Monday, November 24, 2014

RI Poised for Membership Growth

“Take the Family of Rotary and Make it Real,” said Gary C. K. Huang, President of Rotary International at a recent Rotary Multi-Zone Institute at Denver, Colorado, according to today's speaker PDG James O. Coleman.

Coleman quoted John Hewko, RI's General Secretary, headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, as saying “We have a very serious problem in North America where we have about 30 percent of Rotary membership, but if the present membership decline trend continues, we will be down to 15 percent.” The Institute focused heavily on membership and how Rotary International must change how it conducts the business of recruiting and retaining members.  Hewko said, “We need to grow and we need to change.”

The organization founded in 1905 at Chicago, Illinois, is known for its efforts of humanitarian service throughout the world applying its motto of “Service Above Self” among its 1.2 million members in over 34,000 Districts (geographic regions).  Its flagship project which has been underway since the mid 1980’s is the Eradication of Polio from the earth. To date, only three countries in the world (Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan) are not certified “polio free” primarily due to civil unrest and political resistance.

Many other varied projects are funded by Rotary contributions, including hunger, water, health, sanitation, hygiene, nutrition, wheel chairs, and eye sight, to name a few.  Besides some of its local community projects like trail markers, benches, dictionaries to all third graders in the Washington County elementary schools, funds to the Sterling Scholar Program, the annual Four-way Test Essay Contest among area sixth graders, and cooperative activities with various agencies, the St. George Rotary Club also has an international project to provide and install cooking stoves for Mayan villages in the mountains of Guatemala. Other local clubs of Rotary International do similar projects.

Coleman said, “Membership matters Rotary will be modifying in order to promote its continued growth and prominent humanitarian work and grants from its Foundation will include allowing clubs to alter such things as types of meetings and attendance requirements, payment of dues, types of membership and expectations of members.”  Members must be able to feel the personal and professional growth which comes from membership and service opportunities as well as enjoy the social aspects of belongs to such a prestigious and wholesome organization. 

Huang said, “We must raise the image of Rotary.”  He further said, “People must know who we are and what we do.”

In addressing Rotary’s serious membership concern, Hewko said, “While diversity is important in general, two main areas of focus needs to be with the recently retired and young professionals.” Coleman told SGR, “In these days in our society, we must consider such factors as money, time and energy, as we look for new members and work to retain them.  Coleman said, “Young professionals may be reluctant to affiliate with organizations.  It has been cited Gen X, Y, and Millenials are distrusting of institutions, but they volunteer and give service.”  Coleman also said, “One powerful statement from John Hewko, was that ‘We need to change our focus from perfect attendance to perfect engagement.’ He also said, ‘Do what works, even if it means forgetting the rules.’”

Coleman said, “In order to make the change necessary to be relevant in today’s society, we must use social media to retain and recruit, especially young professionals.

Coleman joined Rotary in 1981 in Logan, Utah as a young real estate broker looking for a service organization to enhance the start of his business. He was impressed by Rotary's 4-Way Test on a plaque on the wall in a Logan savings and loan manager's office.  Coleman said, “I have learned Rotary is not a service organization, it is a membership organization which does service.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Rotary Rotates to IBC

On Monday, November 17, twenty-seven of SGR's 65 members and their guests visited and toured Industrial Brush Corporation, located at 763 E. Commerce Drive in the Fort Pierce Industrial Park. One of Washington County’s newest employers - currently with 29 on their payroll and another 70 expected to be hired in 2015 - IBC specializes in the design and manufacture of a variety of brush designs, utilizing state-of-the-art brush making machinery, to serve a wide range of industrial applications.

Thanks to James Cottam, plant manager for the hospitality of his company and thanks to D.U.B's for catering an outstanding lunch of pulled pork sandwiches and sides. 

The whole concept of Rotary club travel from business to business - at least a few times a year - was important to Rotary's first four members: Paul Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele and Hiram Shorey. On 23 February 1905 - the official start date of what would become one of the largest service clubs in the world - they gathered at Loehr’s office in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago for the world's very first Rotary club meeting where they voted to call the new club “Rotary” after the practice of rotating meeting locations.  Although the practice of routinely moving club meetings around the community has long since been abandoned for reasons of practicality, it is still encouraged - at least occasionally - as a great way to stay connected with new businesses and as a way to keep Rotary in the forefront of the community.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Futsal Court is Saturday Service Project

After more than 3 years of planning, preparation, fundraising, and coordination, 10 members of the St. George Rotary Club helped install nets at the Futsal Court at Snow Park on the crystal clear Saturday morning of November 8, 2014.  This group of Rotarians spent 4 hours draping the nets across a framework of posts and securing the nets. Other Rotary clubs in the area helped fund the purchase of the nets, which are the final piece of hardware required to allow play of a fast-paced version of soccer played on a hard surface with the nets being part of the playing area. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Rotary's Public Image: Are We Really "Pale, Male and Stale?"

Today in Rotary Assistant Governor Linda Sappington shared lessons learned at the recent Zone Institute about Rotary’s public image issues.  “Shift happens,” she noted.  “If we’re not willing to shift, nothing is going to happen - at least nothing we WANT to happen!!!”  Rotary International has had a long standing belief it is not necessary to promote themselves since “people will know,” but after 109 years, people are still asking “what’s Rotary?”  Today, only 2 out of every 10 people know anything about Rotary and those who know anything at all, have mostly incorrect information.  Man-on-the-street interviews describe Rotary as “pale, male and stale” not an image we want to have to be able to build membership.  AG Linda also shared statistics relating to the relevancy of Rotary in the modern world where only 2% of the organization’s worldwide membership are under 30 and only 15% are women.  Locally, the number of non-white members is less than 1% in 5 clubs.  “Without a healthy mix of Rotarians in every club, how can we be relevant in today’s world?”  AG Linda reminds members we need to be telling our story in every possible way – including social media.  “We do a fantastic job of talking to ourselves … but, we need others to be talking about Rotary, too!”

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rhett Tells of Spectrum Products

Rhett Long, publisher of The Spectrum and "a few other things," said today, “we are a newspaper only about half the time.”  Regarding online news, he noted, “the Wall Street Journal got it right the very first minute they went online.”  As he went through the Spectrum offerings, Rhett who reminded members "small town newspapers will always be around because we provide you with the best in local news" also noted the following:

*  Twitter is a very important communication tool, especially  for men, but there is lots of growth among users in the 50+ age category.
*  Facebook is best for reaching a female audience.
*  Getting your website highly ranked takes time (as much as 3 – 6 months)
*   Changes never end in the area of website design.
*   Mobile marketing is the fastest growing form of marketing and can be timed to reach target audiences based on the time of day
*   The Spectrum and its products have 1 million page views per day – making them the largest news source in Southern Utah
*   The Spectrum’s new mobile app – “Destination Southern Utah” has 800 pages of content.  The goal of this free resource for things to do is to “keep them here another day.”
*   Rhett’s #1 goal when he first came to the paper was to “improve coverage of high school sports.
*   The Spectrum’s E-edition is the most popular news source for those under age 40.
*   The Spectrum publishes 50,000-75,000 new words a day.
*   The Spectrum has been Gannett’s “Newspaper of the Year” among those in 4 states and for 4 consecutive years.

For more information, Rhett Long can be reached at 674-6222.