Now that the worst of the pandemic appears to be in the rearview mirror, and most of the world is working together again, the Hammonton Rotary Club is getting off the Zoom call meetings and back to the business of serving the community.
Just what the club will look like post-pandemic was the topic on Sept. 7, when Rotary District 7505 Governor Chuck Watson paid a visit for a discussion on how the club can set itself up for future success.
Rotary District Governor Charles “Chuck” Watson
Watson said defining the path forward starts with answering some basic questions including:
What does the club do well?
What can it improve?
What would the club look like if it started from scratch today?
And, what can it eliminate?
Hopefully the answers will come together to reach the ultimate goal of growing membership.
Before the pandemic, Rotary membership in the United States was falling at a rate of 2 percent per year. But since July, it has gained that ground back.
Watson predicted that post-pandemic membership will keep growing as people look to reconnect with and serve their communities.
But growth does not come automatically. It takes time and research to learn how resources can be used to meet community needs and attract support.
One way to do that is by conducting a community needs assessment. Whether through surveys or focus groups, interviews or community meetings, a needs assessment will identify areas where the club can best serve the Town of Hammonton, and identify how needs have changed since the pandemic.
It can also pinpoint what kinds of projects and events will have the greatest impact and attract potential new members.
If the goal is more members who will stick around, a good strategy is offering them important assignments as soon as they start.
There is a tendency for new members to slip into the background and eventually quit if they are not given a meaningful task early on, Watson said.
Having important work to do, such as a committee or project assignment, makes membership more attractive.
One essential way to bring new people in is to make it easy for them to connect with you.
Watson pointed out that almost all would-be members will check out your website, and most will look up your Facebook page, so it’s important to keep adding content. For Facebook, a minimum of one new kpost per week is recommended.
It’s always exciting when potential new members reach out to the club. They can do that easily by contacting any Rotarian they know, attending Rotary events, or by viewing the club website or Facebook page.
But there’s no need to wait around for an email, a text or a phone call if they are invited first. If every member were to invite one potential new member or a past member who hasn’t been involved for a while to a meeting or event, the membership could see considerable growth.
In either case, it’s best to show the person they are important by asking in person or by phone, never by text or email.
MANY REASONS TO JOIN
While “Service Above Self” is the Rotary motto, those who join have much to gain. Rotarians do well by doing good.
For those looking to grow and leverage their talents to make a difference in the world and their community, there is no better organization.
As a part of Rotary International, members are part of a 1.2 million member global network that supports fresh drinking water, hunger relief, and healthcare programs in impoverished communities around the world.
Closer to home, Hammonton Rotary members use their time and funds raised from events to run leadership programs for high school juniors, and a successful scholarship program for graduating seniors. It also supports, either by donation or direct participation, youth sports and local veterans’ organizations, highway cleanups, the community food pantry.
Past Hammonton Rotary Club projects have also supported first responders and people with special needs, social service agencies and literacy for ESL students.
To support its community programs and projects, the Hammonton Rotary Club is always working on fun and creative fundraisers.
Popular events over the years have included Designer Bag Bingo, the Homemade Wine Event, and the Sauce vs. Gravy competition and a fall corn maze.
On October 2, 2021, the club will mark the debut of its inaugural Fun Shoot event. Follow this website and the club Facebook page for more details.
Club events and programs require many hands and new ideas. The club succeeds only if everyone contributes. For those seeking the challenge of creative leadership, the club is a great place to step up and show what you can do.
Leadership training is available from
Rotary District 7505 at the regional level, and from Rotary International. Through a new partnership with Rotary International and Toastmasters, Rotarians around the country now have access to special leadership and public speaking programs created just for Rotary.
If you want to get a good idea of what Rotary is all about, consider this year’s Rotary themes.
For Rotary International, the theme is “Serve to Change Lives,” a theme that comes to life through Rotary’s many projects around the world that serve poor and underprivileged people.
The district theme is Climb, Pause, Pull.
Climb is about planning, organizing, and doing the work of serving the community.
Pause is about taking the time to refresh, enjoy fellowship, and have some fun.
Pull is about raising others up, whether it’s the community or your fellow Rotarians.
JOIN TO HAVE FUN
One of the best reasons to join is because Rotary knows how to have fun. Being involved in projects brings out a sense of camaraderie and team spirit.
Most Rotarians consider their fellow members to be good friends. And the club’s events are some of the most anticipated in town.
Rotarians having fun will be on full display May 13, 14, and 15, 2022 when District 7505 holds a “Boardwalk Empire” themed annual conference in Atlantic City.
Whether you live in Hammonton or spend time in the community for work or other reasons, joining the Hammonton Rotary Club is a great way to pay it forward while having a good time doing it.