Posted by Brian Coffey
Some 40 years ago I started training people – people entrusted their life in my hands. I was a partner in a successful independent SCUBA training facility; teaching four days a week from basic SCUBA to, night, deep, wreck and cave diving. Offering professionalism and quality, people wanted more from us, we were entrusted to teach a Westpac Rescue crew and Police Rescue members to dive.
This taught me to reach our level of success as trainers, we had to invest to be the best, exhibiting competence from initial contact to classroom training and in-water skill development.
As a Police Officer, I operated as a Workplace Assessor and a Business Safety Advisor – again engaging with a positive and professional experience.
On joining Rotary, an organisation of professional people, did my experience match the expectations? Sadly, no. At District level, I did strive in my own areas of influence to change that image – often on a shoestring budget (or none at all, or my own wallet).
Members give freely of their time and funds at Club, District and Region level – the least we can do is respect this, in any function we hold. I am not talking elaborate, just return value for that commitment.
Young professionals, with memory of school and tertiary institutions, do not want to return to that zone for training. Our son is in the corporate world, travelling and training in venues beyond my budget and belief – he is not alone in his knowledge of the corporate world. We then invite these young professionals to meetings and training in low budget halls, rooms and education facilities, expecting them to be impressed!
Choosing the right venue can mean the difference between a successful experience or uncomfortable members who just want to get out the door.
Cost is the biggest consideration of any venue. Licenced clubs often offset this through their community giving. Regardless, your event will fail if ‘IT’ facilities, microphones and temperature control are poor. Compare apples to apples in your venue choice.
As DG, I purchased high-quality microphone, speaker, projector and assorted leads – afraid of venue quality, to show professionalism and respect for the members experience.
Venue ambiance leaves an impression on your members. Run down venues are not conducive to inspiration, bonding and giving your members pride in belonging to your group. They will be out at any excuse – and we lose a lot!
Food cost and quality are big issues for member satisfaction - do you need food? A meeting with a social meal afterwards may be a better flexible option and give those with children time to see them before bed, or for those who do not see value in the meal a chance to meet and leave. Social nights may be better spent monies, and build member satisfaction.
Whether you like the current branding or not, it is essential (and actually part of the ‘Code of Policies’) that Branding and signage be current – there will be members picking the faults if it is wrong – get it right! Show you are part of Rotary International, a professional club with satisfied members engaging and enjoying their involvement – not one that needs to implement regular disaster recovery.
Critically analyse what your membership experience is, by asking members – you might get some answers that open up a new challenge for what Rotary needs to be like in your area. Click the following logo to download the Club Satisfaction Survey.