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Saturday, January 6, 2018

If you want your Optimist Club to grow, you have to talk about membership

Most posts on this website are about membership in an Optimist Club, from the projects they perform to the friendships that are made and the impact that is felt by our communities and within ourselves.

Some posts are about growing our clubs and thereby our clubs' services and some posts are about communicating with the team to facilitate that growth.

This post is about both: membership growth and communication.

You see, in June 2017, I sponsored my 25th member into an existing Optimist Club since moving to the PNW District-Optimist International. That number does not include persons I have recruited who joined new Optimist Clubs and for some reason, my sponsor record from the Illinois District-Optimist International is not included.

Anyway, sponsoring 25 new members into existing Optimist Clubs is a pretty fair contribution to our organization and that is why Optimist International awards a member sponsor pin at this level. It's an accomplishment that should be shared with others, both as a thank you and an encouragement.

When I was PNW District Governor in 2009-2010, Membership Chair Lorraine Coots emphasized how important it is for us to recognize those who recruit others to membership. She said, "Put them up front because someone in the back row may say 'I can do that' and at the next meeting, we'll see them in front being recognized too."

pnw optimist clubsI wasn't recognized at the convention in August 2017 for my contribution. I did not attend the first quarter meeting in October 2017, so I was not recognized there either. But randomly, I received a Christmas card from a lady in Oregon (I live in Washington) who had attended the first quarter meeting. Inside the card was the 25-member sponsor pin, a thank you letter from Optimist International, and a note from the sender that read, "Found this in things I had from Kennewick - don't know how? Congratulations - well done!"

Many thanks to Judi Van Cleave for taking the care that apparently the Immediate Past District Governor did not wish to take.

As I say in most of my posts, this is not about me or my feelings. It is about communication. As an organization, we must celebrate the behavior that we want others to emulate and acknowledge behavior that we want to discourage.  What happens when members are recognized for recruiting other members? Our Optimist Club grows. Optimist International grows. What happens when people go unrecognized for their service? More often than not, they move on to where they are appreciated.

If we want members to recruit new members, we must talk about it and any chance to do so furthers the mission. This is a reminder to talk about membership growth within your Optimist Club and your District. Use every tool available to spread the goodness of optimism and remember, sometimes that begins with a thank you.

If you would like to join an Optimist Club or start a new Optimist Club in your community, I would love to help you connect. Please send a note and we'll get started.