Those slated for the position of Rotary Club president each year attend a president-elect training seminar. A video recording of the seminar, held this past winter, features Kristi Govertsen of Rotary International District 5100.
She has served as membership chair for her district and this past Monday members of Sunnyside Noon Rotary Club learned her strategy for improving membership within a club means taking action.
Govertsen said membership within an organization, particularly Rotary, is about the people and the relationships they maintain.
Those relationships are with other members of a club, but they are also the relationships with the community the club serves.
“Membership means people,” said Govertsen.
She said seeing the dissolution of a club when she first became the membership director for her district made her think about the people and relationships within an organization.
“There are six types of relationships,” said Govertsen.
They include the relationship with one’s self, the relationships within an organization, “…the come hang out with us relationship, the let’s hang out for a long time relationship, the how can we be awesome and the how can we be super awesome relationships,” she said.
Developing each of the different relationships to encourage membership takes an approach that is sometimes forgotten, according to Govertsen.
Govertsen said developing a relationship with potential new members can be compared to a marriage relationship.
She said, “Too often Rotary members focus on the wedding.” The wedding would be the introduction to the club. “If all you do is talk about the wedding, it can be an uncomfortable first date.”
Govertsen said it is important to focus more on the dating relationship. Dating is the stage in which potential members are guests.
If a guest feels welcome and is invited to return to meetings, they are more likely to feel as if they wish to become a part of an organization.
Current members, said Govertsen, aren’t particularly active in seeking out new members. “You can’t just invite a guest once…you have to use small, sustained steps to meet a goal.”
Govertsen said all Rotarians believe membership is important.
“The problem isn’t membership…it’s taking action,” she said.
Govertsen suggested that each member think about the type of Rotarian they want to be, “…be nice and do something.”