Retention and recruitment (of members), two concepts that are supposed to be "natural" trajectories of rotary clubs, but have become sort of "elusive" for a number of clubs from many districts, both big and small clubs. This is particuarly true for our club with only 10 members.
So, during the official visit of our incoming Assistant Governor for the cluster, Edgar Castillo, middle of last month, this thing naturally cropped up. AG Edgar was accompanied by incoming District Membership Committee Chairman and PP Fed Sapitan. These 2 guys are cool. AG Edgar scoured through the series of questions (ala-multiple choice) in the "Planning Guide for Effective Rotary Clubs", discussed the answers that I gave, from target membership by the end of my term, community projects, and so on. While PP Fed focused on his field: membership expansion. Fed even addressed the past presidents (PPs), pointed out that "Somehow, PPs have bigger responsibility in recruitment than the current President because if membership will fall and the club is delisted from RI, you become a PP of a non-existence club."
We've had several discussions in the club in the past why we couldn't make those who have come once to come back. One of the reasons that we identified was our meeting place, which may not be so impressive for our recruits; so we changed venues. Another reason we identified was we did not have a regular series of talks that can attract people, so we planned on a number of talks and speakers. For some reasons we did not push this, partly because we don't have enough warm bodies to fill the room and give our proposed speakers a good number of audience.
Personally, I went through a list of my friends whom I should recruit. I have three criteria in selecting my potential recruits from among my friends. First, they preferably be males, since our meetings are on (Monday) evenings. Second, their office or residence should be not far from Fort Bonifacio, so they can either come quicker, or go home quicker. And third, they do not have family time constraints (like the wife is pregnant, or having months-old baby), or do not belong to other organizations that also require their weekly presence.
I realized later that I may have made my criteria rather strict, because from among my friends, I was able to identify only about 7, and 4 of them have immediately expressed regrets when I talked to them due to other commitment (work, family, church). So I am down to following up with only 3 among my male friends. So far, 2 of them have come at least once, and I just hope that they will ultimately join our club.
So, I will have to relax my personal criteria in inviting from among my friends. Meanwhile, other members of my club have started bringing in their own recruits. Two new recruits are "inductible", we'll do it during our club hand-over ceremony early next month. A member that has been inactive for the past 3 or 4 years suddenly called up and said he'll be active again, so that's another good news for us. We are waiting for other recruits of other members to show up in the coming weeks.
Slowly, patience and perseverance should work in our favor.