Welcome to month two of Civitan Champions of Service: Believers! We have a strong start to the year thanks to you, and I BELIEVE we ae going to have an amazing year. You probably already heard me talk about it, but it bears repeating. The last time North America had a pandemic of this magnitude was in 1918-1920, The Spanish Flu which killed 675,000 Americans and 50,000 Canadians. The US economy was down and political strife was rampant. But what happened in the following decade was truly amazing! The US economy doubled and service clubs thrived. Civitan went from 1 club in 1920 to 24 clubs and 4,000 members by 1925. This period after the Spanish Flu was dubbed ‘The Roaring 20’s”. We see so many similarities today and it is time to bring on the roaring 2020’s!
We are hopefully starting to return to some sense of “normalcy” after almost 2 years dealing with this pandemic. I highly encourage you to get vaccinated, if you can, and take precautions so we can stop the spread of this dreaded disease. We all know someone who has had serious complications from COVID or even succumbed and we pray for healing for those affected around the world. After all we have been through, service clubs like Civitan, are needed now more than ever.
I BELIEVE that we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvent and rejuvenate Civitan into a thriving and growing organization. There is a tremendous pent-up demand to get out and do projects, fundraisers, and socializing. We want to get out and do what we know best and that is to make our communities a better place to live and work.
This month I want to talk about recruiting new members into Civitan. Why is that so important? New members mean more hands to do service work, new and fresh ideas on how to serve our communities, new life-long friendships. And a very important part is new members mean new potential leaders who can develop life skills in becoming a club officer or project chair. Looking back in history, we lose on average about 17% of our members each year. Despite our best efforts we will lose members in most clubs because people move away or their life changes to where they don’t feel they can participate. If we want our clubs to grow, and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t, we will need to add on 20% new members to offset the expected loss. Just think of how our organization would grow if everyone would recruit just one new member this year. Along with the planned new clubs and everyone recruiting one new member, we would double the size of Civitan! I BELIEVE we can do it! Do you?
So where do we find these new members? How about your friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, people from church or the person sitting next to you at Jiffy Lube? Every service project you have and every fundraiser you work is a recruiting opportunity. Make sure you always have an updated club brochure and an application with you! How about your former members? They were convinced about Civitan before, maybe their life has changed that they can come back and be a member. Schedule a Homecoming event and invite all your past members. We have been saying for years that we need younger members in our clubs. While that is a grand and noble idea, we had not had much success in bringing in a 25–40-year old into a club with an average age of 72! Maybe we have been targeting the wrong group. What group has time on their hands and probably the financial resources to help in a club? What about new retirees or new empty nesters? We should all be hanging out at the senior centers with applications in hand and by the college dorm when junior is sent off to school. Develop a strategy on how to target and attract those type of members!
Thank you to all of you have recruited new members in the past! You know how rewarding it is to share Civitan. For those of you who have not recruited a new member before; I know you can do it and we are going to help you. If you recruit a new member this year as your first recruit, you will not only get your first recruit pin, but Civitan International will waive the initiation fee for that member you just recruited! Recruiting is not hard. The worst thing that can happen is the person will say no and that usually means “no, not right now”. You can always ask again. But the key word is “ask”. You joined Civitan because someone asked you. You have to ask before someone will join. You can do it. I BELIEVE in you!
One last thing for this month. Don’t forget Giving Tuesday on November 30. You will want to remind your club to make their Civitan at the Helm donation on that day and receive triple credit for their donation. Don’t forget our Junior Civitans and make your donations for their All-In Summit also on Giving Tuesday.
Thank you all for all you do. Our communities are better off because of Civitans like you.
Civitan International President, 2021-2022