I’m not sure if many Rotarians in the District are aware that we have a Rotary Club that takes its name from the BWI airport. Unfortunately, as several of the members reported to me with glee, at times people ask them what “BWEE” means. (Get it? BWI? Looks like it spells “bwee?” I’m not making this up, folks!) I had the opportunity to meet with this stalwart group recently and I can report that this club is determined to have a major impact in their community. And like many of the small clubs I’ve visited, you can’t measure their enthusiasm to serve by the size of their membership. The BWI club focuses much of it’s energy on meeting the needs of economically deprived elementary-level public school students. They are passionate in their desire to help North Anne Arundel students get much needed economic help.
Unfortunately, they know that their mission won’t be best served with the club at it’s current size and so part of the club’s agenda on the day of my visit was to discuss their upcoming “Meet and Greet.” If “Meet and Greet” sounds suspiciously like District 7620’s new “Open House” model of membership recruiting, it is. In fact, club leaders have met several times with District Membership Chair, Darrell Nevin, in crafting their current campaign. Sounds like they will be using direct mail along with some old fashioned networking to get some warm bodies in the seats. If they can translate the energy I saw during my visit into a Meet and Greet “home run,” then this club will be off to the races.
My advice to the BWI crew, other than give to the Rotary Foundation, (which was the reason for my visit) is to target the fast-growing business community around the BWI airport for membership. The key is for guests to see the BWI club as it could be. And to do that, the current members will have to inspire their guests with a combination of imagination and a lot of old fashioned hospitality. When business owners see that they can have a dramatic impact on the local community by joining a small club, I think they are going to get excited.
When small clubs decide that they are going to make something happen, the results can be amazing. It doesn’t take many new members to make the percentage growth numbers go vertical. And when the membership starts to grow, so will this club’s impact on the local community. So come on BWI…we are all rooting for you!