Moving Forward on Membership An ace recruiter who has brought in more than 50 Lions, Eddie Marshall of the Joanna Lions Club in South Carolina responds to your questions. How do we get 18- to 29-year-olds to join the Lions? —Dan Kallbrier, Carlinville Lions, Illinois Young people like to get involved and find their place rather quickly. Invite them to come and participate in a project to allow them to see firsthand what a difference we make. It is also important to involve their families in meetings and activities. If you can get the family involved, they will want to stay and feel that everyone is benefiting. Also, share the online courses that are available from Lions Clubs International on leadership development and other skills that Lions need. Technology is the new wave, and many people like online meetings and communicating via Web tools. This may be something that many are not comfortable with but to continue to grow and gain younger Lions we are going to have to “get on board.” How do you answer a prospective Lion who says “Why should I join Lions and have to pay dues, when I can volunteer anywhere I want free of charge?” —Jim Noll, Brussels Lions, Wisconsin I feel that we need to make sure that prospective Lions realize that Lions Clubs is not just another volunteer organization. We are an organization that is at the forefront of humanitarian service worldwide. We need to let them know what we have achieved and the difference we are making. Many times when a person has to give a small amount of their own contributions, then they will be committed to the mission and values of the organization. When a person questions the small amount of dues for an entire year, then I question whether this person would make a quality Lion. We don’t just need the numbers—we need the commitment and the hands to serve. I am membership chairman of our club. How do you manage to recruit so many? —Roger Wagstaff, Golden Lions, Colorado The simplest but most difficult thing for Lions to do is “JUST ASK” a person to come to a meeting of a club. If we spent half the time asking and inviting prospective Lions to our meetings as we do complaining and coming up with excuses as to why they won’t attend, we would be a lot farther along than we are right now. I think many people are afraid of rejection. We have to be willing to accept that not everyone wants to be a Lion, but be passionate enough about what we do to continue to just keep asking one more and so on. Increases in membership begin with an individual Lion’s attitude, passion and enthusiasm about what we do. If you are excited and share what we do with others, then they will be inclined to want to find out more and want some of that excitement. Once you invite a prospective member to a club meeting, then we need to follow up with them to see if they have questions and see what they think about serving beside us in the community. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!” We need an “I Can” attitude about membership. How do we get our Lions to follow the simple suggestions of our current and immediate past international presidents to “Just Ask” and “Ask One”? —Rick Pressly, 32 D District Governor, South Carolina We can’t make volunteers do anything because they are volunteers, but we can do a few things to assist along the way. First, we have to lead by example and make sure that they realize that we aren’t asking them to do anything that we are not going to do ourselves. As a club president, if you are going to ask your members to bring in new members, then you be the first to bring in a new member. We also need to think about how we communicate with our Lions. Do we use the correct words, tone and so forth when asking them to help us reach our goals? Our use of words can many times be a hindrance rather than helpful. Finally, we need to always be encouraging. Many things in life can get us down, but with the difference that we are making in our communities and around the world we have no reason to be down. We are a family and we want more members in the family. Let’s share what we are about so our numbers will grow and we’ll continue to make a difference in our world. Next Ask a Lion Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada For the next Ask a Lion we turn to First International Vice President Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada of Japan, who will become international president in June. Email your questions for him to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the LION at 630-468-6805.
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