Aug 102016

August is Membership Month. As a District we are struggling for members.

I had the pleasure of meeting Cliff Dochterman Past RI President when I went to

the International Assembly in California. He had some great advice for the

Incoming District Governors. He has written a book “As I Was Saying…,” it is

filled with generous humor, a cajoling wit, and a world of inspiration. In the book

Cliff does his utmost to motivate fellow Rotary Club members to achieve their best

and to serve the communities in which they live.

Potential club members are everywhere. But to get them to join Rotary, clubs must

use creativity and imagination, says Cliff Dochterman.

“Rotary International leaders keep emphasizing membership growth and extension

because Rotary’s very survival depends on it” says Dochterman, a member of the

Rotary Club of Moraga, California, USA. “If Rotary is to grow, we all must take


Dochterman believes clubs can thrive by seeking new members, retaining current

ones, and sponsoring new clubs in the community. He offers the following tips:

Seeking new members

Clubs must have a specific plan in place, says Dochterman.

  • Use a team approach. Teams should have several members who meet with

qualified business and professional leaders to discuss the benefits of joining


  • Set aside one club meeting per month to be a "visitor day," to which all club

members would invite a friend or prospective member.

  • Seek out natural prospects, including Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial

Scholars, Rotaractors, and Group Study Exchange (GSE) team members.

Retaining current members

“Keeping current club members is just as important as bringing in new ones. The

key is to adapt and change,” says Dochterman.

  • Make sure club meetings, service activities, and social events are interesting,

fun, and worthwhile.

  • Initiate more hands-on projects so club members will feel that they're

making a difference.

  • Eliminate 100 percent attendance requirements.
  • Be alert to the symptoms that lead to resignation. Club leaders should be

considerate to members’ personal problems.

Sponsoring a new club

“Don’t think about cloning your existing club. The new century of Rotary requires

and permits a new vision of fellowship and service,” says Dochterman. “It’s time to

think about sponsoring a new kind of Rotary club.” For example:

  •  A club composed entirely of executives and professionals under the age of

40. The nucleus could be former Rotaractors, GSE team members, and

Foundation program alumni.

  •  A club in an ethnic or minority section of the community, with members

who share common economic and cultural interests.

  •  A club that meets in a shopping mall, airport, high-rise office building, golf

course, or other nontraditional but convenient location.

I hope this article helps you to go out and grow your clubs.

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