ROTARY REBIRTization first. If we want to achieve the goals we’ve set for ourselves, we need to put membership first. All of us have a responsibility to take membership seriously, not only by inviting prospective members, but also by making sure new members are welcomed into clubs that offer them something of value.” Barry Rassin R.I President 2018-19.
Over the few years we have seen a massive growth of Rotaract clubs, Youths transiting from Interacts joining Community and institution based clubs. The latter has not been experienced within Rotary. Where do Rotaractors go after the age of 30 years? We have over 9000 registered and active Rotaract clubs across the globe with atleast 300,000 members. The paradigm shift came on 10th to 15th April 2016 during the Council Legislation (CoL) which was held in Chicago with 522 representatives present out the 537 districts. Among the enactments passed were; Rotaractors were allowed to be active members of Rotary. The Dual membership was a well calculated move to recruit young blood to rejuvenate Rotary-I call it “Rotary Rebirth”. We were given a chance to nurture and mentor future leaders, further have an opportunity to see them take charge in their different leadership roles.
Many Rotaractors who have served all the way up to District and Multidistrict committee level in different leadership capacities; feel that they need a break or have given it all. At the age of 30 there are a lot of changes; career wise and young families getting started. Eventually we lose them; in other instances if lucky they come back in their forties unable to account for their absentia. Every Rotary Club inducts approximately three (3) members annually on the higher side – I mean we can do better than this. We have a cohort which has been exposed to all the norms, etiquette and traditions what it requires is a welcoming hand. Much energy and attention has been diverted to inviting and recruiting new members and while turning a blind eye on the abundant resources we have at hand.
Club membership, membership retention, connecting to prospective members, good public relation, quality projects which are self-sustainable; is what is characterized with active clubs, but it’s only attainable with quality members who know what Rotary entails and have the passion to serve. Ever imagined where we would be standing right now if every Club would induct 3 Rotaractors annually with dual membership status? Since 2016 we have been losing potential members because we have never taken advantage of the Chicago resolution.
It’s all about membership, unless we get it right our status quo will remain with over 7 billion people on mother earth “Our membership has hovered around the same 1.2
million mark for 20 years. We aren’t growing, and our membership is getting older.” Barry Rassin R.I President 2018-19. People are talking about us but it’s only when we physically reach out, the same people will talk to us. As I wrap up, I would like to say membership should not be a monthly thing but we ought to make it the main agenda in our day to day meetings and events as put by DG Jeff Bamford 2018-2019
“During the 18 official club visits I have carried out, plus the many installation events that I have attended, my opening subject has inevitably been membership as it is an important component of our District 9212 vision. Our strategic plan envisages a 25% growth in overall membership.”
CLUB SERVICE DIRECTOR, ROTARY CLUB OF MALINDI (2018-2019),
IMMEDIATE PAST PRESIDENT ROTARACT CLUB OF MALINDI.