 5320 membership chair

How do you breathe new life into your Rotary club? We held a young professional summit recently in southern California, USA, attended by 52 members of Rotary and Rotaract — some new and some with many years of experience — who came together for half a day to share their thoughts. Everyone had fun, and many creative ideas surfaced. Here are just a few:

Plan events that are family-friendly to engage members with young children. Continue reading

What does a Rotary club designed by younger members look like?

Members of the Rotary Club of Metro Savannah

The leadership team of the Rotary Club of Metro Savannah with the author (seventh from left in white shirt).

By Gordon Matthews, past governor of District 6920 (Georgia, USA), Rotary Club of Savannah East

A panel of three young members spelled out for us the issues that block young people from joining Rotary during our spring assembly a few years ago — scheduling, cost of dues, and rules.

I’ve been active in developing leaders in our community and have worked with our Group Study Exchange teams in the past, so I know the energy and potential in this “under 40” generation that we need to tap for Rotary. But I’ve also seen several Rotary clubs try to do this with limited results, because they stayed too close to the traditional model and dues structure. Continue reading

The key to a successful multi-generational Rotary club

Emmanuel Rey

Emmanuel Rey addresses his multi-generational club.

By Emmanuel Rey, a member of the Rotary Club of Villa Devoto, Argentina

In 20 years as a member of the Rotary family, I have learned much. I began my Rotary journey as a member of Interact when I was 12, and six years later moved on to Rotaract. After passing the maximum age of 30 for that program, I proudly became a member of my Rotary club two years ago.

At first, I dreamed of building a big and youthful Rotary club, especially as I observed how hard it was for my fellow Interactors and Rotaractors to bridge the generation gap and become members of Rotary. Continue reading

3 ways to make Rotary personal

Michael Bucca (right) celebrates his wife becoming a Rotary member.

Michael Bucca (right) celebrates his wife becoming a Rotary member.

By Michael Bucca, Membership Chair, Central Ocean Rotary Club of Toms River, New Jersey, USA

Most Rotary clubs would be elated to have the chance to add new members on a regular basis. Many around the world have used traditional recruitment methods such as membership drives, advertising in newspapers, and inviting guest speakers to join. While clubs have success with these methods, there is one key component that helps convert more prospective members into actual members. Continue reading

Surefire ways to welcome new members

New Member Welcome KitBy Wally Bobkiewicz, a member of the Rotary Club of Evanston, Illinois, USA

This year, our club has been working to enhance how we welcome and orient new members.

Through this effort, we learned of a resource available on shop.rotary.org — a New Member Welcome Kit containing just a few items, all of which are updated to reflect Rotary’s visual identity. This kit is intended to be supplemented with club-specific materials that highlight our membership and our impact in the community. Continue reading

Rotary Day of Dialogue – Initiating Change

The unique design of the Wosk Centre encourages dialogue and interaction.

The unique design of the Wosk Centre encourages dialogue and interaction.

By Chris Offer

I have had the opportunity to help design an imaginative Rotary event. The Rotary Day of Dialogue in Vancouver, British Columbia, on 21 November, will give voice to Rotary members’ ideas on how to transform Rotary.

John Anderson, governor of District 5040 (British Columbia) conceived the idea as an opportunity for Continue reading

Summit in California unites young professionals

Participants in the young professional summit held in Berkeley, California, USA.

Participants in the young professional summit held in Berkeley, California, USA.

By Katie Coard

This summer in Berkeley, California, I joined a group of Rotary young professionals and district leaders from the western United States and Canada at a summit to discuss the future of Rotary. Reflecting one of Rotary’s strengths, this event brought together many diverse perspectives to focus on what younger Rotarians are looking for in Rotary.

I’ve been a part of the Rotary family since joining Rotaract in 2010, and it has changed my life in many ways. I am a founder and co-president of a provisional Rotary club in my hometown of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Rotary taught me how to lead, engage, and manage groups of people, projects, and events. These are skills I use in my daily work. Continue reading

What keeps me in Rotary: capturing good through the lens of my camera

Hannington Sebuliba works on an issue of his club’s bulletin.

Hannington Sebuliba works on an issue of his club’s bulletin.

By Hannington Sebuliba, Rotary Club of Kajjansi, Uganda

I joined Rotary in 2010 after spending five years covering Rotary events for our local newspaper. I used to see the way Rotary members were serving the disadvantaged in our community, and it left a mark on my heart.

One day, Rotarian Charles Baganja asked me to give a talk at the Rotary Club of Kajjansi, Uganda, on newspaper production, and I accepted the invite. After the talk, members of the club asked me to Continue reading

Friendship and networking: That’s why I stay in Rotary

Chris Offer, middle, during a recent service project for Rotary.

Chris Offer, middle, in Kassala, Sudan, representing Rotary on a World Health Organization polio surveillance project. 

By Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, British Columbia, Canada

One of the difficult decisions I made recently was to change Rotary clubs. I had moved from the city of Vancouver to the suburb of Ladner. I had continued commuting for a few years, 45 minutes each way, to my Rotary meeting. When I finally decided to join a club only 10 minutes from my home, I left friends of many years behind and was introduced to new friends. The network of friends in my old club and the new friends in my current club are why I stay in Rotary.

My network of Rotary friends goes far beyond my Rotary club. I have made Rotary friends from many countries. Rotary has taken me to every corner of the world. Rotary conventions and opportunities for volunteer service have extended my network of friends from Sudan to Russia to India to Australia. Social media keeps me connected to this extended network of Rotary friends. Continue reading

The elephant in Rotary’s living room

Rotarian Bill Grazio and District 7750 Past District Governor Bruce Baker provide students with practical information about preparing for the working world during a recent Junior Achievement program.

Rotarian Bib Grazio and District 7750 Past District Governor Bruce Baker give students practical information about the working world during a recent Junior Achievement program. Some clubs count participation in a service project toward attendance.

By Terry R. Weaver, governor of District 7750 (South Carolina, USA)

In my travels as a newly fielded district governor, I’ve run into a misperception that several clubs have told me is getting in the way of membership growth.

The elephant in the living room? ATTENDANCE.

Let’s step back. Several years ago, Rotary’s Council on Legislation declared that almost ANY legitimate Rotary activity qualifies as a make-up. This includes not Continue reading