Vikash Shah wanted to make an impact during his year as presidentof the Rotary Club of Dar-es-Salaam Oyster Bay, Tanzania.
To prepare, he attended a district team training seminar held bySharmila Bhatt, governor of District 9211, who shared her visionfor growing Rotary. She especially wanted to see new clubs in theTanzania portion of her district, which also includes Uganda. Shahwas convinced that there was potential for more clubs in the areabut wasn’t satisfied by starting just one. So he gathered peoplewho shared his energy and enthusiasm, and he set out to createfive new clubs.
“My crazy vision ... brought Rotary almost 130 members in a period of five
months,” Shah writes. “I learned these
lessons: attract new members, encourage
giving to the Foundation through EREY
[Every Rotarian, Every Year], and make
your costs affordable.” Not everyone has Shah’s energy and can start five clubs in less than
a year. But with these tips from our membership experts, you can
greatly improve your ability to charter clubs. By doing so, you help
fulfill our goals of growing Rotary and increasing our capacity to
improve lives in communities around the world.
6 TIPS AND
FOR STARTING CLUBS
MEMBERSHIP ❶ Look for opportunities.
Start by making a list of communities in your district thatcould benefit from a new club. Consider the various clubmodels that appeal to different groups of people. Includecommunities that have no Rotary clubs and those thathave unaddressed needs. You can see all the clubs in yourdistrict by using Rotary’s Club Finder or the Rotary ClubLocator mobile app.
❷ Get others to help.
Appoint an advocate for new clubs. This person can guidethe effort to organize the new club and can act as liaisonbetween the sponsor club and the new club. Find the keypeople, including a new club adviser, who will teach clubofficers about their roles and responsibilities. Get thesupport of your district governor.
❸ Ask current members and community
leaders to find prospective members.
Two out of three prospective members who are referredby a Rotarian join Rotary. If prospects can’t join your clubbut are interested in Rotary, refer them to another club.
❹ Make a communication plan.
Craft a clear, concise message that communicates whatyou’re offering and how prospective members wouldbenefit from joining. Tailor your message to the audience.
Use social media and traditional media to publicize thenew club.
❺ Hold an information session.
Bring materials to share and consider showing a Rotaryvideo along with your presentation about discoveringRotary. Get to know each prospective member by followingup with them individually later.
❻ Offer guidance — but not too much.
Allow the new club’s members to create their own cultureand traditions. Members of the sponsor club can supportthem by sharing their Rotary knowledge, helping trainleaders, or attending the new club’s events.
Here are four resources that can help you learn even moreabout forming a new club:
❶ Starting a Rotary Club
This PDF covers the nine steps to starting a Rotary cluband what you’ll need to do it. A New Rotary ClubApplication is included.
❷ Rotary Club Models
This one-page chart lists eight club models, how theydiffer, and who they might appeal to. No two clubs arethe same. Design one that meets your community’s needs.
❸ Building New Clubs Together
This one-hour webinar explores how to attract a morediverse membership, new ways to incorporate flexibilityinto a club plan, and new project possibilities to keepmembers of your new club engaged.
❹ Be a Vibrant Club
Our classic guide, this resource charts a leadership planthat will challenge you to create a club that engages yourmembers from the start and pursues fresh ideas. Choosefrom 11 regional versions.
Vikash Shah and Sharmila Bhatt