Posted by Sean Paddy on Feb 20, 2019
Like many Rotary clubs, the Rotary Club of Humboldt, Tennessee, USA was looking for ways to boost its membership two years ago when it heard about the flexible and innovative club models being promoted out of Rotary headquarters. They were excited and did a bit of research to see if one option, corporate membership, would work for them...the results have been phenomenal.
Sharing their success story with other Rotarians, the Rotary Club of Humboldt is now at 75 members, up from 45 a little over a year ago and it anticipates growing to 100 members by the end of this year.
Here’s a bit of information about how they did it.
When talking to other Rotary groups, the Rotary Club of Humboldt stresses that its corporate membership plan is not the end all and be all. It is just one of many tools a club can offer to energize and motivate club members to “ask” people to join. Most of the people who are joining their club had never been asked to join Rotary until they rolled out their new plan.
At the start of their evaluation process, the Rotary Club of Humboldt took the following three steps:
  • They discussed the feasibility of a corporate plan with fellow Rotarians within their club who have been long time members
  • They contacted key clubs within the US that have corporate plans in place to understand the perceived benefits
  • They discussed the idea and came to agreement at their board meeting to move forward with the plan
They then approached two influential companies in their area who agreed to become our first two corporate sponsors. These were the Jones Family of Companies and Bancorp South. Both companies had one member each and will move forward to a four-member and two-member corporate membership respectively. Both companies also viewed the plan as a great way to introduce Rotary to employees of their company without the stress of weekly attendance for all their members. They also use their corporate membership to introduce employees to the great things going on in our area and within Rotary.

The plan provides companies with the flexibility of using any of their designated members to meet attendance requirements for the organization as a whole. While they pay RI dues for all members in the corporate plan, the cost savings occurs with meals which are calculated at one half of the number of people who are in the corporate plan. (For example, if a company has two people who share a corporate membership, they pay one meal cost; for a four-person corporate membership, two meals, etc.). If they choose to bring all members for special events, they are simply charged additional meal costs in quarterly billing.

The advantage to the Rotary Club of Humboldt with this plan is to increase organic growth within the companies currently represented in their organization along with providing flexible options for other companies who have the potential to be new members.

Adapted From An Article By
Christine Warrington - 2018-21 assistant governor District 6760
Member of the Rotary Club of Humboldt, Tennessee, USA