Thoughts of Rotary Leaders: Mark Daniel Maloney
Trustee, The Rotary Foundation 2004–2008
In 1985–86, I had the honour and privilege to serve as the President of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama. During that Rotary year, the President of Rotary International, Dr. Ed Cadman, reminded all Rotarians, but particularly club Presidents, that their individual service was the key to successful Rotary service. His presidential theme was “You Are the Key!”
President Cadman emphasised that the role of the club President was key to the success of our organisation’s efforts. Although the typical organisational chart of Rotary leadership places the club President at the bottom of the leadership pyramid, the club Presidents’ significance to Rotary service means that they occupy the most important positions in the Rotary hierarchy.
As with all other aspects of Rotary service, the role of the club President is vital to successful membership development and retention efforts. How the club President addresses membership issues in the club will determine the outcome of the club’s membership efforts. I have seen time and time again, that mere exhortations from the club President asking Rotarians to invite prospective members fall mainly on deaf ears.
District membership efforts must be focused on motivating club Presidents to develop organised plans for membership development and retention. These plans must include the appointment of inspired Rotarians to organise and lead membership development activities. Whether these activities are team contests, incentives for proposers, committee-run recruitment campaigns, or other activities depend upon the culture of the club. The important point is that the club President must have a specific ‘plan of action’ with identified leaders for his or her year of service.
For successful membership development and retention, we must inspire our club Presidents and remind them, “You Are the Key!”