Membership Corner - February 22, 2016
Membership Corner: Membership tips for new presidents
By Tom Sturiale
This is an exciting time for all the incoming presidents. You just completed Pre-PETS and are about to go through the intensive PETS sessions.  Information is coming at you like water through a fire hose. You never thought it was going to be this complicated. You are now beginning to understand how complex the job of being president of your Rotary club is going to be. You will also begin to appreciate the job your outgoing president has done. You may begin to have some doubts about your ability to handle the job.  However, you still have four months before the mantle of the president is passed on to you.  With the help of the current president and some time to absorb all the information, you will do fine. However, it will be important to utilize the next four months appropriately in order to start your new year on the right foot. 
During PETS you will learn all the details about the Rotary Foundation, club administration, community service, membership development, district organization, club finance management, international projects, fund raising, social media, PR, and much more.  You will meet dozens of folks from many other clubs. The next four months will pass quickly and you will then be faced with the job of presiding over the weekly meetings, the monthly board meetings, insuring the various projects are on schedule and all the myriad details of running a Rotary club are being overseen. You will find there is little time for planning. That should be done now. 
Most of the club functions will continue as they have in the past through your club’s organization of committee chairs and club officers but many of these positions change from year to year. So you will have to exercise leadership skills to name new chairs and insure the club’s business continues. A very effective process to help with club continuity is to establish a steering committee made up of the past one or two presidents, current president and next president. You will find having the advice and guidance of the past leaders to be very helpful. 
One of the most difficult challenges of every club president is to insure an effective membership process is in place.  At PETS you will be asked to commit to an increase in membership. Of course, every president will commit to an objective of “y” members and “x%" increase and not have any idea as to how those objectives will be met. To make matters worse, when you are faced with the details of running your clubs on a weekly basis, one of the last items on the agenda will be the membership challenge. 
Here are a few tips on insuring that your club’s membership effort gets off to a flying start the day after you take office this July 1 and continues throughout the year and beyond. 
  • First, and immediately after PETS, ensure you have a membership chair and committee installed in your club. In the smaller clubs, many folks do double duty and that person may even be you.
  • Second, conduct an assembly meeting, with the help of your current president, and reach a consensus with all the members about the objective of increasing the membership of your club, to include the number, timing and type of members to be added.
  • Third, at another assembly meeting, get all the members to participate in developing a target list of prospective members for your club. 
If you complete these three tasks by the end of this June, you can be assured you will have an effective membership process in place and you will be free to concentrate on all the other club-management tasks.  For more details on the total membership process, consult past Membership Corner articles.  
Good luck and have a great year!
Closing thoughts
We need to keep experimenting with our meeting agendas to maintain members’ interests and to encourage attendance. Meetings need to be fresh, exciting and interesting. This will also assist your club’s Membership Committee chair and members in attracting new members to the team. Please let me know of your ideas, comments and stories about Membership you would like to share. E-mail me at
Tom Sturiale is vice chair of District 7910's Membership Committee.
Here are the Membership Corner articles that were posted during January: