Engaging the Next Generation in Rotary
 
Only 2% of worldwide Rotary membership is under the age of 30.  In an article written for “Rotary on the Move” by Michael McQueen, a leading authority in youth & strategies for engaging with Gen Y, 5 strategies for growing your club with young members is offered. McQueen explains that contrary to their “self-centered reputation”, Gen Y “crave community and truly want to make a difference.”  “This generation, having been raised to be confident and to have self-esteem, truly believe they can make a difference” states McQueen. 
 
At its core, the  5 strategies require a local club to examine not only the local demographic to identify prospective Gen Y Rotary candidates, but determine if the purpose and goals of their own club are truly inspirational to attract the next generation craving purpose.
 
The 5 strategies are:
 
1. Look Back to Plan Forward
 
Where to find the next generation?  According to McQueen, they are all around if we only look a bit more closely.  Look at participants in club and district programs like RYLA, youth exchange, Interact or Rotaract clubs and other young people who have benefited from your clubs projects and programs.   They may be waiting to be asked.
 
2. Start Small
 
Young people, according to McQueen, are often hesitant to make long term commitments, therefore he suggests inviting them to be part of well defined, targeted short term projects and to use this as a jumping off point to increase their awareness of Rotary and to build relationships.  A well-defined project is one in that is adequately planned, the purpose and outcomes are clear and valued by the volunteers.  McQueen suggests with this strategy that local clubs analyze the opportunity that their projects and programs give volunteers to make a difference or impact someone’s life. 
 
3. Focus on Outcomes Rather Than Process
 
McQueen tells us that more involvement of young people in local clubs and their programs and projects may challenge the status quo.  He reminds us that this is a good thing and to realize that this reflects two things, one is take this as an opportunity to inform and educate and two is for local clubs to reflect on why they do what they do and does the purpose result in tangible benefits and outcomes.  McQueen reminds us that, “Gen Y are action-oriented….what does matter is that the outcomes and purpose are explicitly clear from the outset.”
 
4. Use Stories to Get your Message Through
 
Communicating with Gen Y through stories which tell of the impact of Rotary from a personal impact is more inspiring then reciting a long list of facts and figures according to McQueen.   Telling these stories not only will tell why Rotarians do what they do but also tell more about why service through Rotary is a great experience.
 
5. Concentrate on Common Purpose Not Common Interests
 
McQueen reminds us that as members of an international organization Rotarians have a history of working together with other Rotarians from diverse cultures.  As Rotarians we need to use the same drive to work together for common purpose around the world and focus this drive to open the door of the opportunity to serve to young people. 
 
Full article available at:
 
 
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