Club presidents critical to Rotary
Attendees at the 2009 RI Convention in Birminghman, England. Rotary Images/Monika-Lozinska Lee
Rotary leaders asked club presidents to work hard to make the next year the best in the life of their club -- and, as a result, one of the best years of their lives as well.
At a special summit for club presidents and presidents-elect, held 22 June during the 2009 RI Convention in Birmingham, England, both RI President Dong Kurn Lee and President-elect John Kenny stressed the vital role that club presidents play in the life of the organization. They encouraged attendees to push their clubs to be active in service as a means of achieving membership growth and retention.
"If the president is organized and enthusiastic, then the club will succeed," said Lee. "A successful club can do so much more to Make Dreams Real. It is important not just to have members in our club, but members who are qualified, skilled, and motivated."
"I firmly believe," said Kenny, "that the club president is the most important person in Rotary." He asked presidents-elect to have their clubs take on at least one service project related to one of next year's three presidential emphases of water, health and hunger, and literacy. "When Rotary clubs are seen to be active, membership is strong," he explained.
Kenny also stressed that member retention is as important as recruitment.
"It does no good to have an influx one year and an exodus the next," he said. "We don't just want numbers, we want true Rotarians."
Eleanor MacAlister, president of the Rotary Club of Ellon, Grampian, Scotland, shared the success of her club's Step One program, which makes it the responsibility of every member to come up with names of people to invite into the club. Of the 15 candidates who were named in the first three-month period, seven became members. A club member also attends every local chamber of commerce meeting.
"Take risks with membership initiatives," she told the summit attendees.
Other club presidents also shared success stories, and directed feedback to the leaders during a question-and-answer session. A few Rotarians insisted that more still needs to be done to open up some clubs to women.