Posted by Steve Lettau on Feb 01, 2018

By Bob Wallace, Rotary Coordinator for Zone 24 East and a member of the Rotary Club of Port Hope, Ontario, Canada

At our zone institute in Winnipeg, I saw a presentation about Rotary’s membership leads program and how districts are receiving many requests from the program but not following up on the leads.

Later, I was at Rotary headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, for training as a Rotary Coordinator, and Brian King, RI Director of Membership Development, pointed out to us how failing to follow up on these leads represented a major public image failure. Think about it. A person makes contact with you, and you totally ignore them? What does that say about your organization?  In the business world, companies often make cold calls to generate business, sometimes with no results. In this case, people are coming to us asking to join.

In District 7070, we researched the outstanding list of membership leads and saw that there were many names that we had never contacted. Many times, when you ask people why they haven’t joined Rotary, they will say “I was never asked.” Taking that to heart, we also considered the professional research Rotary has received showing that Rotarians join for friendship and social activities. So we decided to use an old tried and true method of contact. We called to talk to each of the leads.

“The main message here is email does not work; a personal call is best.”

This took some time to call all the outstanding leads. But the first impression has worked well. We describe our district, what clubs we have available and their locations. The lead is able to ask questions. In some cases, it was easy to suggest a nearby club, but for others, it was more difficult. In some cases, we suggested a couple clubs they could visit. We then emailed the lead club information, meeting times, and locations. We also emailed the club president and asked them to call the lead and invite them to a meeting. The main message here is email does not work; a personal call is best.

The end result is we have several new members joining our clubs. One example is a lead that joined a club and is now serving on the district conference planning committee. Another lead attended our district conference to learn more about Rotary. Finally, one of the leads mentioned that she wanted to join Rotary now so that when her parents, who are Rotarians, arrive in Toronto for the 2018 convention, she will be a Rotarian to host them.

So what do you say? Isn’t it worth picking up the phone and calling those membership leads?