Since my last missive, it is wonderful to see the involvement of members in bringing our M³ Vision to life for our club. With this in mind, I want to provide my update to our members on how we are progressing in delivering on our Back to Basics strategy.
The number of members wanting to participate in our morning meetings has made my decisions around the agenda tougher. There is only a finite amount of time in the mornings, and some members have to be turned away or delayed. This is a good problem to have and it helps reinforce one of the cornerstones of our club's appeal. By improving our experience in the morning meetings, we can raise the energy and enthusiasm of our members, and those we want to attract.
This leads me to observe how our club is seeing a good and healthy influx of guests and many are coming in from you telling our story – keep it up. Many of you may have heard me say it: "if we cannot tell our story, then who will?" It is critical that we keep telling our story to those we meet and encourage them attend the meetings. We have calling cards that we can hand out to invite new prospects to have a breakfast on us – Chris Boland's point about us "not running out of food" is on point, so let us make sure none of it is wasted.
Our social media and PR is helping with promoting our outreach that helps us tell our story to more people within our community. We regularly posting on our website, social media channels and getting picked up by the local media. We need to be more proactive in this area, and with the ease of access on our technology platform we have an opportunity to all become comfortable with using it to tell our story.
All in all, this is good progress and helps to explain why our club seems to be the fastest in membership growth within our district! With this in mind, let me provide a quick update on the four areas of our "Back to Basics" strategy – Tell our Story; Engage our Community; Grow our Membership and Improve our Brand.
Tell Our Rotary Story:
I have been tracking our postings on the website and social media channels for this Rotary year and we are making good progress against our goal of 500 postings – we currently stand at 304 postings, so we are clearly on track to meet the goal. This is great outreach and our followers are increasing on both Facebook and Twitter accounts, especially as we remain active in our postings.
We now have a new relationship in place at the Bellevue Reporter, who has been very supportive in publishing our press releases – here are the two that were published:
- Kindering Donation Story: http://www.bellevuereporter.com/news/bellevue-breakfast-rotary-club-donates-20000-to-kindering/
- SOWA Donation Story: https://www.bellevuereporter.com/news/bellevue-breakfast-rotary-club-donates-5000-to-special-olympics-washington/
One of the calls to action that I do have is for someone in the club to become our PR/Media relationship manager with the press. This is going to be a critical role for us in the next few months as we promote the Race and other activities in the club. This is a great opportunity for someone who wants to learn how to work with the media and create buzz that will translate to your own business. Either let Paul Osborn or me know if you want to take this on.
You only need to go to our website to see the activity around our club to appreciate how much more we are doing to promote the work of our club. This being said, we do need to find a way to get more support around taking pictures and publishing them to our Facebook or Twitter account. This is an easy thing to do and the more we publish, then the wider our reach with outside parties and the broader community. The good news is that we have cross-linked all of our accounts, so if you post to one then you are posting to all.
Engage our Community:
The outreach with our community continues. This helps us get noticed and also allows us to build sustaining relationships for the long term. Notably, we have been active in these areas:
- New Generations: We have made regular contact with our Rotaractors and Interactors. They are enthusiastic and keen to be involved with our club's activities. Please consider them for your upcoming projects.
- Kindering: were thrilled with our contribution to their cause this year. They have been great partners in promoting us through their own network and acknowledged the leadership award we gave to Mimi Siegel.
- SOWA: they are also strong advocates for us through their channels and will continue to look for opportunities to work with us. We can draw on their network for the Race next year.
- King County DSHS: with our Family Festival we have once again demonstrated how effective BBRC are at working with many different organizations to help children and teens find their forever family.
- Bellevue City Parks & Recreation: we have partnered with them on two occasions through our Preserve Planet Earth projects. Our most recent effort has allowed to plant over 94 trees, which is at least one tree for every member of the club. Allowing us to do good in our community, while meeting the global challenge set out by RI's President – Ian Riseley.
- District 5030: we have played our part in district events. This includes supporting their fellowship events, the Peace Day Proclamation in Seattle, the Elk Farm visit, hosting our district governor and Rotary First Harvest.
- Rotary International: we have actively used RIs new promotional materials in club meetings, promoted the World Polio Day Celebration (we will also have a BBRC presence at B&MGF live event - 10/24) and we are about to embark on our EREY program this coming November. We have many other relationships with Rotary clubs through our joint projects and these continue to pay dividends around our activities to do good in our community and globally.
- Our conversations with Cascade Designs and others continues, while we find the right opportunities to successfully partner with each other.
We are continuing to trend positively in terms of membership and we have had five new members join the club this Rotary year. This puts us ahead by 2 against the goal we have set ourselves for one new member each month of Rotary Year 2017-18. This is a fantastic result that we want to continue with your support.
Keep inviting people to the meetings. Let them experience our vibrant club and the rich program that we have to offer. Our SAA will continue to encourage you to bring guests, although I believe that you will only be thrilled to do so without Curtis's helping hand.
The M³ Vision working group is close to completing their work on the by-laws and new classifications of membership that will help us be more in tune with what we believe people are looking for from Rotary membership. It is our hope these changes will allow for younger professionals, family members and others pressed around our attendance restrictions to find ways that will allow them to be a part of our club.
The working group is to present their findings to our board shortly and then we will share with our membership. Our goal is to get these changes approved, so we can take quickly apply them in support of our club's longer-term legacy in Bellevue.
Improve our Brand:
You will have noticed over the last three months that we are using Rotary's new branding co-laterals in everything we do to help connect our own strategic plan with the bigger initiative being executed by Rotary International. We believe that we can share in the benefits that come from this effort and in partnering with RI we can remain consistent in our messaging and narrative.
We have been deliberate in tying our program back to Rotary themes each month and making sure that we take advantage of the opportunities these themes present. They allow us to tell our story across the service areas and with the things that matter in Rotary, whether this be New Generations, Community/Vocational Service or EREY. In structuring our activities in this way, we are enhancing and developing our product in such a manner that it will appeal to our members and future members. Being consistent in the approach will allow us to continually enhance and add value to our club membership – I hope you are seeing the difference.
We have also completed a lot of heavy lifting in the club administration, to allow for us to be nimbler around daily decisions. The board has set up Standard Operating Procedures that allows our Club Admin to handle more of the daily activities without direct board involvement. We have also, thanks to Ann Norman and others, setup our electronic records on Dropbox, where we now have a complete archive of all of our club documents and decisions. Furthermore, we had addressed some of the niggly regulatory reporting needs around our charitable status that will allow us to remain in good grace with the State. All of these activities, positions us well for better governance and execution as a club going forward.
We will continue to optimize our club's organization, so that we can demonstrate our value to our members, new prospects and the community at a large. Our board and the M³ Vision working group are key into making sure we accomplish this during our current Rotary Year, so that the club can be ready to embrace the changes in 2018-19.
Please keep your ideas coming through to me. I have been thrilled with the feedback and support so far from each of you. I continue to commit to each of you that we will bring value to your membership and involvement with BBRC. In return, I look to you to each find a way to make a difference – if not you, then who?