Ro­tary Dis­trict Gover­nor vis­its Moose Jaw; en­cour­ages mem­bers to in­crease mem­ber­ship by be­com­ing more flex­i­ble

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The Ro­tary club of Moose Jaw Wakamow, the Moose Jaw Ro­tary Club, and the Assini­boia Ro­tary Club wel­comed Dis­trict Gover­nor Elaine Thomp­son, Dis­trict 5550 to Moose Jaw on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 1 at the Her­itage Inn.

Thomp­son spoke on the theme, “Be the In­spi­ra­tion,” which is the Ro­tary In­ter­na­tional theme for 2018-19. In her pre­sen­ta­tion to Ro­tar­i­ans, Thomp­son ex­plored ways in which Ro­tary mem­bers can in­spire prospec­tive new mem­bers to not only join the club but re­main there for a long while.

She em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of each club hav­ing its own cul­ture lo­cally that will at­tract and re­tain mem­bers.

“It is im­por­tant to think about your club’s cul­ture to at­tract and re­tain mem­bers. You have to use in­for­ma­tion you’ve gath­ered about your club’s cul­ture in your an­nounce­ments, post­ings and when you speak to peo­ple — whether it’s fam­ily or friends. It is im­por­tant to let them know what Ro­tary is, what it does, and what it stands for in your club,” she said.

Thomp­son says one of the ways in which clubs can seek to re­tain mem­bers is by be­com­ing more flex­i­ble in their com­mu­ni­ties. She noted that for 15 years, the Ro­tary has main­tained a 1.2 mil­lion mem­ber­ship. How­ever, she says that, de­spite the es­tab­lish­ment of new clubs and new mem­ber­ships, the fig­ure re­mains the same. “The rea­son we have to make peo­ple aware of our cul­ture and be­come flex­i­ble is be­cause Ro­tary mem­ber­ship has re­mained around 1.2 mil­lion peo­ple for over 15 years. Even though at the same time, there has been a 15 per cent in­crease in the num­ber of Ro­tary clubs and there has been 2.2 mil­lion new mem­bers in­ducted into those Ro­tary clubs. Peo­ple, how­ever, are not stay­ing. So, the is­sue is re­ten­tion.

“Peo­ple are keen to join Ro­tary, but they don’t stay be­cause their club does not meet their ex­pec­ta­tions. One thing we can do to change this is to adapt to what that new mem­ber or mem­bers would like. That flex­i­bil­ity was in­cluded into club meet­ings and club mem­ber­ship by the 2016 Coun­cil Leg­is­la­tion which makes this easy to do,” she added. “If and when a club de­cides to go that way, it’s easy to do; there are no Ro­tary po­lice and there’s lots of flex­i­bil­ity.”

She went on to ex­plain that clubs can also mar­ket their club’s cul­ture to prospec­tive new mem­bers who share sim­i­lar in­ter­ests, for ex­am­ple, putting ‘ser­vice above self.’

“An­other idea is that new mem­bers should also adapt to what the ex­ist­ing club stands for and does. That may work for some new mem­bers for a while, but they might not hang in there for very long. One of the things clubs can do is to work on re­ten­tion be­fore a mem­ber joins the club.”

Thomp­son con­tin­ued, “Ro­tar­i­ans around the world have sev­eral com­mon val­ues—there’s the 4-way test; the model of ser­vice above self; do­ing projects in six ar­eas of fo­cus but ev­ery club has its own cul­ture. The club should ex­am­ine their char­ac­ter­is­tics and see what makes their club spe­cial; what makes it ex­cep­tional, dif­fer­ent and fo­cus on the ser­vices that the club pro­vides lo­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, and then find peo­ple who share those same val­ues and in­ter­ests,” she said. “Once a club has de­ter­mined what that cul­ture is, ev­ery club mem­ber and the club’s pub­lic re­la­tions com­mit­tee should share that in­for­ma­tion with the pub­lic through: no­tices of ac­tiv­i­ties, lo­cal me­dia and more. This aims to help new mem­bers adapt to your club or that the club would change to meet new mem­bers’ needs.” Fol­low­ing Thomp­son’s pre­sen­ta­tion, Moose Jaw Wakamow Ro­tary in­ducted a new mem­ber as well as in­ducted hon­orary mem­bers.

Dis­trict Gover­nor Elaine Thomp­son speaks to Ro­tar­i­ans.

Moose Jaw Wakamow and Dis­trict Gover­nor Elaine Thomp­son (far left) in­ducts hon­orary mem­bers (left to right) Brenda Walper-Bossence, Gord Ste­wart, Roger Tessier, and Ed Nel­son.

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