Membership, Being Flexible
When I was asked if I can make write on membership and my work on it during my work as chair for the membership committee, I was just wondering what I should be writing. Not that I didn’t know what to write, but that I had too many things to share as what more can be done to make the membership stronger. Then I decided, I better start with one topic which will explain how to work on the membership application and then how we take them forward and make sure to make them feel that they are within a family, the Rotary Family.
We are Rotary eClub One, the first eClub charter of Rotary International. We are members from 15 different countries and 4 continents. We regularly receive applications from a range of different countries.
This year of Pandemic when the clubs around the world were having problems with the physical meetings, we were one who were receiving maximum membership applications. Rotarians around the world were looking for virtual options and when they go to search for eClubs, we were the one who were easy to find on internet.
1. Applications: The applications were flying in from all around the world. We had applications coming from Rotarians looking for virtual options, but we also had ‘new to Rotary’ members applications who wanted to join us. Though we already have some ‘new to Rotary’ members with us in the club and every year we do get new applications from those who are new to Rotary but this year, it was a flood. We had too many applications to work on.
2. Communication: We had a format in which we use to write back to the new applicants. But 40% it so happened that we didn’t hear from them. Then we use to take on to the mobile texting, WhatsApp, and the Facebook messenger too as to write back to them. I feel, if they have made an application with us, it means they wish to join us and then its alright to try our best to reach them. We already have 2 members right now who started communicating after getting the WhatsApp message and one member who started communicating from Facebook messenger chats. They were not getting our emails to their inbox, but our emails were going to the spam / junks. One also started to communicate after getting my message to his LinkedIn. We then started to use alternative ways to communicate, meaning after writing at least 3 emails at an interval or minimum of 15 days. And then when we ended up communicating with them by alternate ways, we use to come to know that they waited for us but as we didn’t respond they joined another club. Well, anyways they were still Rotarians anyways.
3. Being Flexible and considerate: We got some applications where in the applicants were were not good in their English communication. As we are a club which takes in membership from around the world, our language of communication is English. We had 2 applications who were much interested to join our club, make donations and work on international projects but language was the barrier. It was important to keep their enthusiasm. We didn’t stop our communication with them by says sorry, but we directed them to the local Rotary Clubs in their region. One of them did join the Rotary club in his country.
4. Mentors: We had 3 excellent mentors. One was PP of our club, One PDG and these both from USA and another from Germany who has been too active in working with the children of migrants. We are regions been distributed in 3 parts for all three mentors. All 3 Ladies were the best to have with the membership committee. For me, to have them with us on membership committee, it was blessing for me. They made sure that the new Rotarian was known to our club well and always ready to help them as needed.
5. Joint efforts: Our President, Rtn Peter Zwicky from Switzerland was more enthusiastic than anyone else. As the member’s induction is done by the secretary on our website section, where the new member would be introduced and members will send their wishes to the new member, the membership committee would make sure that a mentor has been introduced to the new member and that the new member is known to the virtual culture of eClub One. At the same time our President was always making sure that the new member feels the best, as that coming out of the terra club culture and be in virtual club culture, the new member is well engaged with the club’s activity. He used to personally communicate by emails, WhatsApp or by making calls with them and talking to them. The personal touch is necessary. Joint efforts make the club stronger.
For the Rotary year 2019-20 we lost few Rotarians who were having difficulties with the pandemic situation while we got many new members who are not as part of this Rotary eClub One Family.
I have worked for last 2 years along with membership committee and 2019-20 as membership chair. I would suggest every club to not discard any applications if the communication is not happening immediately and the applicants do not respond immediately. We are Rotary, its our work to make sure what we do is more than 100% and thus, we need to take up all the ways to communicate with the applicants.
Also, not all members will be with same understanding, we will surely need to be flexible with our thoughts and ideas but just that the ‘Service Above Self’ should not be compromised.
This is just a part of membership. As what I feel, membership is related with making sure the members are kept engaged and many more things and as far as the members are given a focus, we do not need to worry, we then have a strong club with much stronger membership.
Rtn Dharmesh Shah.
Club: Rotary eClub One.
Dated: 30th July 2021