Thoughts of Rotary Leaders: Wilfrid J. Wilkinson
President, Rotary International, 2007–2008
When a man or woman joins a Rotary Club they are given many privileges and opportunities to serve both within their own club, their community, their country or worldwide. However none of these opportunities, in my opinion, is as great as the opportunities to propose another person for membership in Rotary. Perhaps it is a business colleague, a business competitor, a person that provides you with a service like your doctor, dentist, lawyer, banker and the list can go on for many paragraphs but the important thing is that they are qualified and will make good members.
However, I think we often look at our opportunities to share Rotary Membership too locally. Perhaps those new younger members, that Rotary needs right now, can be found away from our own community. Perhaps they are brothers, sister, sons or daughters living in another community or state. Perhaps they work in another branch of our company or are persons who graduated from school or university with us and now deserve the gift that we can give them. “Membership in the world’s most prestigious Service Club”
However proposing someone for membership is only half of the gift that we have to give away. We know from our records that Rotary inducts a lot of new members each year but also looses a lot for many reasons. Some of those reasons are easy to understand. An organisation can’t be over a hundred years old without losing a substantial number of members from sickness, old age, or other very understandable reasons. These are things that a Rotary Club can do little about except to insure that it has a vigorous and effective membership development plan in place.
Rotary’s, research finds that we lose members for other reasons and that is why every successful club must have a good system in place to ensure that every new member is properly inducted and made feel welcome. Every club needs to have a programme to mentor and inform its new members. They must be given special attention when they are inducted, informed about the club and Rotary International. Given a committee assignment, introduced to each and every member and asked frequently if they are enjoying the hours that they are now devoting to “Service Above Self.” clubs with such plans, grow and flourish, those that don’t, wither away. I hope that your club grows, the world needs it.