[Show this slide before the webinar begins as people are arriving.]
Welcome everyone! Thank you for joining us for the first online workshop in the Grow Rotary Online Workshop series – which has been designed specifically for members in District 5890 to take part in. And this is just one part of a larger effort to Grow Rotary in Houston, as part of the Houston Membership Marketing Pilot. Some of you may be in clubs who have opted into the Pilot, and we’re excited to offer this online workshop series to all members regardless of whether your club has opted in or not.
Needed? A quick overview of the Pilot – this pilot is led by RI with help from a core team of leaders in your district and supports RI’s new strategic plan to expand our reach and enhance engagement. Houston was picked, as it’s the site of the 2022 RI Convention. We’re working in a 3 phase strategy, to take advantage of the natural spike in interest to Rotary which happens leading up to all Conventions. This first year, RI, along with a core team of Rotarians, will provide focused support to traditional clubs, assist in the development of new clubs, and look at new ways for people to engage with Rotary. Next year, RI Marketing staff will buy media in the Houston area to raise public awareness of Rotary and to drive prospective membership leads to the local clubs. The third phase will be all about evaluation of our efforts.
We’re thrilled you’ve joined us today. We’re going to learn about why being flexible and innovative is important, learn about ways your club can be more flexible and connect you to resources, and most importantly we’ll have time for questions at the end.
My name is Emily Tucker, and some of you may recognize me or have gotten emails from me over the last year. I am the Regional Membership Officer at Rotary International who works with your district. In addition to working with your district, I also support all the clubs and districts in the rest of Texas, as well as the plains states, the Midwest, and part of Ontario Canada.
With me today are a couple special guests from your district and your zone who are going to share ways their own clubs have adopted flexibility and been innovative – all in an effort to engage their members and attract more members to the Rotary family as well.
We have Sanjay Sharma, past president of the Rotary Club of Houston Skyline. And we also have current club president Donald Henderson of the Rotary Club of Los Fresnos, which is in District 5930 (just to the south of your district).
Before we get started, let’s take a minute to review some logistics so you can participate fully. This may be review for some of you.
You each have your own control panel on the right side of your screen that looks similar to the one here. You can use the orange arrow to open or close your control panel.
In order to maintain the highest sound quality possible, all but our featured guests and myself will be muted during the webinar.
We encourage you to submit questions or comments to our guests and to Rotary staff members who are with us today to help answer questions. You can do so by using the question box on your attendee control panel (on the right side of your screen). You can feel free to type in your questions as we go along. We have staff here that will answer some questions as they come in, but others might be held until the Q and A portion at the end of our session today.
You can also use the question box if you’re having technical difficulties. Simply describe the problems you are having in the question box in your control panel, and a Rotary staff member will assist you as soon as possible.
Now, let’s practice using the question box. Please type your name and which Rotary club you’re a member of. (Read/Greet a few of the people you can see coming in on the Question pane)
Please know that everyone will get a copy of the slides and recording of this webinar within 48 hours.
I’d like to first get a read on where all of you are with this topic.
In a moment, you’re going to see a poll come up on your screen. Use your mouse to select your answer and don’t forget to hit “submit.”
Why are you interested in exploring the topic of flexibility and innovation?
I’d like to find more ways to engage our current members. I’d like to attract new members to our club that might not currently be able to join. I’m sometimes bored with my current club experience and requirements and would like to change things up. All of the above.
Thanks everyone for your input.
So let’s dive in! Why is it important for clubs to practice flexibility and innovation?
Basically, research shows us that flexible and innovative clubs are more attractive to members and are more effective at keeping members engaged. Clubs have more flexibility in when, where, and how they meet, and what types of membership they offer than they ever have before. While we will only have time to cover a couple different options in today’s workshop, know that the sky is the limit when it comes to flexibility and finding ways to meet your current and prospective members’ needs. So this is really just the start of the conversation.
Research shows us that clubs that are flexible and innovative are better at keeping members engaged and are more attractive to new members. The idea that our club experiences are not necessarily one size fits all – but there are various layers and avenues to membership.
Flexibility is all apart of our bigger theme to Grow Rotary as RI President Mark Maloney emphasizes. It’s not only about growing in numbers though, it’s also about engagement and growing in opportunity. Now is the time for us to open our minds and think of new and exciting ways for people, who might not otherwise know about us, to experience Rotary.
We encourage your clubs to take risks, explore ideas without restrictions, and not be afraid of failure. If something you try doesn’t work, that’s ok! You can always go back to how things were.
