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Monday, August 17, 2015

Five Ways to Show Appreciation for Your Members

August is membership month for Rotary, a month dedicated to clubs celebrating the people who make Rotary a reality. It's a time to focus our attention on members and thank them for everything they do, and to bolster their motivation for the work. It’s important that Membership Month does not simply turn into lip-service, expressed only via a special banner on your ClubRunner site or bulletin, which is easy to do. There are many ways to thank your members in a concrete way which can every month memorable.

Celebrate their lives

When a club member marks a milestone, such as a birthday or anniversary – why not celebrate that along with them? Mention the day at the meeting closest to the date of the milestone and mark it in a tangible way. This could be as simple as bringing cupcakes to celebrate a birthday. For particularly big events (such the birth of a grandchild or a milestone anniversary) consider maintaining a small budget for gifts or tokens. Similarly, if a member is facing a difficult time in their life (such as the death or illness of a loved one) ensuring that the club is there to provide practical and emotional support goes a long way. This sort of recognition goes a long way in making members feel appreciated and part of a community.    

Build your community

Photo Credit: © Rotary International/Alyce Henson
In addition to honoring the members as individuals, celebrate their dedication to the club and Rotary once in a while. One way to do this is by scheduling regular team-building and socialization events. These events help build a positive dynamic and also give your members a chance to build friendships outside the context of Rotary. By doing so, they will improve their teamwork within the club in the future which will help foster a sense of family and belonging.

Give them a chance to shine

Photo Credit: © Rotary International/Alyce Henson
Your members became Rotarians because they wanted to help their community and make a difference in the world. As such, whenever possible you should give them the chance to get involved in the projects and causes that matter to them. Give them the chance to take leadership and offer them ownership of these initiatives. Your club members are more likely to give their all in the service of a cause they care for. Sometimes, clubs have the same people who run a particular event every year and as a result members think they can't get involved. Simply rotating co-chairs every year gives everyone a chance to participate and get involved. It's simple things like these that show members that their involvement is welcome and needed.

Recognize and reward individual achievements

Photo Credit: © Rotary International/
Alyce Henson
When a club member goes above and beyond to achieve something of worth, it is important to formally recognize this. You could even use Membership Month as a time to offer special recognition to members who have worked particularly hard in the preceding year. A donation in their name to Polio Plus or the Rotary Foundation is a tangible acknowledgement of the work they’ve done.    

Spread the word

While internal recognition is invaluable, don’t forget to spread the word. Let everyone know about the good work of your membership and about the fun they have. Your ClubRunner bulletin and website are excellent tools for this. When a member wins an award from the club or community, take a photo and publish it on your site and bulletin. When your group hosts a particularly member event, put up a photo gallery or a write-up. Invite your members to share these through social media and blogs. Doing so increases the profile of your club in the community and serves to attract new recruits. And, going beyond ClubRunner, community newspapers are often hungry for content. Invite the local media to record memorable events in your club life, such as Paul Harris award ceremonies.

How does your club celebrate its members? Comment below and share!


  1. Good article, thanks for the tips on Membership! David Chan/Membership Chair of the Rotary Club of Greensborough Central

  2. Thanks. Very nice article with good suggestions. Max Morley, Denton Rotary Club in Texas

  3. Bryan Rotary Club (D5910, Texas) recognizes a Rotarian of the Year with a nice glass award, a special pin, and a $100 donation to The Rotary Foundation in their name. We also publish birth days (not years) in the bulletin and sing Happy Birthday. I think it would be beneficial to publish Rotary Anniversaries too (it's an easy report available for those with ClubRunner). Members who have been in Rotary for 50 years are always recognized and we do a big cake for that meeting. Whenever a member passes away (or their spouse), we try to send a card to their family that everyone in the club signs since they were part of our Rotary Family. And, we post member obits on our Facebook page and submit to our District Celebration of Life chair for recognition at our District Conference.

  4. Thanks for the article, and all the suggestions. We already have in place birthdays & anniversaries, celebrations of achievement, regular social events, and a Facebook page, but will take on board the other suggestions. Dr Ted Giblin, Membership Director, Port Macquarie Rotary Club, Australia