Dear Family of Rotary,
Happy new month! August is our Membership and New Club Development month, which is our key derby start in our efforts to grow our Rotary family. This month’s theme allows us to focus our energies on one of the two key Rotary goals this year, which is to GROW MORE.
I got my introduction to Rotary as a young man at 23 years just after I completing my undergraduate studies. My father, who was a member of the Rotary club of Nairobi North, exposed my siblings and I to the world of Rotary and we would accompany him to club meetings and community service projects. I was drawn to wanting to be a part of this organization that did so much to alleviate human suffering. Despite this however, as a young and budding entrepreneur, I didn’t quite “fit in” at the club. At the time…. Rotarians then were considered … to be well…for lack of a better word…”elitist” with a membership that constituted mature, professionally established members who held their weekly meetings at affluent hotels within the city centre. This was out of reach for most young adults and I therefore couldn’t quite get a footing to create networks within my peers to serve.
This drove me to start a Rotary club of young professionals, and after inviting three other young adults, we held our first club meeting at the AMREF Centre in Nairobi. The meeting was also attended by 3 members from the Rotary Club of Nairobi North our Mother and sponsoring club who graciously guided us on the Rotary club start up process. In order to grow our forming club, we made it a requirement for all to bring at least one guest at every meeting. The following week we all brought a visitor each and in 6 months our numbers had grown to well over 30 members. It was then that I understood the true “Power of One”.
These efforts bore fruit to “the” Rotary Club of Nairobi Lang’ata, which was chartered in 2001, and will this year be celebrating its 20th anniversary. Today the club boasts a membership of 121 members; the largest, not only in our District but in the African region too. The perks of having a bigger club membership are the genuine friendships that are formed, and creation of networking and business opportunities for our members. This is in addition to helping each other and distributing workloads in implementing successful community service projects with increased development prospects. This growth was purely attributed to the power of one! One member inviting one other person to Rotary on the basis of the Each One Bring One (EOBO), a Rotary campaign that’s held dear by our RI president Shekhar Mehta.
This Rotary year, I do urge each one of you to reach into your circle of life and bring at least one friend, a colleague, family member, gym partner, sports friend or neighbour to the family of Rotary. That is all it takes for us to double our membership and achieve our second key goal – DO MORE.
This August, on our first assignment let us all grow our membership. The more members you have, the more hands you have on board to accomplish more in our communities and increase our impact. I would like to particularly urge clubs with fewer than 25 members to aggressively grow their numbers to meet the threshold within the year. Let us also grow new clubs within our communities by addressing the needs of interested citizens. With the acceptance of non-traditional club formats, we are able to form clubs that are comfortable for all types of members including e-clubs, interest based clubs, corporate clubs to name but a few.
Secondly, Our actions can make the difference between an unmet need and a hope fulfilled. By acting with integrity in our rotary service, we exhibit a bountiful heart which underscores our commitment to making our world better than before. New club presidents and new members alike may at times grow discouraged when program participation does not bring the immediate results. Our Investments too in service may not appear fruitful at first and we may become overwhelmed by the number of service options. Take heart, do consider carefully what needs to be met, what district program options are available and how club and community resources can be combined. Taking one step at a time is often the key ingredient to long standing success…the moment to start though is ….Now. In rotary, as in much else in life, the more you invest, the better your return.
Thirdly, let us cultivate leadership in our members. As a Rotarian, build your leadership skills by volunteering to serve at club level and allow our clubs to produce members who can serve at the District level and beyond. This will enable us to contribute to not only the personal growth of our members but to the overall professionalism of Rotary. Let us build our connections with each other, grow our networks and propel our members through leadership opportunities.
Finally, I would like us all to remember that the foundation of our clubs is in the inequivable investment of quality members. What are you doing in your club and for your club to build strong members in the next one year? One way is to embrace diversity in our clubs as we recruit, and thereafter make use of the wealth of professional vocations and experience of our members to build a strong club. We need our members to be energetic participants in improving the membership experience of our clubs.
I could go on and on my friends. Know that if you are interested in attracting new members, Rotary has a tonne of resources; do please visit www.rotary.org/membership for a great guide on the “how”. Do also make use of our District Membership Team led by PP Maina Gichohi – they stand ready to assist and help you in this journey. Keep Membership top of mind – it is at the top of our District’s key agenda this year and beyond. We start the year with 3461 members… it can only get better as we truly love the gift of giving and this can only happen with more hands!
I do wish you every success as you strive to grow and strengthen your Rotary club and lets remember to keep it ….Onelove!