With that in mind, let’s talk for a moment about the power of asking the question, “What if…?”
There’s a great TedTALK about adaptability and the inevitability of change, and in this TedTALK the speaker talks about asking the question, “What if…” when we’re thinking about change. So instead of asking about the past, asking What if? forces our brains to simulate – or to picture multiple possible versions of the future.
The strength of that vision or picture can tell us a lot about a person, or in this case, a club’s ability to adapt to change.
So I encourage you to consider these questions.
What if making changes frees up your club to have more time for service? What if making changes allows more time to get to know each other? What if making changes attracts people to your club who aren’t currently able to join?
What if being more flexible allows your club to thrive more?
So what are some ways clubs can do this? A few years ago, at the 2016 Council on Legislation (which is where representatives gather from every Rotary district in the world to vote on Rotary’s policies), the Council voted overwhelmingly to allow clubs to adopt flexibility to meet their members’ and communities’ needs.
Again, we’re only going to go over two of these today – specifically varying meeting schedules and formats and satellite clubs. But I strongly encourage you to visit Rotary.org/Flexibility, as this page was recently updated. There are how-to guides, frequently asked questions documents, links to stories, and more.
Clubs can change their meeting schedule. Clubs can choose how frequently they’d like to meet, as long as they’re offering at least 2 opportunities to meet per month. And they can vary their meeting formats – so a “meeting” doesn’t have to mean a “meeting” in the traditional sense we’re used to. It could be a social event, a service project, a gathering, or an online meeting. Clubs can relax or tighten attendance requirements as they see fit. While members still get reported to RI as active or honorary, clubs can offer multiple membership types – a few popular ones are corporate membership, family membership, associate membership. But clubs are thinking of new ones every day. Invite Rotaractors to be members of your club – Rotaractors can be members of both a Rotaract and Rotary club if they’d like, so this could be a great way to bridge the gap for them into your club. And some clubs even offer reduced dues for Rotaractors. Create a Satellite club – we will dive into this deeper. But basically a satellite club is a club within a club that meets at a different time and place to accommodate those that might not be able to make the sponsor club’s meeting.
In a moment we’re going to hear from our guests, and they’re sure to get you thinking about your own club. When we think about how we want our own club experience to be, it’s important to take a look at some hard but illuminating facts of why people have left Rotary.
When we surveyed former members globally, the majority gave one of three reasons for leaving: cost or time demands, general club environment, or unmet expectations. The expectations that aren’t met include volunteering and community involvement, friendship, networking, and service projects and events.
When we surveyed former members globally, 43 percent said they would not recommend their former clubs, and 35 percent said they would not recommend Rotary at all.
While these numbers are alarming, I actually see opportunity here. What this tells me is that we have the power within in our clubs, by way of flexibility and innovation, to change these numbers around. Clubs have the flexibility to re-structure the cost of their membership and attendance requirements, to change up their club environment and make it more vibrant and welcoming, and to do activities that MEET members’ expectations.
There are certainly clubs in your district and zone that have already made the leap.
We are going to hear about 2 different clubs that are already walking the walk.
First up, we have Sanjay Sharma, from the Rotary Club of Houston Skyline.
Sanjay and I sat down for a great conversation about the process his club went through to make some changes.
I’ll pass it over to you, Sanjay.
Listening was KEY Hurricane Harvey during presidential year Biggest problem was retention, so we decided to ASK our members what they like, what they want to do, and what organizations and causes are close to their heart. We were having a traditional meeting with a speaker every Tuesday, and we were only getting 5-10 members to show up sometimes. We found young professionals had a hard time making it to meetings. Once we knew how people felt, we could make a plan to change.
That’s great Sanjay. I’m so glad you highlight listening as the key because we find that sometimes offering more flexible membership options can lead to an “us vs them” or “old school vs new school” mentality. To your point, it’s important that careful consideration must be given to tailoring the flexible membership offerings so that the club is seen as attractive to prospective members but not seen as diluting the existing membership experience.
A bit more on surveying since that’s the best place to start. Sanjay, how did you go about asking your members how they felt? Did you meet in person, use a survey, or simply email everyone?
We met in person; invited people into our homes and sat down with them to hear what they wanted.
(Talks through changes that were made)
Thanks, Sanjay. One of the things I hear a lot from clubs is, “We want to make changes, but we don’t know how. It feels like a mountain to climb.” When Sanjay and I were talking, I appreciated his honesty when he said that the process of changing things IS hard. It takes work.
