Membership Corner - July 27, 2015

What Is Your Rotary Club’s Story?
By Tom Sturiale
Every club has a story! What is yours? 
Every Rotary club has its own unique history, distinct objectives, and specific projects. Clubs vary in size, resources, makeup of the membership, venues, meeting structure and community focus. How would you describe your club?  And why may it be important? 
A typical answer to “What is Rotary?” may be that we are a “Service Organization” and “Service Above Self “ is our motto.  Really? Duh!  If that represents the full understanding of the meaning of Rotary, then we will not be successful in attracting new members to Rotary.
There are many ways to volunteer and provide service through church groups, food pantries, shelter organizations and a host of others, without having to attend meetings and pay dues.  We need to do a better job of demonstrating the benefits of Rotary in language communicated easily to prospective members.
We may sometimes agonize over developing statements of "Rotary Value" when it is really right in front of us.
How does your club interpret the "Object Of Rotary," "Service Above Self" and the five "Avenues of Service" into community action?  Therein lies the "Value of Rotary" to a prospective member.
Of course, there are many folks attracted to Rotary simply because our goals and reputation matches their values and desires. But the vast majority of folks do not know much about us. It is really incumbent on all clubs to develop their unique story. What makes you special in your community? Which organizations do you support? How many student scholarships do you provide? What is your history of good works? How do you raise funds to support your good works? What are your fellowship programs?  Have you organized Interact and Rotaract clubs in your high schools and colleges? Have you focused on the needy, the veterans, the elderly and the sick folks in your community?
No matter how small or large your club may be, you all need to develop a powerful story that describes your club’s accomplishments, goals and strategies. While this is not an easy task, a few creative and persistent members will be able to translate your story into a document for all members to utilize when they are discussing Rotary with a prospective member.
Remember, we have to convince a prospective member that the benefits of joining Rotary will far exceed their costs of time, money and effort.  A conscientious effort to develop your club’s story will go a long way towards accomplishing that goal.
Tom Sturiale, vice chair of D7910's Membership Committee, may be reached at