Actively engaging new members

By Alan Hurst, Rotary coordinator, zone 32

On 7 September, we held a “Success Seminar” in Zone 32 with a twist:  a post-lunch panel of four Millennial Rotary program alumni talking about their challenges to joining Rotary. The four panelists were a current and a past Rotaract President and two former exchange students.

Some of the comments we have heard time and time again but some were revelations.

  • Carrie, a former exchange student, commented that she had been embraced by the family of Rotary, had been asked to be a Rotary Exchange (ROTEX?) member and help with exchange orientations, but had never been asked to attend a Rotary meeting.
  • Beth, a 21 year old member of a Rotary e-club, said that we need to engage and empower younger members in meaningful ways.  Millennials do not just want to participate in Rotary projects; they want to help lead them too.
  • Kristina, a Rotaract club president, further elaborated on this topic by pointing out that there are leadership-building commonalities between Rotary, Rotaract and Interact programs but that newer generations aren’t asked to lead. Don’t assume they just want to be another committee member.
  • Enrico, a former exchange student from Italy and past President of the Rotaract club of Yale, opened our eyes when he talked about the passive invitations to meetings and events he has received from some Rotarians.
  • Enrico also commented that sometimes when he attends a meeting he is afraid to start a conversation because he doesn’t know what to talk about.

20111105_US_108Let’s think about these comments for a minute.  We have all heard these tips before.  Be more active in inviting members. Don’t just ask potential members to participate by putting your name on the sign-up sheet.  Provide the newer generations with leadership and service opportunities. Actively engage them in conversation when they are a meeting.

We discovered that the younger generation is much more interested in service while many of us older and more experienced Rotarians enjoy the fellowship aspect of Rotary. We have done a great job equipping this generation with leadership skills, now we need to let them lead and encourage them to achieve their fellowship through participation in meaningful service.

If we want to engage more Rotarians let’s give some newer members opportunities to be up front!


Polio awareness campaign gaining momentum ‘down under’

World polio day

By Howard Tong, Rotary public image coordinator, Zone 7B

In honor of World Polio Day on 24 October, Rotarians down under want to raise public awareness and our End Polio now campaign. They want to draw attention to the fact that polio is only a ‘plane ride away’ from coming back into the Pacific and that everyone can play a part in eradicating this disease.

Polio immunization in New Zealand began in 1957. While the last reported case of the wild poliovirus occurred in 1962, there are still the vivid memories of the suffering this disease caused in our community.

Every effort is being made to have World Polio Day include as many people as possible so the public can learn that ‘polio is on the way out’! All of the proceeds will be donated to PolioPlus and every US$1 will be matched with US$2 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As a local member state, “The eradication of polio worldwide is one of Rotary’s main missions and our club is happy to get the message out there to our community.”

Here are some of the events that districts and clubs are holding to raise awareness:

  • A ‘Purple Pinkie Day’ is planned; members hope that all six districts in the South Pacific will be involved.  It will involve schools, posting videos on social media sites and increasing the public awareness with a drive to get television coverage of their efforts.
  • Mufti Days (Casual clothes day) are happening in schools before 24 October. Children are encouraged to dress up in purple for the day, have their pinkie painted purple (similar to immunization days overseas) and local club members will be available to address groups of children and hand out brochures on polio. Children are also encouraged to draw posters which shops can use to promote Polio eradication on 24 October. Local media will be notified about these activities.
  • Last year, a community street donation event was held to great success and will be repeated again this year.  Last year one district collected over US$20,000.
  • On 4 October at 1430 NZT, one club plans to devote a special segment on their monthly radio programme “Radio Matters”, broadcast on a local community radio station, to promoting World Polio Day.
  • Members and their friends are encouraged to join the “World’s Biggest Commercial”. New Zealand is ranked 38th out of 158 participating countries around the world.

Through the energetic promotion from Rotary Down Under, Rotarians are encouraged to sell eye-catching red ‘End Polio Now’ tee shirts and are asking purchasers to wear them in public places. Rotarians are also encouraged to wear an ‘End Polio Now’ lapel pin to raise public awareness.

Learn more about Rotary’s Polio campaign and join the livestream on World Polio Day.