But, we can go back to that question of “What if…?” And I would ask, what if that hard work to make changes makes all the difference? Sanjay, can you talk about “the how” of making these changes with your meeting venue, meals, planning for service projects, etc?
SANJAY: Change IS hard Started this effort a couple years ago by polling members (if they all had a chance to express what they want, there will be fewer challenges in the process) Identified current format as potential best option Look at what’s working for other clubs in other areas or districts Logistics – delegate to people who have strengths in these areas - Talk with venue to negotiate prices and options Consider potluck or ordering in food Find venue where people can order food/drinks only if they want to
Thanks, Sanjay. One of my jobs as an RMO is to share stories of what other clubs in my regions are A quick example of a club I work with in Iowa – The RC of Cedar Valley is a happy hour club. They meet at a downtown pizza place that has a back meeting room, and members can order food and drinks if they want to. This keeps dues very low in their club, and many people come to the meeting right after work, and then go home after the meeting and cook dinner with their families.
Sanjay, can you share what the outcomes have been for your club in making these changes?
SANJAY: Increased by 20 members More engagement, MORE SERVICE, more time to socialize, more family-friendly opportunities for young parents Instead of closing a door to the past, we opened up the doors to so much more
EMILY: What advice would you give to a club that is hoping to be more flexible and innovative?
SANJAY: Reach out to other clubs and districts Be open to new ideas. We were set in our ways for 7 years, but then leadership said, “Let’s see if we can make changes.” It’s important to hear everyone’s ideas. Sometimes it’s CHANGE that propels us forward
Thanks again for sharing, Sanjay! Your club can really be an inspiration to others in your district.
Now we’re going to step outside of District 5890 for a moment, and talk with a neighbor of yours, Donald Henderson of the Rotary Club of Los Fresnos, Texas, in District 5930 (just south of your district). The Los Fresnos club first started as a satellite club of another club in District 5930, the Rotary Club of Port Isabel.
Donald is the current president and has been an integral part of the process of this club’s evolution to a fully-formed Rotary club.
First, let’s review quickly what a satellite club is, as there are not many of them in District 5890.
A satellite club is basically a club within a club that meets at a different time and place and offers a different club experience. The members are technically still members of the sponsor club, thus RI dues are paid through that sponsor club.
Satellite clubs still offer opportunities to meet (at least twice per month). There is a minimum of 8 people needed to form a satellite club, and if a satellite club grows to 20 members, they can choose to remain a satellite of its sponsor club OR it can apply for a charter to be a full Rotary club. One of the most crucial things is that there’s a good working relationship between the satellite club and sponsor club.
The important thing to remember is that a satellite club may be capturing people who wouldn’t have otherwise joined or may have left because their needs weren’t being met.
Let’s turn this over to Donald Henderson now to tell us about the process his club went through.
Our process of forming as a satellite club of the Rotary Club of Port Isabel was pleasant and successful. Under the guidance of Past District Governor Andy Hagan and District Membership Chair Luis Cavazos, Past District Governor and Club President of the Rotary Club of Port Isabel, Kent Mallquist, worked hard to establish a new satellite club in Los Fresnos, Texas.
Andy and Kent met with a core group of prospective members in our town, myself included, a few of whom were former Rotarians. They saw a need for Rotary in our community, as well as an interest. When they met with us, they shared their vision for a club, and we were very excited about it! Kent shared his passion for Rotary with us and encouraged us to lead from the start. He provided weekly guidance and feedback, which were both very important to our success.
PDG Kent taught us about leadership, he was present at all of our first meetings, and he mentored from the sidelines.
The Port Isabel club helped us to get a structure in place, as they were our sponsor club. We found a good meeting place and started and inviting other community members to join us. We did several small projects to begin with and invited engaging speakers to out meetings. We partnered with the school district and local churches on several community projects so we did not have to do the heavy lifting but could make a difference. I emerged as a leader of the club and appointed a leadership team to help guide us and build a strong foundation. I invited 10 community leaders I know including the Mayor, city manager, school board members to learn about Rotary. As a result, our satellite club grew quickly beyond 20 members and officially chartered as a full Rotary club last April. We will be at 29 by the end of the month.
EMILY: Can you talk about your meeting format and how that fits into the demographics of your community?
(CLICK TO NEXT SLIDE)
The community of Los Fresnos is a small bedroom community with 7,000 residents, so most of our members work in nearby cities We have a built in network of people who are apart of other community organizations; our children attend the local schools, and we know each other from other boards, churches, socially First & second Thursday’s of the month the meetings are at 7am and end promptly at 7:50am to allow everyone to attend a meeting and make it to work. Third Thursday of the month is a lunch meeting at 12- 12:50 to allow us to host school children “student of the month” from our local schools. This get’s the word out about Rotary to their parents and teaches the students about community service. (The superintendant is one of the founding members) Fourth Thursday is an evening social at 5:30 to allow our group to build the friendships.
