A Conversation with RCM’s Recruitment & Admission Committee Co-Chairs

A Conversation with Dave Carter and Tom Gale:

Dave Carter

WAVES:  Why is recruitment of new Rotarians important?


Tom:  Today we are a great club with 360 Rotarians-- quality people from quality organizations.  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 that they are unsure about the type of member that Rotary wants. What would you tell them?

Dave:  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 on 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 someone on the committee or Mary McCormick.


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


Tom:  We’d 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, banking, manufacturing, health care, retail and transportation. 


WAVES:  Does the Club have any diversity goals?


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


Tom:  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:

  1. 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.
  2. Rotary offers the chance to build relationships, enjoy great programs each week and make a difference in the community.
  3. 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.
  4. Rotary offers exposure to a diverse representation of our business, professional and community leaders and provides the chance to explore new ways to make the world a better place.
  5. 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:  Once I have a prospective member in mind, what should I do?


Dave: 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.)


WAVES:  Any final thoughts?


Tom:    Who do you know who would make good Rotarians?  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 - remember, there is no charge for a prospective member!
  2. If the guest is interested in membership, request that the office send information to the prospect. (Membership packet includes background of Rotary and history of our club, financial and other obligations of membership, and a membership application.)
  3. The prospective member returns the membership application to the proposer, who submits the membership proposal form to the office.
  4. The Recruitment & Admission Committee reviews all applications. The committee may approve, decline, or request more information.
  5. Then, approved membership proposals go to the Board for its approval.
  6. The names of proposed members are published in the weekly update.
  7. The new members are introduced at a Tuesday lunch.