Reimagining Membership Engagement: The Key To Revive Rotary

The Rotary District 3360 President-Elect Training Seminar (PETS) & District Team Training Seminar (DTTS) were held on 23-24 April 2022 at the Wiengthong Hotel in Lampang. District Governor (DG) Jirayuth Hirunyawat opened the event. District Governor-Elect (DGE) Supaluck Lohajoti introduced the motto for Rotary Year 2022-2023, “Imagine Rotary.” She spoke about the goals and vision of District 3360 with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Rotarian dignitaries PDG Waewdao Limlenglert, PDG Kamolsak Visitsakulchai, PDG Anurak Napawan, ADG Saran Chantalay, Past President (PP) Dr. Busabong Jamroendararasame, and PP Apisak Jompong – amongst others - shared their insight and extensive knowledge with an audience of around 170 Rotarians from clubs all over Northern Thailand. The lectures and workshops were designed to enhance leadership skills and prepare the incoming club presidents to run their organization more efficiently while strengthening membership.

Adapt and Retool

The takeaway from the two-day seminar, which I attended with my daughter Charlotte, was that adaptability and flexibility are crucial for retaining Rotary membership. Rotary is a 127-year-old organization that must continuously evolve and adapt to maintain relevance.

Rotary International President-elect Jennifer Jones from the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario, Canada, believes that Rotary needs to adapt and retool to engage members better. Engaging members is crucial to retaining membership. According to statistics by Rotary International, 30% of Rotarians leave their clubs due to cost or time issues, 23% leave because of the club environment, and 19% leave due to unmet expectations. We must consider what members want to get from Rotary and assign them meaningful responsibilities.

“It is our offer of hands-on service, personal growth, leadership development, and lifelong friendships that creates purpose and passion,” Jones said in a live online address to incoming District Governors on January 20, 2022.

Embracing change also means exploring flexible club models. The "Passport Membership" category of the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) allows prospective and existing members who find it difficult to attend regular meetings - due to work, family, travel, or residence changes - to remain/become members with flexible requirements.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many CMIRC members and supporters were stranded outside Thailand. CMIRC has come up with an innovative solution to engage them. We keep in touch with them through a regular online meeting we hold on the 9th of every month on ZOOM.

Social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) may also help us engage our audience. We are proud of our dedicated members and their achievements, and we are not afraid to show it!