Who’s Job is It To Get New Members Anyhow?

I recently gave this little talk at the Rotary Club of Edmonton North East.

Having great fun and conversation at my table so I think I know the answer to this question – but how many here are happy to be at Rotary today?

In fact – how many here are PROUD to be Rotarians.

Can you remember – who was your sponsor?  Who brought you into Rotary?

And  – why did that person sponsor you into Rotary………..

If you think about that last question – you may answer –

My sponsor knew I would make connections in the business community.
My sponsor knew I would enjoy friendship, enhance leadership skills, have fun, and of course – better the community and world we live in, by being a member of Rotary.

Then I have to ask – Who’s responsibility is it to get the next new member in this club.

Is it the membership chair?  The executive?  Is it seasoned long term Rotarians?  Before I answer – a fact.  In North America Rotary is on the decline.  A few years ago then RI President Wilf Wilkinson said in Vancouver “Without new members, nothing else matters.  Without our youth and new members, it will only take a few decades for Rotary to disappear” .

Pretty dramatic words.  Here’s what I like to mention to clubs when we discuss membership growth.

Think how much more your club could accomplish with 10% more members.  How about 25% more members?  Now, think how much less work your club can accomplish with 10% fewer members.  With 25% fewer members.  If your club is even “maintaining current numbers” – I say that’s not good enough.  Consider how much the needs of your community have grown in the past 5 or 10 or 15 years.  Has your club’s ability to help grown with your community?

Lastly I ask you this.   Think again of that person who sponsored you into Rotary.   Why did they sponsor you?

Because they cared.  They knew what a difference Rotary would make in your life, in your family’s life, in your community.  Think of what Rotary means to you today.  The friendships,   the leadership skills you have picked up.  The community work you are so proud of, and yes even the improved business contacts.  Rotary is all that, and more.  With that in mind I hope you understand when I say the responsibility to acquire new members belongs – to you.

Every one of us.  Rotary has meant so much to you.  It offers too much to keep to yourself.

Between now and Xmas – is there anyone in this room who thinks they couldn’t possibly invite 2 people as guests to Rotary with the idea of maybe inviting them into the club?   That’s one every 3 months.

Seeing no hands I hope I can chat with your President in the new year and hear “Every member brought at least 2 guests to lunch since summer.  Our club welcomed them with open arms.  And from that exercise we now have – 2, 3, 10 15 new members!”

Rotary is a gift.  Someone gave that gift to you.  Don’t keep it to yourself.  This club has to grow.  It’s not up to your executive.  Or the person at the next table.  Not even the one who seems to be sponsoring so many into the club.

It’s up to you.

If you need direction in sponsoring a new member – ask executive.  They can even ask District for inspiration and guidance if need be.   But the most effective tool in recruiting – ask, ask, ask.  So it’s time to get off your ask, and Grow Rotary.

Good luck in growing your club’s impact on the community.  On changing the lives of even more fine people like your Outbound Exchange Student with us today, all because YOU took that step.

Kevin D. Hilgers

Governor 2012 2013 – Rotary International District 5370

Follow Kev’s Blog  www.kevinhilgers.com


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