Rotary District 7680’s governor, Chris Jones, commanded complete silence from his audience, as he detailed recruiting fundamentals to attending members of Charlotte for Haiti Provisional Rotary Club (CHRC) meeting that aspired to get their club chartered within the Rotary International’s fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2013.
Diving straight into his presentation, “Let’s talk about what you, as a club, need to do to get yourself chartered,” announced Jones, following a quick synopsis on Rotary International’s initial launch more than a century ago. “We [the district] will teach you the How and the What of Rotary, as you reach out to us and ask for it,” he added, “But you all need to come up with the Why.” As he unpacked his why notion, Jones, an 11-year Rotarian, encouraged his audience to not only create its individual stories, but also its collective narrative, which he said would serve as an effective recruiting tool. “I can’t create that for you,” added the speaker, “That is your personal story both as individuals and a rotary club.” In Jones’ words, pinpointing various motivational factors that drove our passion for Rotary would help identify the unique characteristics of the club, as well as its strengths and weaknesses.
CHRC has nursed its provisional status for more than a year, employing various recruiting methods to attract new members and eventually get chartered. While some of the club’s tactics have worked, recruits often complained about the difficult choices they faced: commit to the club’s Saturday meetings or their children weekend activities. Hence, CHRC has struggled to obtain Rotary International’s 25-member minimum requirement. Nevertheless, club members have nothing to worry about, according to Jones, who helped provide a pragmatic roadmap to achieving their ultimate goal.
The governor spoke at length to members about a more strategic approach to overcoming their obstacles, as he established the stoic difference that existed between attracting and recruiting members. “There is a subtle but significant difference,” emphasized Jones, describing the former as a group with a desire and motivation to participate, whereas the latter required coercion and considerable efforts to keep the motivated. “If they [the latter] join under that premise,” he added, “They are going to end up leaving.”
Beyond creating a personal storybook and attracting quality members, Governor Jones offered several key tactics he perceived as instrumental for CHRC’s growth. Among them, improving the club’s visibility through a robust PR campaign that would leave no doubt in the minds of district-wide Rotary clubs, both community and opinion leaders, and the general public about what the club is and its goals and objectives. Jones even issued a challenge to club members, helping them select February 28, 2013, as a tentative date to become chartered. Members welcomed the challenge that was not only measurable and pragmatic, but also provided a structure for future plans. CHRC can now base its projects and recruiting plans on the late February deadline, when it would drop its provisional status with a full integration in Rotary International’s organizational culture.
The meeting that went beyond its scheduled hour ended with the warm applause of the humbled audience that anticipated the governor’s return to the club in late October, when he would be updated of its progress. As he ended his presentation, Jones cautioned his enthusiastic crowd; “A lot of our chartered clubs never get pass the 25-member point,” he stated, stressing getting chartered was not the ultimate goal. “You must continue to work hard to improve membership,” he added, closing with the following statement. “It’s important to me that you all have made a commitment, put a stake in the ground and want to be a Rotary club,” said the governor, throwing his weight behind CHRC. “So Now that you made this commitment,” he added, “My commitment to you is I’m going to help you get there,” statements the small crowd rewarded with numerous nods of approval.
- CHRC Improves Community Relations through Social Media (charhaitirotaryclub.wordpress.com)