The month of August is denominated in Rotary as the Membership and Extension Month. Thus, my corner will tackle the matter of attracting new members into our prestigious circle of Rotarians.
In one of the feature articles of The ABCs of Rotary by RI President Cliff Dochterman, we can find a write-up on Sharing Rotary with New Members which reads in part:
“Are you aware of the responsibility or obligation most Rotarians fail to perform? Paying their dues? Attending meetings? Contributing to the club’s service fund? Participating in club events and projects? No--none of these! Of all the obligations a person accepts when joining a Rotary club, the one in which most Rotarians fail is “sharing Rotary.” The policies of Rotary International clearly affirm that every individual Rotarian has an “obligation to share Rotary with others and to help extend Rotary through proposing qualified persons for Rotary club membership.” It is estimated that less than 30 percent of the members of most Rotary clubs have ever made the effort to propose a new member. Thus, in every club, there are many Rotarians who readily accept the pleasures of being a Rotarian without ever sharing that privilege with another qualified individual.” (Underscoring supplied)
Being a Rotarian is also about sharing our aggrupation to others so they can embrace and ensure continuity of our noble tradition of selfless service. Community service, however, is just the initial motivation that beckons us to Rotary. The sustaining substance that holds one to embrace Rotary for a longer period of time is the fun and fellowship that Rotarians enjoy with other Rotarians and their spouses and kids, whom we collectively call as the Rotary family. If we enjoy the company of Rotarians every week, then we should allow other community leaders to enjoy the same benefits and amenities that come as part of the perks for membership in Rotary.
In a research work commissioned by Rotary International, it was revealed that the membership level of Rotary for the last three decades has remained steadily at just the 1.2 million mark as Rotarians go as soon as they get in. To my mind, this is something we have to take in stride although I see the wisdom in increasing our numbers to a much higher level. If Rotarians, indeed, have to go especially due to relocation…then let them…they will just come back anyways. The severance may have something to do with their life plans and priorities. I was out myself for while… busy climbing the ladder of government service and for graduate studies and other self-improvement activities. But as soon as I relocated back to my hometown, I was immediately re-inducted back to my club and elected as club president nominee before I could even warm my seat. Our own amiable District Trainer, PDG James Makasiar was inducted four (4) times into Rotary…and now he is here to stay… even seen to be one of the most dynamic PDGs that our district had produced so far. Of course, one may just transfer rotary clubs wherever he may have relocated whether permanently or momentarily. We have 52 other clubs to choose from in District 3850 alone. They all provide fun and fellowship for their members and those who are lucky enough to consider joining them.
As the closing sentence of the Rotary Charge to New Member goes:
“We also expect much from you in help and inspiration, which will enable us to be better Rotarians, and with this hope we most heartily offer you Rotary fellowship.”
So let’s attract more Rotarians into our fold and make them enjoy Rotary.