Membership is the backbone of organizations like Rotary. My friend Musiliu Babatunde has a favorite song about Rotary, and it is called Wake Up Rotarians. It talks about the importance of membership to a club and how a club will become inactive and die if there are no members. The song prompted me to think about ways we can attract members. Here are a few thoughts:
1. Fun Activities
Rotaract clubs should host activities that attract young people. Socializing and having fun is a good thing and compliments service. Picnics, beach parties, and happy hours are just some of the activities you can plan.
2. Service Projects
At the same time, service is what draws many people to Rotaract and Rotary — the ability to join together with others to take action and achieve more than you could every do on your own. We should continue to partner with other Rotaract and Rotary clubs in our communities to improve our neighborhoods. It’s like when you plant a tree and you help the ecosystem. A member who gets involved in service projects becomes an impact maker in their community.
3.Print, broadcast, and social media
There is no substitute for publicity. And social media makes it easier than ever. We can attract prospective members, but also people who want to support us and work with us. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and more should be used for timely updates on our programs and the projects we engage in. But don’t limit your updates to just one or two platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook. Use the full spectrum and don’t forget print media such as newspapers and magazines, or broadcast media.
Attracting members isn’t the end of the story. We must also sustain our clubs and engage our members. Here are a few thoughts about that.
- Providing engaging club meetings and programs
Have you ever attended a club meeting and left feeling disappointed? You are not alone. A club meeting without rich content or a worthwhile program will kill the morale of members faster than just about anything. We need to have interesting programs, and also fellowship opportunities. And market them well with titles that are clear and attractive such as a Pizza Night, Palm Wine fellowship, Barbecue day at the park.
- Promoting your club identity
What makes your club unique? What activities are you known for in your community? Make sure you maintain these and let other people know about them. And make sure club meetings are convenient for club members. Plan activities that are accessible to a majority of your members. If most of them work, don’t plan midday service projects.
- Provide strong leadership
Strong leaders move clubs forward and measure the pulse of a club’s vital signs. Train people to take over as leaders. Invest time in future leaders. It can make all the difference between a strong club and a fading one. New members feel more comfortable if there is solid leadership driving the club forward.
Abdulwahab B Akinlade,
Past President of the Rotaract Club of Ikorodu Golden,