Dear friends, If I were to give another title to this particular “blog”, it would have been: “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN”, because I doubt whether the content is of interest to everybody. Most likely, it is only of interest to those concerned by Rotary. In my defense, I will say that the choice of the subject is circumstantial. It is intended for this month of August which, in the Rotary Calendar, is devoted to Membership & Extension.
Like in any Organization, membership in Rotary is key; it is the backbone of the Organization’s existence and survival. Members are those individuals belong to a Rotary Club; who pay their membership dues; who regularly attend the Club Meetings (Fellowships) and participate in the various activities of the Club and, eventually activities of Rotary in general outside or beyond the Club.
Joining Rotary is by invitation, extended by a member of a Club. For emphasis: for one to continue to be a Rotarian, one must continue to be recognized by a Rotary Club as a member in good standing. Normally, a Rotarian in good standing is one who believes in the Rotary Motto of “SERVICE ABOVE SELF” and lives by Rotary’s other norms of ethics such as “The Four Way Test of the things we think say or do: 1. Is it the TRUTH? 2. Is it FAIR to all concerned? 3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? 4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? Or, The Object of Rotary, or; the Rotarian Code of Conduct, all of which lay out the Organization’s core values.
Another key factor which Rotarians associate with membership is the “retention” of its members, as it endeavours to deliver community service and enhance world understanding and peace. In my view, the first step towards retention is through proper mentorship of the intending members before they are officially inducted into the club. They need to know about the history of Rotary; its principles and actions.
Some of the other tested and proven elements of good practice for retention are: ensuring that all the members are kept usefully involved in the Club activities; are appreciated and that they find value in the Club Fellowships as well as meaningful community service programmes. The weekly Fellowships must be kept lively and within the set one-hour sessions; figuring interesting guest speakers with informative presentations.
As the Club strengthens its membership both in terms of recruitment and retention of members, it is also encouraged to seek out opportunities for extending Rotary through implanting Rotary Clubs in other areas, including Clubs for youngsters (Rotaractors), eighteen-year olds and ( Interactors), the thirteen-year olds. This Extension aspect of growing Rotary is much more difficult task that requires deliberate efforts to identify, nurture and grow.
Uganda is globally recognized as a country where Rotary Membership and Extension growth is most flourishing, seen by the number of Clubs and number of Rotarians. Concrete examples of community service are evidenced by achievements such as the construction and equipping of a Cancer Ward at Nsambya Hospital, the Blood Bank at Mengo Hospital, the Trauma Hospital at Mukono, the war against Polio, to mention only the major ones. I feel proud to be a Rotarian and say, let us keep it up!