Employ a Double Membership Strategy Helen Keller, who had all the reasons in the world to lack a positive outlook, once said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Lions, every instance of our service is a shining moment of optimism and faith. We believe we can uplift lives and improve our communities. Indeed, that’s what Lions have done for 93 years. We need to keep sharing that optimism with our fellow club members and keep them in the fold. Let me emphasize that membership worldwide is up thanks to strong recruiting efforts. But it could be even better if clubs made a greater commitment to retention. Lions, we need a double membership strategy. We need to extend clubs and we need to improve retention. This really can be done only at the club level. The Lions who are leaving are your club members, your friends. You know their hearts and minds and what keeps them happy and satisfied. Certainly, a large organization such as ours will lose many members every year because of non-payment of dues, club cancellations, death and other reasons. But nearly 40 percent of members who left us last year resigned in good standing. They simply decided their club was not meeting their needs. Retention starts with induction. We need to recruit qualified members: people who want to serve, who can pay their dues, who have some stature in the community. Then we must nurture them as Lions. The first four years are critical. Make them feel welcome and important. Listen to them. Heed their advice. A club can’t cater to the wishes of the few but must respond to its entire membership. Make sure meetings are punctual, lively and interesting and that club activities are frequent and engaging. Most clubs do this most of the time. Let’s be able to say all clubs do this all the time! Plant your Ginkgos and make MOVE TO GROW sustainable. Lions Clubs International has excellent tools to improve your club such as self-evaluation kits and pamphlets on improving club dynamics and meetings. A better club will lead to better retention. Retention is critical for us to do even more service and to keep clubs strong and healthy. Our purpose is to serve society but to do that well we have to serve our clubs, too, by making them attractive for members. I know that Lions never fail when challenged. Take this as another challenge. Move to Grow this year and move deliberately and intelligently to hold on to your members. Eberhard J. Wirfs Lions Clubs International President
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