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Effective Rotary Clubs in the Era of COVID-19

Effective clubs pursue the object of Rotary while embracing the motto of Service Above Self. They follow the Seven Areas of Focus and carry out activities along the Five Avenues of Service (club service, vocational service, community service, international service, and youth services). Since the pandemic is to stay with us in the Rotary Year 2021-2022, it is imperative that we revisit the components of running an effective Rotary club in the “new normal.”

1. Retain & Increase Membership

The core element of Rotary is the recruitment of new members, the retention and development of existing members, and the formation of new clubs. To be effective, Rotary clubs need dedicated, knowledgeable members who wish to do community service.

Check out the membership strategies below, presented by CMIRC Charter President Roger Lindley on 28 August 2021 at this year’s District 3360 Virtual District Training Assembly (DTA).

It is noteworthy that this year, Rotary International has added three new guidelines. These are diversity, equity, and inclusion.

An increasing membership base results in:

  • more opportunities for a club to perform service,

  • more supporters of the Rotary Foundation,

  • a larger pool of volunteers and future leaders, and

  • greater fellowship (aka FUN!)

Although clubs and districts are canceling or postponing their in-person meetings and events right now, they are still finding ways to keep up their fellowship, reimagine their service efforts and respond to the pandemic. CMIRC holds its regular meetings on every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month on ZOOM, as well as the 9@9 online meeting on the 9th of every month to catch up with our overseas members.

Let us explore how one could become an effective member of Rotary:

Effective Rotarians attend club meetings regularly. They participate in committees. They attend club events and district functions. They enjoy meeting other members and regard fellowship as crucial as the actual business part of a Rotary meeting. They dedicate time, energy, and funds as part of their commitment. Effective Rotarians believe that each vocation in Rotary’s classification system complements each other. They try to excel at their work and help others to reach their full potential. They are respectful and have self-discipline. They are empathetic and feel compassion for others. They maintain a positive attitude and portray a good image of Rotary.

At CMIRC, we understand the above ideal is almost impossible to achieve. Do not forget, Dear Reader: “we can do anything but not everything!”

2. Implement Successful Service Projects

Successful service projects involve the Seven Areas of Focus. They address a great need in the community and benefit as many people as possible. They are sustainable and focus on long-term relationships.

Interconnecting projects are a great way to develop ongoing relationships and retain membership. Successful service projects allow active membership involvement. They are scalable, grant eligible, and pursue international partners. Collaborating with other clubs on district or global grants opens up new opportunities. Successful service projects have a well-designed public image campaign, which stimulates public interest and helps build relationships with potential donors, volunteers, and media outlets.

3. Support The Rotary Foundation

Effective clubs support the mission of the Rotary Foundation through financial contributions. They ensure that the programs of the Foundation and its mission will continue to grow.

4. Develop Leaders Beyond Club Level

Effective clubs plan for the future by continually developing potential leaders for office at all levels. District leaders help coordinate club efforts that could yield results that no club could achieve on its own. Strong leaders at each level of Rotary ensure that clubs accomplish their goals.

In closing, as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads uncertainty and hardship around the world, Rotarians never stopped innovating, caring for those affected, and showing that even at a distance there are ways to help.


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