Dear Fellow Rotarians,

I have enjoyed my official visits to clubs in the month of July.  All of the visits are different because each club is unique, but one topic is constantly brought up in each visit....
Each club is concerned about membership and retention.  August is membership and extension month.  As you all know, one of our District goals is membership.  Our membership committee has set the target for memberships in our District at a 3% increase by the District Conference (May 17-19, 2013).  We currently (June 1) have 1,795 members.  A 3% increase would be around 55 members in the entire district!  This computes to less than one new member per club.  I am very confident that we can attain the goal and hopefully exceed the goal.  

I have analyzed all the clubs member goals and planning documents for 2012-13 and an increase of 55 in the district is attainable.  Each club will tackle the membership project differently.  Some general guidelines may help clubs as they begin the membership recruitment/retention process.  

Consider the following: Does your club have a membership committee?  Does your club have a membership growth plan?  Is your membership diverse?  Have you looked at the classification system to identify new members?  Have you looked at options for younger members?  Such as: Waive or reduce fees for a period of time; Reduce club meals costs; Create activities convenient for young people; Consider alternative meeting arrangements; Seek out Rotary Alumni (YEX students, GSE members, RYLA attendees, Interact students, Rotaract). 

To strengthen Rotary we need new members.  Unless the new members are convinced of the benefits of the organization and can share that passion with others, expanding Rotary won’t be meaningful.  Be sure your orientations and mentoring of new members is well thought out and planned.  The District has planned to help each club with membership and PR, two seminars in October that will focus on Membership, Public Relations and Our Foundation.  The seminars will be on Saturday, October 6 at 8am – 2:00 PM at Columbia-Greene Community College, and on Saturday, October 27 at 8am – 2:00 PM at Mt. Saint Mary College.  I hope to see each club represented at these events.  Send a team or a car pool and enjoy the information and fellowship.  There is no charge for either seminar and lunch is included.  Your dues cover the cost of this kind of training.  Thank you for all you do for Rotary! 

District Governor, District 7210