Once you've attracted new members, how do you make sure they start their Rotary journey on the right foot and stay engaged for years to come? Clubs throughout our district handle new members differently, but there are several great ideas that seem consistent throughout, including:
 
  • Create an official New Member Orientation process, during which several members of your club meet with the new member to expand on some important topics, such as:
  • Meeting attendance expectations
  • Club, district and Rotary International dues
  • Typical meeting programs
  • Your club’s history (outstanding achievements, community partnerships, etc.)
  • Meeting make-up opportunities
  • Member classifications
  • How your club board operates and how to join
  • Time commitments involved in membership
  • How to volunteer for events or committees
  • International service opportunities
  • The Rotary Foundation
  • As an expression of honor, on the day we receive a new member into our club, we invite him or her to tell us about themselves, after which we stand and applaud. (Bruce Schoeman, Wilmar Rotary)
     
  • Make an effort to meet with new members one-on-one outside of a typical club meeting.  I find this to be more relaxed and allows me  to gather as much info as possible so I can pair them with like-minded members. From the initial conversation, I gauge where their main interests fall--say, community service or something as simple as golfing. Once that is obtained, I introduce them to specific members where those interests align. (Matthew Lunde, South Metro Minneapolis Evenings Rotary)
     
  • We ask new members to serve as meeting greeters for their first four weeks, and to work with a mentor, who learns a few things about the new member to share with the club. (Diane Kaer, Apple Valley Rotary)
     
  • We hold several new member orientations every year as part of a subgroup called "Guides for Nine,"  which also hosts guests to our regular meetings.  The orientations are 1-hour separate meetings, led by volunteers, using a pre-established agenda that allows for customization of questions. It’s important to keep in constant contact with new/prospective members. Once a membership application is submitted, each applicant receives four different emails about the process and what to expect. New members are introduced at club meetings and each Friday at our noon meeting, a Rotarian is the "day chair" who introduces our speaker and is himself/herself introduced by the president. Feedback from new members is that our club is really friendly, so we share that often, to build an even more welcoming atmosphere. Each new member receives 4 weeks of mentoring, using the our club’s mentoring guide.  The volunteer conducting the orientation becomes that new member's mentor. (Mary Ann Nelson, Minneapolis Rotary No. 9)