Membership and Retention, the most important part of Rotary.  August is designated as the month we focus on this, but every day, all of us should be an example of an organization that our friends and associates would want to join.
Click Read More for the rest of the story.
As a Rotarian, one must look back and say, what an organization our founder, Paul Harris conceived one hundred and fifteen years ago, that today, spans the globe in doing “good”.  The keystone of the world’s first service club was based on a simple human principle.  The wish to capture the same friendly spirit Paul Harris felt in small towns of his youth into a professional club.  He first conceived the idea after dinner in the Chicago home of a lawyer friend.  “I took a walk with him through the residential neighborhood, I stopped at the road stands along the way and I was impressed by the fact that the proprietors were all friends of his lawyer acquaintance.  I had come to Chicago four years prior to that time, but my clients were merely business friends, not social friends.  This experience set me to wonder why I couldn’t make social friends out of at least some of my business friends.” (Paul Harris 1945)

The reason I took a look at our beginnings is because the world gets to be a busy place, moving faster and faster, but friendships - were and are the basis of Rotary.  FRIENDS, the keystone, even though Rotary formally started in 1905, the conception came, with friends in 1900.  Jumping back into today, the siegle-gale report, which Rotary used to survey itself, found out the number reason we stay in Rotary is because of friends. (retention).

Proving the same principle holds true today along with the reason for getting together, to do good for our community (the number one reason people join Rotary).  This simple concept is the basis of what is called the New Focus, the way we attract, grow and retain members in Rotary today.  Paul Harris spoke of that spirit he wanted to capture, does your club have that spirit?  Potential members, are your friends interested in what Rotary is doing for the community?  Here I said Rotary, do they know the diversity of Rotary and that no two clubs are the same? 

Paul Harris was not thinking out the box nor was he creating this box called Rotary.  His vision was creating this cornucopia called Rotary.  This spirit of giving back to our communities through the friendships we establish in our professional lives.  When thinking membership, keep it simple, keep it where you exude the good being done by all of us.  Keep it out of the box and look around of what more can be done in our communities if we had more members.  Every community needs more Rotarians, I ask you to ask me how to achieve this – because Rotary, the New Focus, offers ways to achieve this.  Not only by the traditional ways that we have “boxed” ourselves into thinking, but into creative ways to grow.   Yes, you can go to our district website for ideas, but I am here to guide you through the information.  I hope to talk to you about membership and retention, soon, as it is that important.
Mark Furia
Membership Director 2015-16