New members are attracted to join us by what they see and what they experience of our activities. There are several routes into full membership, but in every case a member joins because they are invited to do so. Therefore, every current member is an advocate for our organisation and needs to have thought through how they can explain what membership means to them. The could be describing a ‘Rotary Moment’ (when membership became alive for them) or an ‘Elevator Speech’ (giving an overall description of Rotary in a few minutes but concentrating on service programmes).
Entry Routes to Membership
The traditional way of gaining members is for ‘member to seek member’ – that is for every one of us to look for potential members and to engage them a dialogue that can be converted into a full member joining.
However, in recent years there has been agreement that there needs to be more flexibility in the way members are attracted and thus 2 other options have been added:
- Associate Membership. Effectively an extended period where both prospective members and the club can share the membership experience without formal commitment to full membership in the early stages. The Associate Member has no formal role in the club but can attend all meetings and take part in project planning and activities. There should be an agreed time limit for such a process. The arrangement can be changed to full membership or terminated at any time within the agreed period. Clubs may charge a small administration fee, but no costs are accrued beyond club level until there is a change to full membership.
- Corporate Membership. Clubs may enter into an agreement with a company or organisation where interest coincide. The club offers one full membership place to a company who in turn can nominate up to 4 people to represent them. The company pays one full club subscription and in return has one vote in club decision making. Club nominees can attend club meetings, take part in committee and project planning functions and take part in all club activities. The club registers one lead member to keep the capitation payments outside the club straight. There is no time limit to this arrangement, but it is possible that some of the company nominees might wish at some stage to become full members.