Posted by Lynn Duffy-O'Shea on Nov 09, 2017
The Rotary Club of the Brookfields is a small Rotary club located in a rural area of central Massachusetts.  In May of 2017 we had 10 members and now we have 15 members and expect to add several more by year’s end.
We were a club made up of a majority of members 70 and older. Having lost many due to health reasons we knew it was more than an urgency to get new members in order to survive. We needed more capable people to continue all the projects we do in the communities we serve.

Focusing on our membership efforts we started by making ourselves more visible in our communities. We did this by getting involved in as many Public Image events as we could do. Using our Tri-fold boards to visually show the many different things we do and making engaging conversation about Rotary with people passing by our exhibits. We then extended an invitation for them to come and visit our club while enjoying a meal on us.
One of the key things that has helped us to get new members has been to not only ask interested people to visit our club, but to also get their email address and add them to our Rotary Bulletin Roster list. That way they continually get our information and updates on fundraisers, meetings/ events, and Social events. By keeping them in the loop of information our hope is that the interested individuals will be more likely to respond and want to become more involved with our club.
Our club has discussed what keeps people in our communities from joining Rotary. What we found were the big two: Cost and Time. Our club now offers not only the Traditional membership but also Corporate membership and Family membership as well as Honorary, and Rotary Volunteers. In regards to time, we count all events and fundraisers as meeting time so if you miss a meeting but attend an event it counts. Or, if you are doing Rotary work not during a Rotary meeting and it takes an hour or longer it counts as a makeup.
Another important area our club has focused on is that the younger retirees, the "Baby Boomers" are doers. They like to be full of action, seeing results, listening to really good speakers rather than, eating out every week, writing checks and going home. So, we have partnered with a nonprofit that helps children in the communities: we serve food,necessities. We help out in the warehouse organizing and checking food to be packaged for delivery to the schools in our towns. We have fundraisers to raise money to help our Angels and Backpack food program as well as all of our other Projects.
Our hands on community service projects include four Senior Spaghetti dinners, three Pancake breakfasts, handing out Dictionaries/Thesaurus to the 3rd graders in our seven towns and participating in the town holiday celebration.
Having new prospective members buy into what our club does was easy but it doesn't stop there! Our next focus was on the educating of the Prospective new member by having key district speakers come to speak. Topics such as the ESSEX program, Foundation, Grants, or an International Project has been very beneficial to the new members. We feel this makes them feel empowered to want to participate. Inviting new members to attend district events is also very important especially if you want members to gain the knowledge and confidence to become future club and district officers and leaders.
Our final focus is on fun!! Our club plans many fun family oriented events throughout the year.
We are looking to continue our growth into the future.