Tracy Bray introduced the lunch speakers, Joan Barrett and Joan Littleford or Joan squared as they refer to themselves.  Both have been Rotarians for ten years.  Joan Barrett is currently District 7070 Membership Chair and Past President of the Rotary Club of Scarborough and Director of Membership and Public Image.  She is also the Chair of Free Reading Canada and is a Literacy Consultant.  Joan Littleford is a member of the District Membership Committee and is Past President of the Rotary Club of Whitby.  She is also on the executive of BELRAG (Basic Education and Literacy Rotary Action Group) and is also a Literacy Consultant.  Both are retired educators.
Building membership in Rotary is a top priority according to Joan Barrett.  Simply put, when the membership is strong, the Club is better able to serve and act on the unique needs of the community.  So how do Rotarians work together to strengthen membership?  Well, listen up as Joan and Joan share some tips.  September is Education/Literacy month and based on a survey done, five categories were highlighted.  Currently the Rotary Club of Belleville is down 1 1/2 members over three years so what ideas can we can come up with to focus on member growth.
  • Membership Goals and Plans -- the President submits the Club's goals and plans to District.  One of the focuses should be on ensuring all seasoned and new members are actively engaged.  This is important.  Does the Club's fee structure allow for flexibility, ie., a "couple" fee or an "under 40 fee"?
  • Is the Club active in the local community?  How visible is the Club in the community.  What partnerships are there?  Does the community know how dollars are raised and spent?
  • Active and Intentional Membership Engagement -- by raising Rotary's profile, members become engaged through fellowship, recognition, forming partnerships and providing community focused projects such as the Rotary Fitness Park, Rotary Music Park, Clowns for Kids, Rotary Reindeer Park, the pirate ship just to name a few
  • Visibility in the Community -- it is very important for the Club to have a strong image in the community through social media, local media (print and radio) and to share with the community the successes with respect to monies raised and the good results and specify the beneficiaries.  Using events such as PorchFest is a great way to follow-up with anyone expressing an interest in the Rotary Club.  Jot down their names and contact them, invite to a meeting or event.  And just as important is to maintain and care for current members.
  • Strong Leadership/Meaningful Fellowship -- a Rotary Club is not a one person plan.  The focus should be on a distributed leadership model, engaging and touching base with all members.  The president plays a pivotal role in planning for and encouraging a membership focus through all aspects of the Club.  Although it is important to choose a numerical citation goal, it is more significant to lead a membership focus that results in more community members anxious to become Rotary members.  Be visible in the community and post all events on social media while building your following.  Choose projects that speak to community members because they are specific, relevant and fun.  Plan for the care of potential, new and existing members so all feel collectively cared for.  People will want to join the meaningful fellowship of Rotary.