It is very exciting that the Rotary world is now really starting to embrace the concept of E-Rotary, we are part of this pioneering work and must consider our help towards it as part of our contribution to Rotary Service. As you are already aware, from the 1st July I join the RIBI Membership Development and Retention Committee and I am to be the RIBI Lead for establishment of E-Rotary. An exciting task, however I see it as part of the overall challenge to put the buzz back into membership and recruitment in these Islands. I can’t emphasis how much there is to do, as we face the facts that unless we take this issue seriously, Rotary in the area of RIBI could even go into further decline.
So I look to our eClub members for your support, encouragement and vision to really help me to further the E-Rotary concept and communicate how this will be a new tool in RIBI’s 5 year Strategic Plan. In relation to this we still have much to do in our evolution as an eClub and our learning and experience will be of great benefit to others, so my new role as Secretary for our eClub will be just as much a priority as my role is now as President.
One of the ways agreed by RIBI as to how our eClub can help in the creation of E-Rotary in these Islands, is the incubation of new E-Hubs elsewhere in Britain and Ireland, to this end we are already working with:
- West of Scotland
- East Midlands
In these Districts people are being approached to join E-Rotary through the District 1100 eClub and we consider their membership as part of Hubs in these areas. They will then get to see how an E-Hub (Club) works, joining in with some of the things we do online, including our weekly programme, but also having some opportunities of doing local things in their own area if they wish. This will help them build up their numbers to reach the number required to charter and they hopefully will help us in developing our own model, with other ideas, I very much see this as a partnership way of helping each other.
Our vibrant way of doing Rotary gives us the opportunity to further help RIBI retain their membership and strengthen our ability to refresh and revive Rotary in Britain and Ireland. We are currently exploring how the District 1100 eClub can develop having local Hubs, this is already happening in the Swindon area, where we have quite a lot of members, who meet occasionally and do projects together, I believe we need to try to do this elsewhere in the area, as we have found the E-Rotary concept works better when it is a combination of online and occasional meet ups. To this end we are also exploring the establishment of a satellite E-Rotary Hub with the current Rotary Cricklade , whose numbers are falling and could possibly benefit from being a hub of our eClub, with benefits to both parties. It would then help us develop a further hybrid version of E-Rotary where a traditional Club works side by side with an E-Club, which I believe will be the future direction of Rotary. We also probably need to consider how traditional Clubs whose numbers are rapidly declining can continue to do Rotary, I believe a link to E-Rotary might be one way forward. Having met George who is 90 plus, still active in work and still keen to be a Rotarian, it was shame George found that his Rotary Club had to close due to falling numbers and he was no longer a member of Rotary after 60 years of Service. George is very keen to join our E-Club and I believe this may help in other avenues of service in particular regards to positive ageing support which I have already written about.
Finally we need to be making other Clubs aware that we want to help retain Rotarians from leaving Rotary. If we could offer them E-Rotary before they leave due to varying issues, this will ensure that our membership in RIBI grows.