I have copied a report on a Zoom Meeting held by Cambridge Rotary recently. 
The speaker was Dave Harmon from Australia - he also spoke at our PI Zoom Meeting last night (for Australasian DGEs, DGNs and PI Chairs) - I think what he says has a lot of merits:
Bill Robinson introduced Dave Harmon of Ballina-on-Richmond Rotary Club and handed the meeting over to him.
Building A Vibrant Successful Rotary Club was the topic of Bill’s presentation. He showed that membership tends to go in cycles that can easily be negative and spiral down unless action is taken.
His club recognised that the average age of its members was well over 65 and that a plan to rejuvenate the club was vital. The result of the subsequent programme was a net increase of 169 Rotarians in his District.
The key, Bill said, was to concentrate on community projects which meet real needs and place Rotary in the public eye as an organisation which can make a change by helping those in need. In Ballina the Club identified domestic violence as a community problem – the town has only 380 streets and police recorded about 380 cases of domestic violence in 12 months.
The project started with a parade of around 800 people with Rotary signage and banners such as “Say NO to domestic violence”. This was followed by active engagement with other organisations and lots of publicity. It was also decided, continued Bill, that fund-raising for other organisations was a secondary consideration. Financing and running the Domestic Violence Project became more important and was a better use of fund-raising abilities. Ancilliary projects, such as the Love Bites Education Programme, involving 6 local high schools, where supported.
The Club’s main thrust was re-aligned to the community project rather than to fund-raising and fellowship. The Centenary Baton Race also provided an excellent PR link.
This re-direction of effort had a major effect on attracting new members. Bill continued by stressing that it is essential to give members real value for the time that they are prepared to give. What can we give to new members? What activities are we and they passionate about? Can we move from minor projects to a major causes? These are the questions we asked, explained Bill, and from the answers came our plans and success.
Answering questions, Bill added that
  • membership average age is probably now under 60 and two new members are in their 20s;
  • 68% of new members were female;
  • a few corporate members had been attracted;
  • retention had been recognised as a problem and was being addressed;
  • the change to running our own projects instead of funding other organisations has revitalised the Club;
  • the meeting format has changed from fortnightly to the first three Thursdays each month but this is still too much of a commitment for younger members;
  • projects relating to social justice and the environment are more attractive than barbeques.
Can we find a community project in Tauranga that would have universal appeal and garner support from other clubs and organisations??
Enjoy your day
Sheena Spittals
Public Image Chair
Mob 0274582768