August is Rotary Membership Month. We made it through the first month of the Rotary year, July successfully. For the first time in over ten years, we started the year with a net increase in members, 67 compared to the beginning of the prior year (July 2021). This is largely attributed to the great work of Membership Chair PDG Tony Marmo and our Membership committee along with each individual clubs’ hard work. As clubs became more comfortable meeting in-person, members helped recruit new members. This year, already, we have increased membership by 13 new members. That’s a great start. Traditionally, at the end of each Rotary year, clubs would drop members from the rolls as a result of member’s non-payment of dues among other reasons. This usually results in a negative annual growth. Our district was one of only three districts in our Zone of 22 districts to have a positive membership growth for 2021-2022. Great work! Also, at the end of last Rotary year, thanks to the Walden club and the Rhinebeck club, we have added two new satellite clubs in Ellenville and Rhinebeck evenings.

For August, let us all think about how our own clubs can maintain members and grow Rotary. First, look around the room at your next meeting. Is your club a reflection of your local community? Are you diverse and inclusive? Are your members a representation of the businesses, professions, and community organizations within your club’s geographic area? If you regularly support a local non-profit or community group, does that organization have a member in your club? Is your meeting location accessible to differently abled individuals? Are there steps that may prohibit an individual with a walker or wheelchair from accessing the meeting room and making it equitable to all?

By now, new club presidents are probably comfortable with running their meetings and establishing a rhythm that works for them. I encourage each club president and membership chair to look at Rotary’s “ Membership Assessment Tools” available on
There are helpful assessment tools included for:
• Representing Your Community’s Professions: A Classification Assessment
• Diversifying Your Club: A Member Diversity Assessment
• Finding New Club Members: A Prospective Member Exercise
• Improving Your Member Retention: Retention Assessment and Analysis
• Enhancing the Club Experience: Member Satisfaction Survey
• Understanding Why Members Leave: Exit Survey
It is suggested that in addition to an “exit survey”; conduct an “entrance survey” with your new members. Ask them what they are expecting from Rotary. Whether it be volunteering for service activities; or social activities; or just that wonderful feeling of knowing that we are doing great things in the world and locally. Show them you care about them as a member of your club. Remember RI President Jennifer Jones’ concept of “comfort and care” for each of our members.
You should have heard about the recent case of polio in Rockland County. The county of Rockland, along with several health centers have been conducting vaccination clinics within the county. We have been in touch with the Rockland Health Commissioner and are awaiting a meeting to ascertain how Rotary and the District can help.
Lastly, please sign in to ClubRunner and update your personal information, most importantly your correct birthdate and a correct email address. Quite a few current members’ emails get bounced back because some business email servers do not recognize the mailings through Clubrunner.
Let’s have a great last month of summer and get ready for our “helping the Hudson Valley keep warm” coat drive in October/November.
Thanks, DG Larry Palant