Michael Podolny became the Chair of our membership committee in January of this year and has already had a tremendous impact on our membership strategy.  His energy and commitment to our membership engagement and growth is exactly what our club needed.  Once again, my belief that the the right people emerge at the right time has been proven correct!


With that said, Michael has spent the last 2 months meetings with many of you, asking hard questions about what the value of our club and potential direction for our club in the next year.  On April 14 at our general meeting, we will be drilling down into some observations that have come from you.  In preparation for this meeting, I have asked Michael to give us a preview and homework.  I look forward to joining you all on April 14 to discuss the things that Michael has written below:


By Michael Podolny



Taking over the Membership Committee function at the beginning of the year, we were faced with questions that directly impacted the ability to recruit members to the club.


“What is our value proposition?”


“Why, other than generally supporting a good cause, should anyone dedicate time and effort into becoming a member?”


The Rotary Club To End Human Trafficking has a laudable and lofty mission. In the verbiage of Purpose Driven Organizations, we have our Just Cause. However, what the club doesn’t have is specific areas for action planning that:


  1. Demonstrate exactly what we are doing to advance the cause,
  2. Provide clear paths for action for those who want to work on the cause.


To address this need, Membership Committee presented to the Board seven specific areas (listed below) for creating meaningful action to move us toward our Just Cause. At our meeting on the 14th we want to find a way to put solidity into these action areas.


  • First, is to come up with a just two or three practical actions we can implement to move the area forward. As is said, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.


  • Second, is to define the types of people Membership Committee should recruit to


We will be breaking up into groups, one for each of the seven areas. Each group will be tasked with answering the two questions above. We will give you specific techniques to use in your meeting group to facilitate getting the outcomes.


If you would like to work on one of these topics specifically, let us know so we can assign you to that group ahead of time.


Our proposed areas of action are:


  1. Truly Become An International Club By Aggressively Recruiting And Establishing Satellite Clubs and MOU’s with Clubs Around The World

Our mission, to end human slavery, will only be accomplished by a coordinated effort around the world. For our club to be at the forefront, promoting this goal, we have to be significantly more accessible to others around the world. This cannot be done via a single club meeting on U.S. time and in English. By using a partnership with RAGAS, identifying interested parties around the world who are not in Rotary, we can build clubs aligned with our philosophy and processes but accessible to those in different regions and cultures.   


  1. Be The Club Promoting Measurement and Testing of Effectiveness of Programs

We should be the force that is empowering science and measurement and metrics. We need partners who do this. Any program that wants to get our sponsorship should be able to show how they're going to measure actual results, not vanity results. This means recruiting members who can bring the knowledge and expertise we need that can help programs design the necessary post-program results measuring.  


  1. Be A Club Looking To Disrupt The Status Quo

If as is stated, the forces of trafficking are well organized, well financed and entrenched, defeating them will take more than just a repetition of what has been done in the past. We recommend that our club be the think tank  for how we create dynamic change, particularly how we change the status quo within Rotary to truly leverage its potential  (thank you James Johnson for this suggestion). Michael suggests two books that could provide guidance The Tipping Point and Surmountable. But others may have others we should study. We want to look for things that we can do to change the overall dialogue everywhere.


  1. Recruit People Who Are Not In Programs Already

We currently mostly have people who are involved with programs. People who are in programs are already terribly busy. We want to have people who are not in programs. We want people who want to be giving to the cause, working on the cause, have knowledge to give to the cause, and have the time to do that.


  1. Have A Methodology For How We Will Promote Programs Throughout Rotary

When a program is endorsed by RCEHT, it should know that it is going to be promoted across the Rotary universe. Our members should understand that is one of our major deliverables. We should have a defined methodology for how we execute this deliverable and recruit members who are enthusiastic about fulfilling that mission


  1. Economic Development – A Lot of Human Slavery Is Motivated by Poverty

In the developing world, poverty and lack of economic opportunity is a major contributing factor to humans becoming trafficked. We should be combining effective grass roots economic development with anti-trafficking awareness. This would tie in very well with the international satellite club/inter-club MOU effort.


  1. Commit to Action Planning

Let’s assume all or most of these tactical suggestions are included into our strategic vision. That’s not enough. We will need detailed planning of what we are going to do to create the change desired. We need very specific action plans for each area. Members need to be able to recognize these as doable and therefore, be willing to adopt and act upon them. We need an accountability system so we are tracking what we are doing to ensure this is not all talk. This needs to be an ongoing commitment within our club.


Membership Committee will be taking the results of this session and presenting it to the Board for the purpose of authorizing specific actions and creating specific task forces to implement those actions.