The November 28 presenter at
the meeting of the Rotary Club of Heber Springs was Rotary District 6150
Membership Co-Chair Keith Carlson. Mr. Carlson whose membership is in the
Sherwood Rotary Club shares chairmanship duties with Brian Rega of the
Jonesboro Club. Mr. Carlson has been a
member of the Sherwood club for five years, and is the immediate past president
of the club. His topic focused on the topic of recruiting and retaining new
members to Rotary specifically, though many of his points could be used to
benefit other civic organizations as well.
“Do people know who we are and what we do?” he asked. A recent nationwide survey indicated that in large part, the answer to that question is no. Mr. Carlson encouraged the club to get to know local media and not be afraid to tout programs and successes regularly by using press releases and social media. Another way to introduce the club to potential new members is to regularly invite guests to join the meetings.
Mr. Carlson said the July 1 meeting of Council on Legislation loosened club requirements, noting that clubs can make their own rules for membership, attendance and meetings. He encouraged the club to be flexible and innovative regarding membership requirements, attendance requirements, meeting times and locations, project planning and programs. “The world is changing,” he said, “and we must change, too.”
One of the things the Sherwood Club has implemented is the concept of “corporate memberships” in the club, whereby the business is the actual member and can designate up to three employees who can attend meetings and participate in activities representing the business. Mr. Carlson also discussed strategies for recruiting younger professionals to the club, including the importance of creating social and networking opportunities and highlighting opportunities for service. “Get new members involved in projects quickly,” he said. “Failure to give volunteers something to do is the fastest way to lose them.”
Rotarians are “People of Action” who are making a difference locally, nationally and internationally. The Object of Rotary is "to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise." The Rotary Club of Heber Springs meets each Tuesday at noon on the ASU-Heber Springs Campus. For more information about the Rotary Club of Heber Springs, please visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/TheRotaryClubofHeberSpringsAR.