From Yawn to Wow. And I do mean “wow!”

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Membership Chair, Darrell Nevin’s, seminar was pretty good, but his technique for hanging his note pages evenly across the front of the room had everyone buzzing. Talk about “wow!”

Full Disclosure:  Darrell Nevin, District 7620 Membership Chair, is the guilty party responsible for recruiting me into Rotary.  One day, eighteen years ago, back in our old neighborhood on Gold Needle Way in Columbia, as we checked the mail in our clustered mailboxes, he asked me if I ever considered “giving something back” to the community. When I said yes, he asked if I wanted to join him for breakfast at a Rotary meeting and swore I would meet the funniest group of people I’ve ever met.  I went.  He was right.  I joined.  It turns out that joining the Columbia Patuxent Rotary is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I’ve been swilling B&B and “talking Rotary” with Darrell ever since.  I might be one of about 40 or 50 people Nevin has recruited for Rotary.  Not to shabby…

From Yawn to Wow!  If nothing else, District Membership Chair, Darrell Nevin, has a way with words.  One of his latest seminars is called On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow!  I mean, this guy is the Johnny Cochran of membership slogans.  (OK…for those who don’t know:  Cochran was the attorney who, when speaking about the bloody glove left at the scene of the crime at the OJ Simpson murder trial, gave us the memorable phrase, “if it doesn’t fit  you must acquit.”  You say you don’t remember the OJ Simpson trial?  I can’t help you. (sigh))  Other Nevinism’s?  How about:  “Mumbo Jumbo to Membership Mojo.”  Or, “Shrugs to Hugs.”  Or, “Not growing is a Disservice above self.”

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From left, Charlie Olson, Annapolis Evening Club, Marshall Larner, President of the Annapolis Club, and Barton Goldenberg, Past President of Metro Bethesda and current AG, desperately trying to figure out how to “Define Your Why.”

But I digress, Nevin’s From Yawn to Wow membership seminar is just another in a series of legendary membership seminars for District 7620.  Darrell’s not-so-secret secret is that on the way to helping us grow the membership of our Rotary clubs, he also helps us “fix our product.”  And that means we all get a healthy dose of expert advise about how to be a better Rotarian.  Love him or hate him, Darrell isn’t shy about sharing his opinions.  It’s just that after many, many, success stories in the District, with clubs doubling in size after following his advice, we’ve all figured out we might as well listen to what this guy has to say.

What does he have to say about membership?  Not much.  He only gives us comprehensive directions for how to form a membership committee, organize it, and run it.  How to prepare a hit list of membership prospects, a group he calls our “backyard 100.”  How to make the invitation to come to a meeting…er….not a meeting we are taught.  Come to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  We all have too many meetings.  How to follow up with our new prospects.  How to hold a fireside chat, and how to create a new member checklist for retaining our new members.  The newest item on the checklist is for all new members to attend Rotary Leadership Institute.  In short, Nevin covers virtually everything you need to know about growing a Rotary club in specific detail, giving us examples, forms, and inspiration.  How good is that for an evening that included dinner?

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L-R: Mark Messick, President of Mt. Airy, Rotary, and Tom Neff, Immediate Past President of Mt. Airy, Rotary, scheming about how they are going to take their club from 22 members to over 40 members this year. (Guys, don’t call to complain that I made up your membership goal for this blog post.  I was gonna say 50 members this year but I thought that was pushing it.)

You can find Darrell’s membership booklets in a new section on the left side of the District 7620 website at Rotary7620.org.  Visit to find the GROW Membership Training Booklet and the Extreme Makeover for Small Rotary Clubs.  You will be glad you did.

Thank you Darrell for your tireless efforts on our behalf.  And thanks to all of the  Rotarians who showed up for another large does of information, inspiration, and yes…when Darrell is speaking, perspiration.  (Hah!  I’ve got a little Johnny Cochran in me, too.)

Please consider growing your Rotary Club.  It’s the best way I know for your club to do more good in the world.

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The “Membership Maestro” standing at right, mesmerizing the crowd with his “membership mojo.”

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