The benefits of multi-generational membership

By Katie Ehlis, assistant Rotary Coordinator, Zone 28

I often speak to Rotarians about the importance of embracing the reality of a multi-generational membership. There are so many great things that come from clubs leveraging the different generations that make up their membership. I believe that when a club has an engaged, multi-generational membership, it has access to numerous perspectives about how to do things within your club. Some of these ideas and perspectives may have never been thought of or discussed before; all of them have the potential to make your club stronger.

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Brittany Maupin from the United States (in a white shirt) and other attendees at the New Generations Celebration: Connect for Good session. Rotaract Preconvention Meeting, 31 May 2014, Sydney, Australia. © Rotary International

Members from all different generations have varying life experiences. Here are some tips on how to encourage cross-generational idea exchange and collaboration in your club:

  1. Ask members from multiple-generations to be part of your annual club visioning or to help solve a specific problem your club may have.
  2. Create a multi-generational committee. Ask members from a variety of generations to be part of it and ask them to come up with ideas on how to create awareness, find relevant speakers, and hold some fun multi-generational events.
  3. Hold generational training for your club. Have someone (maybe even one of your members) share some common traits and characteristics from the different generations. Talk about ways you can all work together.
  4. Think about the possibility of a satellite club! It’s worked for many clubs and can inject some new excitement and energy into your current membership.
  5. Set up an internal “mentoring” program and encourage all members to play the role of mentor. Consider flipping the norm – encourage younger members to mentor older members. We have a lot to learn from each other, no matter our age or life experiences. Encourage mentor partners to meet for coffee outside of club meetings, have conference calls, or even sit together during meetings.

The reality is that in some parts of the world our clubs aren’t doing a good job with sustaining a younger membership. It’s time for our clubs to think differently and shake things up! Without multiple generations engaged in Rotary we won’t be able to continue the amazing work we do for those who need it.

Still not sure how to engage multiple generations in your club? Contact ARC Katie or read the following articles to get some ideas about what might work in your club:

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