Take steps to keep recession from hurting retention
Judi Beard-Strubing is a regional Rotary International membership coordinator from Zone 23 and a retired Wall Street financial adviser.
In a global recession, humanitarian services – and volunteers – are more necessary than ever. So how can your club hold on to members who are experiencing financial difficulties?
"We're hearing reports that some areas of North America are experiencing resignations from Rotary due to the economy," says Judi Beard-Strubing, a regional Rotary International membership coordinator from Zone 23 and a retired Wall Street financial adviser.
Club presidents and district governors can take steps to help prevent the recession from negatively affecting member retention, says Beard-Strubing, who has given presentations and facilitated workshops on this subject in recent months. For example:
- Find a less costly venue for club meetings, or talk to the restaurant where you currently meet about the possibility of less expensive meals. Consider changing meeting times so that club members can attend without having to pay for a full meal.
- Give members a way to stay active in the club without having to write a lot of checks. This might mean partnering with local organizations on more hands-on projects, such as stocking a local food bank. Consider waiving a struggling member’s dues for a few months in exchange for more project participation.
- Keep your radar tuned to any signs of financial difficulty among club members, and be sensitive to those who might be feeling the pinch. Identify members who might leave for financial reasons, and reach out to them sooner rather than later.
- Remember that fellowship adds value to Rotary membership. Find inexpensive ways for club members to socialize regularly, such as pot-luck dinners. Consider starting a job bank in a club or district newsletter or Web site.
- Keep an eye on membership records to see how the economic situation is affecting your roster. This applies at both the club and district level.
It is possible to retain club members during a recession.
"If we approach this in a proactive way, we may cause a member to put resigning from Rotary or cutting down on Foundation giving further down on that list of where they will cut corners," Beard-Strubing says.
Look for more tips from membership experts online throughout Membership & Extension Month.