My name is Michael Pollaci and I am the current President of Rotary eClub District 7610. I have been thinking about Rotary attendance and the importance Rotary places on individual attendance at general club membership meetings. I went so far as to do some online research about the subject and found many conflicting opinions on the importance of attendance. Some are for strict adherence to Rotary rules and some are more liberal in their opinions. It seems to be a pretty evenly mixed bag.
As Past President of a traditional Rotary Club and now President of a Rotary eClub my own opinions have waffled back and forth between the strict and liberal view of attendance. As a club member I was assuredly more liberal in my stance – after all, life gets in the way and that one hour a week can be a precious commodity. However, as a Club President, I understand the work that goes into the planning, the booking of guests, the preparation and copying of written materials, acquiring food (the holy grail of any good Rotary meeting), and the list goes on – 52 times a year! I was sometimes personally offended if people did not show. But, I was lucky. With the invaluable help of my President-elect and my Vice President (shout out to Martha Hutzel & Steve Ingalls) we generally had fun meetings with great guests and good attendance.
In my research I found a great blog post by the past Zone 30 Assistant Rotary Coordinator – Membership District 6690 Membership Chair, PDG Brent Rosenthal, which I felt talks about the issue in a comprehensive way. You can find the blog entitled “Retain to Gain: Meeting Attendance” on the Rotary Zones 21b-27 website.
PDG Rosenthal talks about the responsibility of the club to ensure the meetings are interesting, fun and welcoming. Meetings should be a place where people want to go for fellowship and to chat with their Rotary friends. I agree.
My concern as the President of an eClub is how do we do that? How do we foster fellowship when our members, except a select few, have never met and probably never will? How do we gauge the fun or interest of a member through a computer? This is the challenge I have been grappling with over the past few weeks and I would like to solve this challenge so my President-elect, Marwan, does not have to face the same hurdles.
Below there is a “Leave A Reply” section for you to leave your opinions and suggestions on how you think a Rotary eClub can ensure its meetings are successful. I will be watching very closely.