Building an Irresistible Club: Simple But Not Easy

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 potential members.

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 happen!

Posted by Nancy Prochaska
September 4, 2023


Posted by Gillian Leggett
Rotary Club of Stone Mountain
September 5, 2023 1:09pm

Thank you for sharing this information with all of us. Excellent ideas for creating an amazing club!

This Year’s Posts: