Andy Skripniak, member of the Hamilton A.M. Rotary Club, represented District 7090 today, in his role as District Membership Chair. He is presenting in person a discussion paper on membership issues to each of the 74 clubs in our district! Membership is the number one priority in Rotary this year and Andy is committed to assisting any club that wants to further their membership. The following is his presentation.
 

Membership Talk

 

The magical mystery tour continues today. A tour that will see me visit all 74 clubs in the district this year, experiencing the magic of Rotary while trying to solve the mystery of membership.

 

The purpose of the next 20 or so minutes is not to address all of your membership concerns, but rather to simply generate thought and discussion so that you have a couple of good points to take away and make them work for your club as you set yourselves on a course to address your membership needs.

 

Membership has become the number one priority not only at the district level but at the international level as well.

 

Recently Rotary International President Wilf Wilkinson attended all 7 North American regional membership seminars held in the summer on 7 consecutive weekends.

 

I attended the second such seminar in Nashville and was joined by 275 other Rotarians from 26 different states. Among the 275 Rotarians were three Rotary International Presidents: Current President Wilf as well as Jim Lacey and Glenn Estess. All working and committed to improvement of membership.

 

Hamilton, my hometown has long been known for its steel business. There are two big steel mills: Stelco which has struggled over the years due in part to its battles with its union and employees while Dofasco is a shining star on the world steel stage. Dofasco's slogan is: our product is steel our strength is our people.

 

This is so very important that Rotary has acknowledged the need to focus on membership or people.

 

There is a new structure at the District:

 

Gone are the 4 traditional directors:

  • Vocational
  • Community
  • Club
  • International

 

Replaced with 5 new directorships

  • Membership
  • Public relations
  • Service projects
  • Foundation
  • Youth

 

Everywhere you look membership will be a top priority

 

Why? Because it is our backbone, it is our strength.

Consider these statistics:

 

63% of our membership is over 50

 

59% of our membership has been in Rotary less than 10 years

 

Most troubling is that 40% leave within 3 years of being inducted

 

In 2004 our membership globally grew by 30,000. Impressive until you factor out 769 new clubs at 30 members or about 23,000; that does not create a lot of new members in existing clubs.

 

When you look at North America on its own, our membership has declined. In 2002 there were 435,000 Rotarians; that number is now down to 412,000.

 

Until recently membership development was a committee of one at the District

 

Today it is a committee of 18

 

I am the director for the district

 

There are 17 area specialists, 1 for each area.

 

The role of the district membership team is to help the clubs as required. We do not force our help on anyone; we can simply offer to assist. It is up to the clubs to take us up on the offer.

 

That is why I here today.

 

The real job really begins at the club level.

 

The entire club must realize and embrace that membership is a priority and it is the responsibility of all the members. Only member can bring in new members.

 

All your strength comes from a strong membership.

 

Your ability to raise funds or to do that much needed hands on project comes from a strong membership.

 

Each club President, PE and board must understand the need for a strong and functioning membership committee.

 

The District has asked each club to adopt this new 5 director plan. Each club should now have a membership chair with a full committee.

 

You would never run your major fundraiser without a separate event chair and a committee along with the support of the entire club, same goes for membership. It really is your biggest project of the year.

 

You cannot leave it to one person or to the president to look after to membership, it simply is too large of a responsibility.