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Presidential Handover Lunch

25th June 2024
Venue: Kent and Canterbury Club
The Presidential Handover lunch is being held at the Kent and Canterbury Club on Tuesday, 25th June. Retiring President Rosemary Doyle will handover to incoming President Maxine Blades. The bar
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Final of the Innovation Competition,

26th June 2024
Venue: Old Sessions House, Canterbury Christ Church University
The Rotary Club of Canterbury welcomes you to the final of our 2024 Innovation Competition being held at Canterbury Christ Church University. Eleven young people have reached the final and will be
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District Membership Lead talks to us about membership and North Star

When Rotary District 1120 Membership Lead, Mark Underwood, came to talk our members recently he mentioned “ROMEOs” and introduced North Star…read on to find out what he was talking about…

Mark (a member of Gravesham with Ebbsfleet Rotary Club and District Membership Lead since November 2022) visited us for two main reasons: the first, to encourage us to grow as a club; the second to tell us about an exciting pilot membership project that will be presented at the next District Assembly: North Star.

One of the things that clubs need to do to increase membership, Mark told us, is to shift incorrect perceptions about Rotary. One erroneous old notion, for example, is that Rotary is full of ROMEOs: “rich old mean eating out!” While it’s true that, traditionally, Rotary focussed on professional and businesspeople, its membership has since broadened greatly. (Our club is a mixed bunch of male and female members from different backgrounds and ethnicities; several members still work full- or part-time. We have a range of activities and support a variety of initiatives, local and international. Even Mark said he was “very impressed” by the “dynamic nature” of our club). 

Mark was keen to stress the importance of working towards an equal number of men and women, and he said that clubs need to think laterally about how to attract people of any age. He reminded us that age, background, ethnicity, disability or special needs should not be a bar to joining Rotary.

Mark suggested a variety of ways that clubs could encourage membership – e.g. through leafleting, hosting coffee mornings (or other social events), and even via Rotary Radio UK. He also stressed the great value of personal contacts.

As well as getting new members on board, Mark said that clubs also need to make sure they retain members once they’ve joined. Here everyone can play a part – less mobile members could, for example, do telephone mentoring. Mark also emphasised how it’s important for members to have fun – this could be through family fun days, quizzes, concerts, coffee mornings and, perhaps, hosting joint activities with other organizations.

Mark then moved on to talk to us about the North Star Project – the pilot for Rotary Great Britain and Ireland that aims to find new ways of adapting Rotary and increasing membership. The project’s goal is to increase membership (of Rotary Great Britain and Ireland) to 60,000 by 2028.

Mark started by telling us of the four different types of Rotary membership that now exist, starting with traditional clubs (like ours). Next, Direct Membership gives members 24/7 access to Rotary and is not tied to a specific club. Then there’s Corporate Membership, in which businesses subscribe for employees to join a club – often with one fully paid member and others who may attend. Enterprise, the fourth type of membership, is a new concept. This gives larger businesses a way to fulfil their corporate social responsibilities. (Click here for more about this.)

We welcomed Mark’s visit and will certainly bear some of his suggestions in mind when encouraging people to join us. Do contact us if you or your organisation would like to know more about getting involved with Rotary.

Picture: A picture of Mark, a talented flautist. Picture credit: Mark Underwood (published with permission).

Please note: the publication date of this article has been backdated due to website upgrade.


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St Lawrence Cricket Ground
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Canterbury, Kent,
CT1 3NZ,
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