Persistence pays off for North Carolina Rotary club
The Rotary Club of Troutman celebrated its charter by making a $1,000 donation to The Rotary Foundation for polio eradication. Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Troutman
Persistence has paid off for a handful of Rotarians determined to launch a new Rotary club in the tiny town of Troutman, North Carolina, USA.
The fledgling club celebrated its charter, which the club received in October, during a special dinner 12 February with 28 members plus guests and district officers, and punctuated the evening by making a $1,000 donation to The Rotary Foundation for polio eradication.
"People here are very passionate about Rotary," explains Deborah Bowen, a member of the Rotary Club of Top of the Lake-Mooresville, which sponsored the Troutman club. "Troutman's an old town, and there's not a lot of business. But people are very welcoming."
Bowen was appointed by the district governor to help start the new club shortly after she and her husband moved their office from Mooresville to Troutman, a community of 2,100 about 10 miles north.
Six clubs already existed within a 12-mile radius of Troutman, but Bowen and a small group of residents were convinced the town would support its own club. With the help of two other Rotarians from her club, she rounded up eight prospective members, who began to meet in October 2008.
"We lined up a great public relations gal, who made up fliers" using Humanity in Motion Start with Rotary material, Bowen recalls. They also put notices on town bulletin boards and began diligently recruiting people who were well connected in the community.
After they assisted at a high school event, the school's principal became a member, and the town's other three principals followed suit. Another big break came, Bowen says, when a popular young pastor joined.
Follow-through is critical in promoting a club's growth, Bowen says. "You can't just call one time; you have to follow up."
She came up with a visual prop to encourage the provisional club members to think about membership every day of the week: flower pots to put on their desks with three sticks in them, each representing a person they had identified as a likely member. When they brought in a new member, they got a flower sticker to put on their stick.
The club held a fundraiser in December at one of the town's four schools, bringing in more than $8,000 to buy gift cards for 70 needy children.
“The Rotary Club of Troutman was once just a vision that grew into a purpose: community service conducted by local folks who become Rotarians," says Scott Mitcham, the club's charter president. "We have already and will continue to make a difference.”
Bowen is excited for the charter club, even though the economy has been rough on her business and community. "We may be going through some tough times for our business," she says, "but we would never give up on Rotary."
This is the latest in a series of profiles on new clubs. If you have ideas for a club to be profiled, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other stories in the series have included:
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