An Interview with Beth Fetterley Heller and Matt Hunter, Co-chairs of the RCM Recruitment and Admission Committee

WAVES:  Why is recruitment of new Rotarians important?


Beth:  Today we are a great club with 370    Rotarians-- quality people from quality organiza-   tions.  However, every year we have attrition of    about 10% because people move, change  jobs,    retire, etc. This means that to stay even, we need    to bring in about 40 new members annually. It is   also important to remember, that Rotary membership is by invitation only. Each of us is in the club today because someone made the effort to  extend the invitation.  Your invitation is the only means we have to build our membership—and to keep our club strong.


WAVES:  Some members have told us they are unsure about the type of member that Rotary wants. What would you tell them?


Matt:  Look for quality people from quality    organizations with emphasis on members of the    business community.  Focus on people who have    demonstrated leadership in their profession and    in the community. Some may be senior leaders;    others are their way to executive positions within their organizations.


In considering candidates for membership, I’d suggest you ask yourself five questions:

  • Do I consider them a leader in their profession?
  • Do they hold a leadership position, or are they seen as rising leaders, in their organization?
  • Do they have a demonstrated interest in finding ways to make a difference in the community? 
  • Would my fellow Rotarians and I enjoy sharing lunch with them on Tuesdays?
  • Can their organization properly support their membership, both in terms of time and financial support?


Our committee considers each application to be unique. So if a Rotarian would like to propose an individual for membership that may not meet the suggested criteria, please discuss it with us... Call me, Beth or Mary McCormick.


WAVES:  Are you looking for individuals from any particular sector?


Beth:  We like to have a mix of large and small companies as well a mix of industries and professions. We are currently emphasizing recruitment in fields of telecommunications, construction, technology, manufacturing, health care, retail and transportation. 


WAVES:  Does the Club have any diversity goals?


Matt:  We don’t have a numerical goal per se, but we are committed to increasing our ethnic diversity and bringing more women into the club.


WAVES:  Once I have a prospective member in mind, what should I do?


Beth: Recruiting is easy. The first step is to invite the person to lunch. (See the seven steps for recruiting at the bottom of the page.) We have some great digital tools now that you can send through email or social media – our interactive Club Report and our concise “Joining Rotary” page link with benefits and expectations. Or pick up a printed copy of the Club Report to share!


WAVES:  Do you have any suggestions about what to say when telling a potential member about the Club?


Matt:  It is always good to start with why you belong to Rotary and the personal value if offers you. A recent survey of our members asked what they say about Rotary. Several common themes emerged and they are all appropriate to share with a prospective member:

  • Rotary is a group of dynamic leaders that can make things happen in Milwaukee. The people in Rotary are active, involved and good people to know.
  • Rotary offers the chance to build relationships, enjoy great programs each week and make a difference in the community.
  • As a Rotarian, you are welcome at any of the 34,000 clubs around the world—a great opportunity for international networking, a bonus for those who travel for business or pleasure.
  • Rotary offers exposure to a diverse representation of our business, professional and community leaders and provides the chance to explore new ways to make a difference.
  • There is a strong connection to leadership in the community.
  • The Four-Way Test and the members’ dedication to this fundamental set of values sets Rotary apart.


WAVES:  Any final thoughts?


Beth:  Who do you know who might enjoy Rotary?  Take a look through your LinkedIn contacts…think of the people who serve on community boards alongside you… think of friends and colleagues.


Ask them to consider our outstanding club.  Please bring them to a luncheon to observe what the "Rotary experience" may mean to them personally.  And remember, there is no charge to bring a prospective member to lunch—it is on the “house”


Recruiting New Members


1. Invite the prospect to lunch. There is no charge for a prospective member—it is on the house!

2. If the guest is interested in membership, request that the office send information by mail or email to the prospect. We have a set of easy-to-send links for prospective members, or we can mail materials including a Club Report.

3. Prospective member returns membership application to proposer, who submits membership proposal form to office.

4. Recruitment & Admission Committee reviews application. The committee may approve, decline, or request more information.

5. Approved membership proposal go to the Board for approval.

6. Name of proposed member is published in the weekly update.

7. New member is introduced at Tuesday lunch.