June 12, 2014

Can less really equal more?

I have always been a proponent of weekly meetings for service clubs. The primary reasons for weekly meetings, in my mind, are that it establishes a routine and if someone misses one meeting, they can quickly be brought up-to-date the next week. But let's face it, commitments and communication processes have changed since service clubs were established in the early part of the 20th Century. More activities vie for our time and interest and as we have become more adept at multitasking, we know that we can be committed to a cause just from an email.

Perhaps it is time to rethink the weekly meeting calendar.

According to Rotary International, it ran a pilot program from 2007 to 2013 to see if fewer meetings made Rotary Clubs more or less successful. Their results? Less equals more.

The study showed that biweekly meetings were linked to a higher rate of membership growth. Additionally, the 200 clubs involved in the pilot program increased their fundraising and community service capabilities at a higher rate than their counterparts that met on a weekly basis.

I've already shared this statistic with the Middleton Area Optimist Club, my home club, and it is considering adopting this new schedule in October for the new administrative year. One member commented, "Our projects will bring us together on the off-weeks!"

Well, maybe not every week, but I think the projects round out the value of belonging to the group and it is a step that will keep the club fresh, vital and active.

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