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