Early in my Rotary career, I was appointed as the Membership Chair of my club. Back then, we were following the “Classification System”. It was designed to allow into club membership, two Rotary members for each occupation classification. Over time, Rotary has migrated away from this membership style. Clubs are now made up of business people from within our communities and their friends and/or acquaintances. Every club has their own culture and it may not appeal to everyone in the community. Hence, we have become very “clickish”. In today’s world, . . .
in order for our clubs to be more appealing and relevant, we must diversify our membership.  We must be more inclusive, not with just our friends, but with everyone who has the potential to become a ROTARIAN.  We must offer equal opportunity for all.   But at the same time, we must choose our members carefully.  They must be a good fit for your club.  Studies have been made that show people who leave Rotary usually do so within 3 years of joining. 
So we must stop the “revolving door” with our membership.  Our clubs must become more flexible and adapt to an ever-changing world. So how do we embrace this change?  I have been told that our members really love the mix of “on-line” meetings and the traditional meetings.  This allows members the flexibility to either attend in person or by phone/computer if they are out of town. 
We must also look at other “club models” such as
  • E-Clubs,
  • Satellite Clubs,
  • Passport Clubs,
  • Rotaract and
  • even “cause based clubs”. 
August is MEMBERSHIP AND NEW CLUB DEVELOPMENT MONTH.  This is an excellent time for clubs to access their current membership and recruiting tools.  Rotary Club Members are the heart & soul of our organization.  So let’s select them wisely and provide the flexibility they demand. 
I look forward to the many opportunities that we have as we reach out into our communities to “LEND A HELPING HAND”.
Eddie Bartnesky, DG