Posted by Wes Bradford on Oct 17, 2017

Kathleen Terry, District SAG for Membership, is Past President of Manhattan Beach Rotary Club 2013-14. She is a founder of Participative Management Systems and has presented many programs on business teambuilding, customer relations, and working with today’s diverse high-speed workplaces, and has also facilitated community leadership programs.

Even small Clubs can be strong. Looking at our Club: small-medium-size (growing or shrinking), fun, exciting, dynamic, serving the community, and gender and race mix (think of the future). Look for sustainable growth over time. The challenges are recruitment, retention, and attracting younger members to maintain a good age distribution. Find them and bring them in, but don’t just follow old habits (“But we’ve always done it this way!”).

Retention begins before induction — why did you join Rotary? (Friendship, helping community, networking, etc.) What Creates the First Impression? 3 steps: Asking, Website, & First Meeting. (You only have one chance to make a first impression.) Who invited you to join Rotary? Each one reach one (customers, associates, friends, etc.). Think of someone you could invite.

Attracting younger members — 90% of Rotarians are over 40 years old. Younger members may be concerned about inconvenience of meetings, time, cost, “hanging” with friends, different ways of communication (social media). Compare this to cost of gym membership and pop music concerts. Rotary District & International dues are actually $135/year. Is our cost structure prohibitive? Younger members look for fellowship, service, fun meetings, family-friendly, flexible schedules, low cost. Do service projects involve family members? Are “traditions” a turnoff? Are younger members offered leadership positions?

Our website has been updated. Our Facebook page needs more photos. What do people experience in their first meeting? (How do we treat our guests?) In 2016, RI suggested more flexibility, relaxed attendance & meeting types, and inviting Rotaractors to be members. Retention: ~50% leave within 3 years of membership. They stay for friendship and serving the community. How to keep them: everyone knows your name and is glad you came. Identify, inform, and engage. Be willing to change and adapt, with commitment of the entire Club. (We need to get our photos and biographies on our website, and get an up-to-date group photo.