Membership Corner - September 7, 2015

How Do We Satisfy And Retain Members?
By Tom Sturiale
It requires considerable effort to attract, induct and integrate new members into Rotary. But it takes even more ingenuity and leadership to satisfy and retain them. Of course, we lose members for legitimate reasons such as job changes, illnesses and moves. But the majority of member departures is lack of satisfaction.They are not engaged, lose interest and eventually stop attending meetings. 
What are the reasons? There must have been some reason for joining Rotary in the first place. It may have been the desire to network for business or personal reasons, to give back to the community, to associate with like-minded people, the opportunity for fellowship, or any number of possible motivations.
However, becoming a Rotarian requires a much longer time. Becoming integrated into any organization takes time. Club leadership needs to think about that. Have you maintained records of the folks who joined your club and who have departed? Do you know the reasons? We expend great energy in attracting new members and then what do we do? Do we greet them with open arms each week, do they join an action-oriented committee, do they attend a district event, do we ask them to share their biography with the club, are they included in fellowship events, do we really know what they are interested in, and are they introduced to all the members or are they educated in Rotary? Or, do we allow them to sit quietly awaiting an opportunity to join in? Do we follow up with folks who begin to drift away from attending meetings or who do not participate in events?
New members want to be involved and recognized. As new members, they may be a bit reticent to approach members and introduce themselves, to volunteer for activities and projects they may not be interested in or know nothing about, or to seek personal recognition. That is your job as a current member or a club leader! You need to embrace them. You need to find out what they are interested in. They are your club’s future. Welcome them and make them feel wanted and needed.Tell them you need their help. Ask for volunteers, but a little gentle encouragement  may help. Who can resist a request by a senior Rotarian who approaches you and says, “I really need your help and I need it now!” There are many things to do in any club, so begin integrating new members by asking them to perform small duties and then add to their responsibilities.
A past district governor in Rhode Island told me of an effective method for integrating new members. She had her clubs issue a “Dance Card” to new members. The card had listed six  to eight critical achievements required for each new member to be performed during the first 6 to 12 months after joining the club. When completed, the new member was recognized and honored at a second induction-type ceremony with his or her permanent badge. New members felt as though they had earned their membership and valued it even more.
In our zeal to add new members, let us not forget our primary responsibility is to insure our current members are satisfied with the direction of our clubs.
Please let me know any ideas, comments or stories about Membership you would like to share. E-mail me at
Here are the Membership Tips that were posted during August:
Tom Sturiale, vice chair of District 7910's Membership Committee, may be reached at