Growing Waunakee’s Rotary Club will require some strategy. At the May 9 Rotary meeting, Emily Tucker described some of the steps.
Emily has been the Regional Membership Officer for Rotary International for a year and works remotely from Madison. She said a global team of Rotary membership officers started as a pilot program in areas where the greatest membership declines were occurring – North American and Australia. Now Rotary International is expanding her team, creating more officers like her to assist clubs looking in recruiting and attracting members.
Emily supports 25 Rotary districts with membership engagement and attraction strategies.
Worldwide, 35,889 Rotary Clubs have 1,222,438 members. Waunakee’s club has consistently remained at about 85 members, and Emily said not a lot clubs in districts the size of 6250 have as many. The average club membership is about 20, Emily said.
She noted that Waunakee club has several opportunities to volunteer.
The second largest club of Rotary International is in Birmingham, Alabama, with 600 members, and Emily asked if that is too large. The advantages to a club that size are it can accomplish more projects and offer more programs, increasing its public image.
Emily said she helps clubs figure out their value proposition – what makes them unique and of value and how members can articulate that value to prospective members.  
She suggested members reflect on their own experience and evaluate if the club is welcoming, is flexible and affordable, if it listens and communicates well, and if it offers ample opportunities for involvement without burning out the volunteers.
Clubs should identify how large they would like to grow.
“Once you get over the 100-person level, it changes the atmosphere,” she said.
Clubs should also consider diversifying their membership, Emily said, noting not all members need to be business owners.
“Don’t leave out stay-at-home parents who have awesome skills to share,” Emily said.
Rotary has resources available for clubs looking to host prospective member events, Q & A sessions and family and young professional nights. It also has surveys to use.
Emily also suggested clubs tell their stories through a variety of channels such as their websites and social media.

The May 9 meeting was also club assembly. The following is a summary of the committee reports:
-Fellowship events this summer will include Tuesday evening Live from the Park concerts, which begin the first Tuesday in June. The steak fry will be June 26 at 5:30 p.m. at Drumlin Ridge Winery. June 22 is Rotary Day at the Mallards.
-Volunteers are needed to hand out medals, snacks and water at the May 18 Tri 4 Schools event. On May 26, volunteers are needed to deliver brats at Brat Fest.
-The membership committee could use some more folks to serve on it.
-A matching grant application has been completed for a bathroom and shower at the girls dormitory at the SOAR Kenya school in Nakuru. Also, Friendship exchange opportunities are available. See Linda Olson about these.
-The RYLA youth leadership camp has four students going. School supplies will be collected from Prairie Elementary School and sorted at the Erickson home in June. The club awarded four scholarships to seniors. The recipients will be at the June 6 meeting.
Other News:
-President Mark McFarland reported that the board approved a donation of $400 for the Chalk Walk.
Guests: Emily Tucker, speaker, guest of the club.
Visiting Rotarian: None.
Birthdays: None.
Anniversaries: May 16, David and Connie Rupp; May 17, Leonard and Becky Allen; May 17, Nick and Elaine Mischler.
Greeters: May 9, Danny Paul and Ken Pesik; May 16, James Pingel and Erick Plumb; May 23, Robert Pulvermacher and Corey Randl; May 30, Tom Roepke and David Rupp.