Thursday, June 6, 2013

Don’t Forget The Mint On The Pillow!

Taking time to step back, breathe, and evaluate is sometimes the hardest thing for each of us to do. To a certain extent, this is something that we strive to do every week at Rotary by discussing many of the larger campaigns that continue to impact the world. We are constantly exploring the ways that we can contribute to those endeavors as well as local projects that have an immediate effect on our own community. When we find an idea in sync with our objectives and our vocational abilities we work on the details of implementation and construct a broad stroke plan to get things moving. Essentially, by stepping back and looking at the big picture we are able to delve into the details and find our way to best serve the community and contribute to Rotary in general.

Where many of us get tripped up is in the effectiveness of our club and the frequently overlooked foundational aspects of our club as well as its attributes, objectives, and goals. The reason this is commonly overlooked is simple… with so many worthwhile campaigns we don’t want to stop and take care of the basic housekeeping.

This doesn’t mean that anything has been neglected or needs to be discontinued. It is simply a status update, an evaluation of where we stand, and a means of cleaning out inefficiency and ensuring that the clubs activities are in harmony with members and best serve Rotary and the community. Once the existing structure of the club has been surveyed, deficiencies can be addressed and new goals can be established.

When was the last time you asked members to complete a club assessment survey or evaluated the needs of your own community (you would be surprised at how quickly this can change)?

These are the first tasks that need to be completed and this should be done on a regular basis. By taking the time to cover these basics, you can properly guide your club in a direction that not only increases the potential success of you club but also of the community. It also brings to light that some of the things your club may be good at are covering up many shortcomings… you may be able to raise a lot of money but membership is down, you may have a great reputation but your communications and public relations are almost nonexistent, you may have a wide range of speakers but lack vocational diversity.      

What are the demographics of you community (economy, education, age, etc.)? When was the last time you did a membership survey? Are you actively inviting local business owners to attend a meeting? Do you invite all of your guest speakers to become members? How frequently do your members attend meetings at other clubs?

It is time to delve into the details… simple surveys based on these questions are what help to truly refocus the membership. Having a greater understanding of community demographics and, therefore, the needs of the community in conjunction with the club’s membership demographics can, many times, be quite eye opening. These two surveys alone can be great tools in assisting the club in filling gaps in vocation, age, education, etc. In the end, we want our club to represent the community and in order to do that we need to have a membership that reflects the neighborhood(s), has speakers that are appealing to the community, make sure that people feel welcomed and comfortable, and have projects and goals that the community can not only appreciate but want to contribute. Understanding demographics can go a long way in achieving these goals and ensuring the ongoing success of both campaign and membership objectives.

The last bit of strategy that needs to be in place is an effective public relations and communication plan. Changes to you club mean nothing if no one knows about it. Make sure your club has a presence on social media, make sure you notify the community about speakers, make sure other clubs within your Rotary district and the officers know of your club (this is especially important for small clubs), and don’t be afraid to send press releases to the media about both upcoming events and write ups of past events (including your weekly speakers).

Don’t underestimate the importance of making your presence known to the community. Remember, people tend not to notice that a hotel room has been cleaned and the bed turned down until they see the mint on the pillow.