In the USA we see an ageing population (also in Thailand), declining membership in all service club organizations and younger generations with different priorities in life from this source:
“It’s hard for a millennial to join that group and feel like he or she is contributing and getting something back,” Johnsen said. “There’s such an age gap.”
Johnsen said he’s more interested in building community than rubbing elbows, and said it’s critical to give new members specific tasks that make them feel that they belong and are needed.
Service club leaders have taken notice. Beasley said Rotary clubs must demonstrate they’re doing more than having lunch. They must highlight their many community projects. “I think sometimes you have to get somebody involved in something,” he said.
Views from your Charter President related to our club:
What has our club done to work on being more appealing for membership? Our club from the beginning has made meals an option regarding meeting attendance to minimize cost of membership. Immediately after RI removed the requirement for weekly meetings our club went to two meetings per month and requires attending one meeting per month for attendance. Last Friday of the month optional lunch meeting are held for social interaction between members. Fifth Friday of the month social gatherings are held for club members and anyone interested in attending to talk with club members or learning about Rotary – free pizza. We have initiated 9at9 monthly ZOOM meeting to be inclusive of members out of Chiang Mai and others who might be interested in the club’s activities.
On the topic of “Service above Self”. Service was a key principle in the founding of this club. The club offers a unique opportunity to become actively involved in improving our community. Yes, we want to have fun doing this. There is an abundance of social activities in the Chiang Mai area. Just review Steve Yarnold’s weekly What’s Happening in Chiang Mai email. You will find numerous opportunities to show up, pay, eat, drink, be entertained and go home activities. There is no problem with this. But, how do you find ways for getting involved in and helping improve our local community and to network with like-minded people? Duhhhh – Rotary!
As I am fond of saying: “We can do anything. We can not do everything”. We are a small club in a region offering immense challenges of need. As a small club, we have members filling multiple roles both participating in multiple service projects and filling multiple administrative roles at the same time. At times, we have to ask former Rotarians and friends to help because we lack membership to fully engage and support our projects.
So, if more members will enable our club to do better and do more how do we get more members? Present members can talk about the club with others. How about wearing something identifying you as a Rotarian (shirt, pin, hat, tattoo (just joking)) at places other than a meeting? If you have a business or health appointment with someone, give them one of your CMIRC business cards? Maybe a Rotary decal on your motorcycle (like Charter member Colin), car window or bumper? Maybe something about Rotary or the club on your personal social media postings? Maybe you have an idea that you can share with our new Membership Chair Viki Thomason?