Rotary International has emphasized the importance of making
a bigger impact by increasing our membership.
The Rotary Club of North Cobb has enjoyed significant growth. Four short years ago our club had 40 active
members. This week we will induct our 100th
and 101st active member! We
have been asked how we accomplished this remarkable growth. The answer is: It is simple, but not easy! In fact, it is difficult, but well worth
it! Creating and nurturing a warm,
welcoming, engaging, productive, and dare I say, entertaining club takes
creativity, planning, and effort. The
North Cobb Rotary has put into action several key practices that attract
The Meeting Experience
Rotary is a membership club, whose product is service. NCRC creates engaging relationships by
treating people as they wish to be treated.
We learn names, we ask questions (and remember the answers!) We learn special details about people, like
partner’s names, children, and business name.
We invite New Members to serve at the badge table, so they can meet
members, hear names (and then read them on the badge) and learn a few each
week. Of course, everyone loves good
food, so we have our meetings at a restaurant known for its excellent food.
We build an environment of trust and respect, and people can
feel it. This includes starting and
finishing every meeting on time, calling upon people by name, moving the focus
around the room through “Sunshines” (sometimes called Happy Dollars) and
announcements. Every meeting is carefully
planned, with a timestamp to be sure we can get through the many special things
we do each week, such as Inductions, Paul Harris Awards, special announcements,
and a joke (or two!) This planning happens throughout the week, so
that nothing is forgotten, and we include it all.
Members never know what will happen next week, so they don’t
want to miss! Meetings are informative in
two important ways. First, a “Service
& Social Events Coming Soon” slides are projected in a PowerPoint, so everyone can see
and know what is coming up. One member creates
QR codes for easy sign up. We show
photos from the week before, so we can see pictures of ourselves and our Rotary
friends, doing service. We
over-communicate, to keep people in “the know.” Second, we have a dynamite speaker every
week, one who has something important to say and can say it well. Members invite interesting people they know
to be our speakers and make the introduction.
Members leave the meeting knowing more than they did when they came in.
But the “secret sauce” of the North Cobb Rotary is: We have fun!
Always! We might sing a song; we
might hear a poem. We might have someone
dressed up as a hotdog (advertising a BBQ) or as a witch (near Halloween.) Recently, Carnac the Magnificent showed up to
offer the Club Assembly. You never know!
Meetings are fresh, entertaining, and
sometimes surprising, which requires creativity and effort.
The Service Experience
Just like our meetings, our service experiences revolve
around relationships. We plan and
participate in many service events, on any day of the week, at any time of the
day. That accommodates the various
schedules of our members. Sometimes our
service is appropriate for partners, neighbors, children, and even grandchildren
to, which gives us an opportunity to learn names and become acquainted. Every service event has a Rotarian “Champion”
who has a connection. That member knows
what needs to be done, arranges the supplies, the instructions, the details, so
fellow members can just show up and be ready to work. We do
what our members want to do. Last year
we participated in about 100 separate service activities. This year we will likely have more. Our members see a need and we fill it. This may be filling a food pantry,
distributing food, gathering crutches and walkers or winter coats, or making
summer lunches for hungry kids. We
service children, seniors, disabled, veterans, homeless, recovering addicts,
and more. We serve whatever cause our
members care about.
The Social Experience
Like our meetings and service events, our social events are
focused on relationships. We sponsor a
social event once each month, always at a new, interesting, or unique
location. We include our partners and
have great food. Sometimes there is a
service component to our social events.
This ties us all together.
The Ideal Member
North Cobb Rotary has identified the qualities that make an
ideal member. They must: (1) have a
servant’s heart, (2) live or work near our meeting location so attending
meetings is convenient, and (3) be willing to get out of bed most Thursday
mornings to come to a 7am breakfast.
This is what it takes. We ask
people to “lean in” and attend as many meetings and service events as they
comfortably can. This works!
Make a Bigger Impact
To make a bigger impact in our community, we need more
members. We attract more members by
sincerely loving them, caring for their needs, hearing their interests, and
making encounters satisfying and meaningful.
This is everyone’s responsibility.
Fortune favors the bold.
So be bold, be creative, be thoughtful, be loving… and watch the magic