There are few things that bedevil the future of Rotary clubs more than member attendance. Only venerable senior Rotarians concern themselves with achieving 100% attendance in this day and age.

In earlier threads thousands of words were spilled predicting how Clubs would see their demise if the attendance provision were abandoned. On the other hand there was a significant cohort who proposed that engagement mattered more than attendance. They further contended that recording attendance was a throw-back to another era and self-motivation was more important than some external standard established by the organization. The old view, they claimed, was a relic of the industrial era and the new more self-actualized view is more consistent with today’s post-industrial work environments.

As a club president this year, I have been experiencing individual challenges that no loosening of attendance provisions can resolve. We are a noon-hour club. Over the past six months we have had an unusually large number of very active and engaged Rotarians change their place of work or type of work, such that they can no longer attend lunch meetings. Because we are a one Rotary club town there is no other option.

As a result, after polling the membership, we are going to institute a once a month dinner meeting. This will give those members an alternative time to join us for fellowship. It will also be a time when we can introduce prospective Rotarians whom we have approached in the past but who, because of their work, could not attend a noon meeting.

But this still doesn’t go far enough.

RotaryFlex graphicIt seems to me that we should be able to integrate the methods and tools developed by e-clubs into the management of our traditional clubs. This I am naming RotaryFlex.

E-Clubs are built on the principle of doing a weekly assignment, such as a reading assignment on some aspect of Rotary in the place of a meeting. There is no reason this cannot be another way for a club member to make up for a lost meeting. On ClubRunner this could be a site page with weekly posts acting as subpages – in other words, a site within a site.

However, I want to go much further. I want to tie both the promotion of Rotary and education about Rotary as a means of making up attendance.

Hence, I am proposing that our club establish a points system.For each five points accumulated, a club make-up is achieved.

Examples are endless.

Examples of Point Values

  • Read a club website post on a missed program – 1 point
  • Place through the FaceBook Like button a comment on your own FaceBook page with a link to a club’s story; – 2 points
  • Establish a dedicated Rotary Pinterest Board at your Pinterest account – 5 points
  • Pin the picture from a club story onto your personal Rotary Pinterest story board using the Pinterest icon. – 1 point
  • Since the activity in (d) automatically sends a tweet to your personal Twitter account at the same time – 1point.
  • Establish a profile at LinkedIn including your Rotary membership and experience in the profile – 5 points.
  • Join one or more Rotary International Group discussions at Linkedin -1 point for each group joined.
  • For each comment made at a Rotary discussion group topic/thread – 1 point.
  • Start a discussion topic/thread and then moderate it at any Rotary LinkedIn discussion group – 5 points
  • For each identified Rotarian with whom you establish a first level circle of friends on LinkedIn, FaceBook or Google+ – 1 point
  • Establish your profile at MyRotary – 5 points.
  • Join one or more Rotary discussion groups at My Rotary – 1 point for each group joined and then thereafter 1 point for each post made.
  • Join one of the ROTI or ROSNF Fellowship groups, establish your profile and subscribe to their daily feeds.- 5 points
  • Make a comment at one of the ROTI or ROSNF discussion topics – 1 point.

This list could go on and on. It is only limited by your imagination.

Another way of gaining points could be to reward members for updating the club member’s data on the Club’s electronic data base. Let’s say, the club president discovers that 50 per cent of the members do not have their birthdate filled in. Therefore the age registered on the RI club profile report is not shown as complete. Points could be awarded for adding that data.

Reporting and Recording

A club would have a form on which the 5 points would be tracked. The data requested would be date, task, point value and the URL (the latter so it can be confirmed). This would be sent to the membership/attendance chair/recorder to review and register as appropriate. The Four Way Test would act as a guide as to the honesty of the point request. In other words it would be very much of an honor system

The advantages of such a system are numerous.

Members can:

  • create their own professional development program
  • meet today’s minimum attendance requirements
  • gain a much wider appreciation of the International aspect of Rotary
  • gain an appreciation of the diversity of practices which occur at the club level.
  • learn about the issues occurring within Rotary
  • share the good works of Rotary with a much wider cross section of their friends.

Clubs can

  • create a degree of flexibility which is congruent with the more frequent changing demands of workplace environments;
  • better meet the competing needs within young families
  • permit being a Rotarian on the fly…as most of this activity can be done using mobile devices used during down-time, such as commuting time in large urban areas.
  • increase the awareness of Rotary both at the club and International levels within their community.

By now I think you likely have a good idea of what I mean by RotaryFlex.