It’s been about six months since we started hearing about the Coronavirus. Much in our personal world and literally the entire globe has changed. It has affected our Clubs in various ways. While little of the impact has been positive, one thing that has been a plus is that we have all become familiar with Zoom or some other virtual service that allows us to broadcast our meetings and stay in touch with each other in an easy manner.
 
Because we Rotarians are known as leaders in our communities and professional lives, I am hopeful that with one month of the Rotary year behind us, we are ready to jump start a vigorous pursuit of our Rotary Club goals for ‘20 – ‘21. These are challenging times. But, I am confident we are an innovative group that will find ways to make an impact and a real difference this year through Rotary. I saw this quote recently which made me realize why Rotary took off as fast as it did in the early decades and grew to be such a powerful force of service to the world. In 1935, amid the Great Depression, Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary said “This is a changing world; we must be prepared to change with it. The story of Rotary will be written again and again.” I believe now is the time to apply that same spirit to examine how we do things. In the middle of this pandemic, it’s a good year to give our Club’s a checkup. Is there anything we need to update in our routine to make ourselves more appealing to new members? What do we need to change to be sure we will be relevant for the next 100 years?
August is membership month. There’s never been an August that’s more important for membership than this year due to the changes in our club activity because of the pandemic. Our District numbers are down from last year. Now is the time to start ramping up your membership initiatives. As Clubs, we have to focus on both current member retention and new member attraction. I urge Club leaders and membership chairs to engage everyone in this effort. There is no better or simpler solution to our membership challenges than “each one reach one”. Think of how our Club’s would look in June if each one of our current members made a good effort to recruit a good prospect. Who do you know in the community, in your neighborhood, through your business or church; who would make a good Rotarian? Invite them to a meeting and have coffee (maybe virtual coffee) to tell them about all the wonderful things Rotary is doing to make a difference in this world!
 
Another membership effort we all need to focus on is attracting younger members. RI President Holger Knaack has asked each Club, to ask themselves “what will our Club look like in 25 years?” If you think about that as you read this and then later in a strategic meeting of the Club to address this issue, I think it will become apparent how important it is that we become very intentional about recruiting younger members.
 
Our District Membership efforts are led by PDG Marc Horner this year. Marc is working on a major overhaul of our membership section on the District website. We are also putting together a series of educational zooms for membership and several other important areas in the coming months to support your efforts.
 
I want you to know that the Executive Council decided this week to postpone the Foundation Dinner which was scheduled for November 7 in Kansas City. This is an important annual Foundation fundraising event for us. Because of the unknown crowd size restrictions related to Covid 19 and the current concerns of many about being in any large group, we decided that it was best to postpone until the Spring. In the coming weeks we will make a decision on a date. By that time, I am hopeful that we will have a vaccine and we will feel more comfortable gathering live, as well as virtual.
 
It was just announced that the My Rotary website is now much faster and easier to navigate. It has an enhanced search function and streamlined workflows. Plus, it’s now assessable on all mobile devices. If you are not familiar with My Rotary, please take an opportunity to get acquainted. Not only is there a lot of inspiring Rotary news and stories, there are many great tools such as the Learning Center, the Branding Center and Rotary Central. These and much more will enhance your Rotary experience. Ready to begin using the updated My Rotary? Get started here at https://my.rotary.org/en  Just register and you are ready to roll.
  
Thank you for all you do for Rotary. Make it a great month!