Tri State Membership Challenge

Lions of Ohio,

You may have heard by now that the Lions of Ohio have challenged the Lions of Michigan and Indiana in membership recruitment. We are calling it the Tri-State Lions Membership Challenge. This is to see who can bring in the most new members and retain current members beginning December 1 through March 31. Although the final prize for the winner has not yet been determined, the real prize of this contest comes in stronger clubs and more hands/members to serve our communities.

Does your club need more members? Does your club want more members? Is your club ready for more members? I am sure all of you are answering yes, definitely, and absolutely; but is that really the case? Does your current membership want to expand their impact in your community? Is your current membership willing to accept new ideas, new goals, new leaders? Is your current membership ready for change? After answering the last three questions, are you still confident in your original answers? Every Lion asks what has happened to our organization? Why aren’t we getting new members? What will it take to turn it around?

I believe the main reason we find our organization where it is, comes from the fact that we have become comfortable. We are comfortable seeing the same people who are going to chair the same projects when we attend the meetings twice a month. We are comfortable renewing the club budget each year, making the same $50 dollar donations to the same causes that we first budgeted 25 years ago. We are comfortable with the budget because that fund raiser still makes the same $500 that it did the first time we did it in 1995. We are comfortable doing that project with a couple less members, because after 25 times we have it down pat. We have become comfortable with the same person or couple of people being club president and some are comfortable just doing the office instead of worrying about where a new officer may take us. Maybe it’s time we become uncomfortable!

If we are to revitalize our clubs and thereby have a greater impact in solving the needs of our communities, we need to leave our comfortable surroundings. We need to look at our current services and projects from a critical perspective. $50 in 1995 has the purchasing power of $28.46 today. $500 in 1995 adjusted for inflation is worth $284.58. What does this mean? Although we are giving the same support to a cause that we did 25 years ago, we are in fact only providing that cause with about half the value of what we originally did. If our fund raiser is making the same as it was 25 years ago, then it is only providing about half the service that it did. I do not point this out to dishearten anyone. My point is we have to evaluate why, where, when and how we operate, and determine if we are actually accomplishing what we want to. Can we increase the income from a fund raiser or do we need another one? Do we continue to support all our causes the same or do we consolidate to better serve the ones that are truly important to us?

With new members come new perspectives and new ideas. Many new members may look at $50 as not something to get overly excited about. They may look upon spending several hours at a fund raiser to earn $500 as not a worthwhile use of their time. Please, please understand that I am not criticizing $50 donations and $500 fundraisers, all clubs including mine have them. I use these as examples of how and why we must be open to new perspectives, and how our comfort zone may not be appealing to perspective members. Many believe after many years of service they don’t want to put forth additional efforts, and that is understandable. However, if we don’t recruit new members and update or add to our programs we will just fade away and all our successes will just be memories for a while.

We all want new members for our clubs, and by utilizing programs like THE OHIO PLAN and JUST ASK we can get them. We also need to keep them once they are Lions. For that I strongly encourage clubs to use programs such as THE BLUEPRINT FOR A STRONGER CLUB and THE CLUB EXCELLENCE PROGRAM, as well as providing a strong member orientation on being a Lion and what it means. Let’s strengthen our clubs immediately and for the long term. Even with the pandemic, we can work together to review how our club functions through email, phone, electronic media, and Zoom. Through Facebook and Zoom we can recruit new members; believe me it is being done! Again these things maybe well beyond our comfort zone, but in the end we can take great comfort in knowing our organization will be serving our community long after we are no longer able. If you want assistance in any of this, please contact your District leadership. They are ready, willing, and able to help your club continue to grow.

Yours in Lionism,

CC Kenny Schuck
MD13 Ohio 2020 - 2021


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