Dear Fellow Rotarians & Friends of the Club
Mark Williams is our newest Paul Harris Fellow. I will be presenting him with his well-deserved pin during our next meeting on the 5th of March.
Only 9 members showed on the 19th of February lunch meeting. On one side it was disappointing but on the other we could all sit around one table and have a good discussion on Club business. Instant feedback from some members was that they enjoyed the meeting in this format much more than many other meetings. This sparked ideas which prompted me to ask some of the questions I distributed to members in the form of a survey. You can read more on the survey further down.
On 23rd of February, Rotary will mark its 113th year. My contribution for the anniversary is that I went in and updated the RCoB members' information in RDU records. Now all members shall be getting their copies of the magazine. May be it is not a bad idea this anniversary to remind us to look deeper into the Rotary membership problems well depicted by low attendance, too. Let's ask the questions: Who do we actually target? Do we know who they are and what they want? What value proposal comes from the Club? Is it tailored to those people we target? I have distributed during the meeting short descriptions of the different generations we are dealing with. May be a good guest speaker with recruitment background can give us some deeper insights?!
In relation to seeing answers I am working towards making our Ideas Factory with QUT Business School a success. I met with the team of facilitators who are as excited about the opportunity as I am. Dr John Bensley and Dr Antony Peloso will lead the exercise. They are both corporate educators. John is also the Academic director of QUT Canberra in addition to his family ties with Rotary. His father was a dedicated Rotarian and PHF. John himself is a RYLA graduate.  There are currently 30+ people registered for the event with two more weeks to go so hopefully the number will go up.
Mentioning RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards), the next one is scheduled between 5 and 11 May 2018 at the Luther Heights Youth Camp, Coolum. Clubs are invited to nominate participants and RCoB is collecting applications to be reviewed at our next Board meeting on the 12th of March. If there is anyone, aged 18 to 26, you would like to nominate, please, let me know so that I can send you the application form. Applications must be submitted on District level by 3rd of April.
Another thing I would like to stress on is the Rotary Foundation District Grants. As you know I am discussing a chicken-breeding project for the Solomon Islands and PNG was also added on the map. Last week I met with Celia Grenning from Kyeema Foundation. Chris Muir, RCoB PE, and Michael Evans, Mid-city PP, were also present. The idea is to submit a district grant application for a small project with PNG in focus which fits very well with Chris's priorities for next year. The next deadline is April 26. While it is still worth to go for a district grant I got thinking how effective this process is in the case of our Club. Last year RCoB donated approximately 7,000 USD to the Foundation. This year if we want to carry a project with the Foundation support we have to complete a 16 page application form and hope for it to be approved for a project capped at 5,000 AUD grant support. We still have to provide 2,500 AUD as our own contribution. If we are lucky to get selected then we have to submit four interim reports and a final one. This is a fair amount of work that can be avoided by simply directing Club money to Club projects – something the Board may want to consider further.
I have recently invited members to become active as "Members in the spot light". This might bring extra pressure to the meeting schedule which is why I redesigned the running sheet putting fixed timeframes for all usual activities. We shall aim for improved time-keeping and meeting Chairs shall have a good grip on the bell. Here are the members that signed-up so far:
  • 05/03/2018 – Luke Marshall
  • 12/03/2018 – Tony Pilkington
  • 26/03/2018 – Phil Gresham
  • 02/04/2018 – Jacqui Page
  • 09/04/2018 – Denise Schellbach
The Rotary Club of Brisbane did not have a Board meeting on the 19th due to lack of quorum and with the power given me by the Club Constitution I cancelled the meetings on:
Half of my year as President is long gone and as promised in the beginning of the year I went back to check how members feel about the Club. However, this time I did not use standard Rotary survey but rather asked simple questions that I think are important and relevant in our case. I received 15 replies out of 35 members.
The most worrying fact is that only 6 of the respondents said firmly that they did not consider resigning from the Club in the past 12 months and only 7 definitely see themselves as members in 5 years for the Club 100th anniversary. This may be due to facts such as only 7 of the respondents believe the Club hears what you have to say and only 6 think that their presence in the Club makes a true difference. Only 6 are certain that they get enough value from the Club for their money.
On the positive side 14 of the respondents see the work of the Club President as transparent and 11 see the work of the Club itself as transparent. The Board of the Club is seen as transparent by 6 of the members that provided answers. As a means to both get members involved and improve Board transparency an idea as a result of the Monday experience was investigated. Given the Club low attendance and membership numbers the Board meetings can become part of the regular ones so that all members can attend and have a say even if they do not have voting right on the Board. Smaller clubs, e.g. Mundubbera, have every meeting as a general one and all members vote. This might not be possible for us under the current constitution but we could be looking for a creative solution and 12 of the survey respondents support the above one. This may also save time for Board members who will not have to stay extra hours after the regular meetings.
Another positive feedback is that the current meeting setup with round tables (9 replies) and speakers (11 replies) are still the preferred options.  As long as the current breakfast trial is concerned 8 members say they won't be attending and 7 say they will be attending a regular breakfast meeting if one of the Club meetings per month shifts to breakfast. 10 members say having less meetings will have no impact on their relative attendance while 5 members say they will improve their as a consequence. I guess that those 5 members are ones that aim at attending fortnightly and having less meeting would mean that they could attend all of them. 
As mentioned with only 15 members completed the survey so it is not representative but it gives some food for thought till the next meeting at least.
Again, the regular meeting on the 26th is cancelled. See you all on the 5th of March with Luke Marshall as our "Member in the spot light". We won't have a guest speaker as Denise cancelled all of them until we have a straightforward programme of when and where we meet.
President Daniel