Membership Corner - February 29, 2016
Membership Corner: Is your Rotary club positive-thinking, can-do, action-oriented – or not?
By Tom Sturiale
What is the attitude of your Rotary club? Is it one of “can-do – will-do” or “can’t-do –won’t-do?” An organization’s attitude is made up of all the individual attitudes and biases of its members. What are the comments heard from your members? Are they: “We tried that before and it doesn’t work; “we’ve always done it this way;” “they’re asking us to do too much and I don’t have the time;” “we don’t need more members - the club size is okay as is;” or any combination of the above? Or are they: “Sure, I will do it; “when can I start;” “I have an idea I would like to explore;” “wow, this is fun;” “let’s get more members so we can do more good?”
What is the tenor of your club meetings? Are they somber, morose breakfasts, lunches or dinner? Or are they upbeat, happy, pleasant gatherings of friends? While these may be extreme views, it is important to understand where on the spectrum of positive and negative attitudes your club resides. Our clubs are made up of a wide variety of well-intentioned folks who range between “can” and “can’t do.” It is up to the leadership to identify the “can-doers” and the “won’t-doers” in order to make progress.
In the corporate world, managers work very hard to instill the attitudes of positive, can-do, action orientation in their teams. Negativism has to be rooted out, or the organization either stagnates or, worse, deteriorates. Obviously, our volunteer organizations approach these issues differently, but the objective also remains the same. 
From the point of view of membership, it is axiomatic that we need to add members. This is the prime objective of Rotary International as stated by our district governor, but more importantly, it simply makes good sense. In order to accomplish all the objectives of our Rotary organization, we need more members who will add their time, talent and treasure to our total effort.
Repeating a theme from prior Membership Corner articles, this is not a numbers game of adding people. It is obvious that efforts to simply add warm bodies are not effective. We need to attract high-quality Rotarians with the methods pointed out in prior articles.  
How often have we heard the laments that our community is too small to find more members, that times have changed and people are not interested in joining service clubs, the costs are too high, the appropriate venues are not available, younger folks do not have the time or money, and on and on? These comments are like fingernails on a blackboard – screeeeech!
Sure, there are issues, but they can also be addressed. Of course, membership is a tough job, but it can also be done. It takes commitment and effort – but, most importantly, it also takes a positive attitude.  
Every club needs to identify all the issues and address them one by one. All problems can be solved with the right attitudes of positive thinking, can-do attitude and action orientation. How is your club doing?
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: