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          District 5790 Three-Year Membership Plan    


A. The Club Membership Committee

B.  Member Responsibility in Recruitment Efforts

C.  Benefits of increasing membership

D.  Recruiting across Classifications

E.  Identifying Qualified Prospective Members

F.  Inviting More Women and Younger Professionals

G.  Suggestions for Approaching Prospective Members

H.  Starting the Conversation…Three Scenarios

I.  Overview of this proposed plan

J.  The 5-Minute Membership Survey

K.  Membership Growth and Recruiting Thoughts

L.   Prospect and New Member Development Tools

M.  Use of Charts to Grow & Retain Member
N.  The Use of Publicity to Grow Clubs

O.  Starting New Clubs

P.  Wrapping It Up

Q.  Sample Letters for “Fast-Track” implementation  

            1.  How Much Does it Cost to be a Rotarian

            2.  Inviting a potential club member to visit your club

            3.  Inviting a potential member to join your club

            4.  Team Leader Instructions (for Membership Committee)

            5.  Sample Actual Club Initiative Plan

            6.  Why Join Rotary Brochure (not R.I.)

            7.  The Buddy System (please read and implement)

            8.  Orientation checklist and 5 page “History of Rotary” for new members


Three-Year (2014-2017) District 5790 Membership Plan


Disclaimer:  Those in business may be familiar with a performance study made some time ago.  The conclusion of the study was that practically any business, even with a bad business plan, performed better than good businesses with no plan.   When you think about it, even on the football sandlot the pickup team rarely wins against the team who has plays and a game plan. 


This plan has been developed by your District Membership Chair for clubs in need of a membership plan.  Fully realizing no one plan meets all needs and there may be some information that may not have consensus, please do not hold the District Membership Team responsible for errors or content.  By no means is this plan the end-all solution to membership growth, but it hopefully will provide some clubs with new ideas on how members can work together, with the goal of improving member retention as well as the goal of developing new members….and having some fun along the way. 


The plan is intended as a guide for membership teams of small, medium, and large clubs who could use a long-term specific plan that has strategic goals and how-to tactics to meet those goals.  It uses tips and ideas presented by District Membership Chairs before me and I am especially indebted to Don Ferrell and to Hollis Lackey for sharing their friendship and the wisdom of their experience as District Membership Chairs.


A.  The Club Membership Committee and Your District Membership Team

The role of the club membership committees is to develop and implement an action plan for membership growth.  Your club’s ability to serve the community, support The Rotary Foundation, and develop leaders capable of serving Rotary at and beyond the club level is directly related to the size and strength of your club’s membership base.  It is good to start with a theme…perhaps “Bring a Guest…Make a Friend.”


This simple plan takes much less time to implement than it seems.  It is a multiple year plan so you don’t have to start over every year and is offered to those clubs who could use a fresh structured systems approach to growing your club.   It is a logical four step approach to; 1) invite prospects to your club, 2) demonstrate the fun and friendship of your club membership, 3) provide potential members an educational packet about Rotary and your club, and 4) send a formal letter of invitation to join your club to those approved.


Your club membership team should as a minimum  include your President-Elect, the past club President, the club Membership Chair, and for larger clubs, someone assigned for orientation, classification duties,  and reporting.  In addition, your District membership team is here to help you.  Although subject to additions, it 
currently is:


B.  Member Responsibility in Recruitment Efforts

All club members have a responsibility to contribute to membership development through continued outreach, which includes:

• Inviting potential members to the club…only 1 hour per month commitment is suggested

• Follow-up with second invitation (phone call) for those making the first visit

• Provide interested individuals with club brochure & your club prospective member package

• Refer qualified candidates to other clubs if your meeting time is inconvenient

            • Provide membership committee chair with contact activity form


C.  Benefits of increasing membership:

• Greater credibility within the community

• Broader perspectives, ideas, talents, and skills

• Expanded volunteer resources

• Endless opportunity for leadership at the club, district, and zone levels

• Enhanced fundraising potential                                                                                                              • Less frequent program and club responsibilities

D.  Recruiting across Classifications

The classification principle limits the number of individuals in a club to either five per classification or 10 percent of the total membership if the club has more than 50 members. This system helps the club, the district, and Rotary International develop a pool of expertise to implement successful service projects locally and internationally and to administer club operations effectively.


E.  Identifying Qualified Prospective Members

The two types of Rotary club membership are active and honorary. For recruitment purposes, seek active members who fulfill the criteria listed below.  Careful selection of active members will increase your club’s retention rate and reinforce positive attitudes toward new member induction.  Typical qualified potential members are either

• Currently working in professional, proprietary, executive, or managerial positions or retired from such positions; or

• Community leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to service through personal involvement in community affairs; or

• Rotary Foundation alumni, as defined by the RI Board.

• Live or work within the club’s area and are service oriented

• Fit into a classification that is not over represented in your club


F.  Inviting More Women and Younger Professionals

Clubs are learning the value of women.  As a result, women now represent about 15% of Rotary.  Multiply that percentage by 1,200,000 and you will learn that there are now almost 200,000 women Rotarians.  Don’t forget them in your planning process. 


According to a 2006 demographic survey conducted by RI, 15 percent of all Rotarians worldwide are women. In many regions, this percentage is far lower than the actual rate of women’s participation in business leadership positions and community service. Female professionals and community leaders represent an important demographic segment that should be targeted for membership. 


Women are excellent communicators and offer beneficial leadership qualities to clubs.  Part of your membership candidate base strategy should be focused on this large potential membership base. More women are joining Rotary every day.  In many clubs women now outnumber the men…and add a significant degree of organization and professionalism to the club!  Welcome women into your club…you will be glad you did!


Younger members are another underrepresented group in Rotary.  According to the 2006 survey, only 34 percent of members worldwide are under the age of 50. Younger members offer a host of benefits for your club. They bring fresh ideas for weekly programs, fellowship events, and service projects. They also provide a continuing source of energetic, enthusiastic members who can eventually serve as committee members, chairs, and club officers, ensuring your club’s longevity and relevance. 


G.  Suggestions for Approaching Prospective Members

            . Try to “connect” with your club prospective member…build on common bonds.

• Think about what kind of event would be most effective for introducing the prospective member to your club and to Rotary.  Some people would be more interested in attending a weekly meeting or interesting club programs, whereas others might want to learn about Rotary and service projects, or play in your scholarship golf scramble or other fund raiser.

• Learn your club’s meeting agenda for the focus invitation week, and invite the prospective member to attend a meeting with interesting information of that particular program.

• Don’t be discouraged if someone doesn’t show an immediate interest. It’s good to be persistent, but give prospective members some space to make a decision on their own time.

• Exchange business cards, and make a note to yourself about your conversations with prospective members on the back of their cards and keep a record of your conversations

• Give a copy of What’s Rotary?  to everyone you speak to about Rotary. Carry several of the cards in your wallet.  For those who show interest in learning more, follow-up with a club brochure or letter about your club.

• One option is to follow up with interested candidates by mailing a personal note, or phone call, with an invitation to a club event…even offer to pick him/her up and drive them to our meeting.  

• Include references to and your club in correspondence.

• Be sure and introduce yourself to each visitor who comes to your club…ask a member who has similar interest, or someone who is real good at “Rotary talk, to sit with them.


For full content of the 3 year Membership Plan including sample letters and forms, download the 3 Year Membership Plan at the top of the download list on left side of this page.