Satellite clubs can be relevant to Houston – both with bigger or smaller clubs and with many outlying smaller communities and people commuting long distances.
Thanks, Donald. What I love about this story is it shows the power of connection and collaboration. Satellite clubs can form for a variety of reasons, but this story shows how important the mentor and mentee relationship is in Rotary. It reminds of the old quote, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Flexibility and innovation is all about the greater good of Rotary and offering opportunities for more people to engage with us.
Another common concern I hear about satellite clubs is when the sponsor club is worried they will lose members to the satellite club. Or that their numbers will go down if the satellite club grows to 20 members and breaks off to charter as a Rotary club.
I always encourage people to shift that thought. And again we turn to, “What if…” What if that satellite club hadn’t existed? What if the members of your club who joined the satellite would have left Rotary? And what if the new members of the satellite club wouldn’t have had that opportunity to join that fit their needs?
So I want to again thank Donald and Sanjay for sharing their stories with us. You’ll all have a chance to ask them questions in a few minutes, but first…
Let’s take a look at resources that are available to all members. RI has a variety of resources designed specifically for helping clubs navigate the options, benefits, and challenges of adopting flexibility.
All our resources can be found at Rotary.org/Membership
As Sanjay talked about, it’s crucial to survey your members to find out what THEY want.
Luckily, RI has a Member Satisfaction Survey all ready to go for you. It’s part of our Membership Assessment Tools which has other helpful exercises in it as well.
This survey can be put into Survey Monkey or given as a hard copy – you have the freedom to customize it for your club.
Our Flexibility webpage is awesome! It’s been recently updated, and there are how-to guides, FAQs, links to stories from other clubs, videos, and more. Please check it out!
Most popular right now are:
-Guide to Satellite Clubs -Guide to Corporate Membership -Club models matrix
Our Learning Center is much improved and has several E-Learning courses, where you can work through a sort of “choose your own adventure” style of module and learn what other clubs have tried.
Before we go to our Question and Answer section, here are a few things to remember.
Ok, now we have time for participants to ask questions to our featured guests, Sanjay and Donald, and we also have staff experts ready to help with questions as well.
You can type questions into your question pane, and we’ll get as many answered as we can.
-What if my club is afraid of making changes? -Will forming a satellite club save my dying club?
Grow Rotary Online Workshop Series District 5890 Membership Marketing Pilot
WELCOME TO THE WEBINAR. TO CONNECT TO AUDIO:
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Emily Tucker, Regional
Membership Officer, RI
IN CONVERSATION WITH:
Rotary Club of Los Fresnos,
TX, District 5930
Rotary Club of Houston
Skyline, District 5890
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Why is practicing
flexibility and innovation
innovative clubs are
more appealing to
and help keep current
WHAT’S THE BENEFIT?
• making changes frees up your club to have more time for
• making changes allows more time to get to know each other?
• making changes attracts people to your club who aren’t
currently able to join?
1. Change your meeting schedule
2. Vary your meeting format
3. Relax attendance requirements
4. Offer multiple membership types
5. Invite Rotaractors to be members of your club
6. Create a Satellite club
6 WAYS CLUBS CAN BE FLEXIBLE
BREAKING THROUGH BARRIERS TO MEMBERSHIP
too much time
31% 21% 15%
Would NOT recommend their club
Would NOT recommend Rotary
ROTARY CLUB OF HOUSTON SKYLINE
Listening is key to becoming an effective change agent
ROTARY CLUB OF HOUSTON SKYLINE
√ Changed meeting time to 1st and 3rd Tuesdays
(regular meeting with speaker)
√ 2nd Tuesday always a service project
√ 4th Tuesday a social (restaurant, bar, Rotarian’s
√ Working to provide online presence at meetings
ROTARY CLUB OF HOUSTON SKYLINE
WHAT IS A SATELLITE CLUB?
• Minimum of 8
• Different meeting
• RI dues are paid
through sponsor club
• Different club
direction and projects
• Separate boards -
Chair instead of Club
ROTARY CLUB OF LOS FRESNOS, TX
• Small changes can make a big
• If you try something and it doesn’t
work, you can always go back to the
way things were
• If your club is happy with the way
things are, you don’t have to make