By Tom Sturiale
District 7910 conducted four area Membership Workshops in Acton, Auburn, Wellesley and West Boylston during the last two weeks of March. They were aimed at membership discussion, and were well-attended by a total of 60 RotariansThe workshops were based on a novel case-study approach, which led to many interesting discussions on solving membership issues.
To read and download the Summary of Notes from all Workshop sessions, in PDF format, click here.
The Case Study was developed based on a fictitious Rotary Club of Hopkinton. It exhibited many attributes of a club that has several issues and needs to revitalize itself. The case study and the objectives for the discussion groups are shown, below.
It may be helpful for you to conduct a membership discussion in your club based on this fictitious Case Study. Or, make up a case study based on the facts of your own club.
Case Study: Fact Pattern for Fictional Rotary Club of Hopkinton
Club Profile
  • Club is 30 years old; currently has 13 members; was as high as 30 members 15 years ago
  • Members age range is 40-70; 4 retirees, 1 CPA, 2 real estate, 1 banker, 2 insurance, 1 clergy, 1 lawyer, 1 contractor.  Most members have been Rotarians 10 or more years
  • Club is 30 years old – 3 of the retirees are charter members.
  • Several members have recycled through the officer positions a few times.
  • Hopkinton has one annual fundraiser (a turkey-shoot auction event) which supports a couple of scholarships, a veterans-recognition breakfast, and a water stand for the annual marathon runners.
  • Annual dues are $150, not including meals.
  • They have no Facebook page, website or club brochure.
  • There have been no fellowship events for the past few years.
  • The club meets on Tuesday mornings at a local diner. Speakers are a rare occurrence.
  • Members have discussed visioning and the development of long-term objectives, but have not reached any conclusions.
  • The members recognize the need for an increase in membership, but have been unsuccessful. They have brought in a few members during the past few years, but most have resigned after 1or 2 years. Membership has steadily waned over the past 10-15 years.
  • A few members attended Rotary Leadership Institute several years ago, and four members have Paul Harris awards, but the club is very low in Rotary Foundation giving
  • There seems to be little interest in District 7910 activities
  • The more senior members like the club as it is, and do not want to change anything. A few of the younger, less-senior members recognize the need for change, but are having difficulty defining and justifying it
Town Profile
  • The population of Hopkinton increased from 10,000 in 1995 to 16,000 in 2014
  • The median income is high, at about $75,000.
  • There are six churches, one mosque, and a Korean church.
  • The population is overwhelmingly white, middle-class.
  • There are several corporate businesses located in the area
  • New-home building is active as many people move into the area
  • Hopkinton is most famous as the starting point of the annual Boston Marathon
  • Hopkinton has a town-meeting form of government, fire and police departments, a library, and elementary, middle and high schools.
Community Needs
  • Annual Boston Marathon organizers need considerable help and assistance
  • There are several needy families and two nursing homes in the area
  • There is the possibility of Interact clubs at the middle and high schools
  • Scholarship needs are always present
  • Several veteran families live in town.
  • A local YMCA hosts several children from poor families
Objective for the Rotary Club of Hopkinton
  • Significantly improve morale, fellowship, and Rotary spirit.
  • Increase membership from 13 to 30 during the next three years
  • The members have met and reached a consensus about a membership objective
  • They agreed to increase their level from 13 to 30 in 3 years, including attrition of 10% per year
  • They have not determined the types of members they want or need
  • They need help developing an action plan, a process for contacting, integrating and engaging members, and a long-term retention plan
Session I
  • Define the first steps the club must take to prepare for a membership-improvement action plan.
    • Meeting venue, meals, dues?
    • Agenda, speakers?
    • Visioning and club objectives?
    • Public relations, social media, brochures?
    • What are the community needs the members would like to satisfy?
Session II
  • Define the types of members Hopkinton should target.
    • What classifications should the Hopkinton club search for?
    • What types of members do they want and need?
    • What sort of members should be brought in at the early stages?
  • Define the sources of potential members.
    • How can the club begin to research the sources of potential members?
    • Where will they get the names of folks?
    • How will the rank order the names?
  • Develop a target list of potential members.
Session III
  • Develop a strategy for contacting potential members.
  • What is the rate the club should plan on bringing in new members?
  • How do they phase in changes to their club structure and activities?
  • Develop a process to introduce, approve, induct, welcome, engage, educate, and develop new members.
  • Develop a long-term retention plan.
Session IV
  • Present a five-minute summary of the highlights of your membership plan.
Tom Sturiale, chair of District 7910's Visioning Committee and vice chair of its Membership Committee, may be reached at
Documents for October 2016 Membership Workshops, in PDF format:
To learn about the October 2016 Membership Workshops, click here.
For more information on Rotary memberships:
"A Rotary Membership Guide" is a collection of "Membership Corner" articles written for this weekly newsletter during the 2015-2016 Rotary year, which began last July 1. It is intended to offer an idea or thought each week aimed at stimulating discussions, questions and actions to effectively increase membership at all our clubs. Click here, to download this 52-page "Guide," in Word format.