The importance of mentorship

Every Rotaract club is as strong as the activity of its members. That’s why it’s not random to find a club with fewer members outperforming another with more registered members. Every person who for any reason finds himself at a Rotaract club fellowship is a potential active member. All it requires is to convince him to come again and eventually stay- if he is deemed Rotaract at heart (a person who is/ can be useful to society- basically one who is not a thief or conman, etc).

From the time a potential member is identified to the time that person becomes a super active member of a club, there must be care in understanding him and weighing up whether his values can match with the Rotaract values. If you recruit a conman into the club for example, chances are that he will not make a good treasurer. When choosing potential members, go for people who live lives that can benefit the community.

After identification and bringing the member to your first club meeting or project, you need to convince him that he is at the right place. Make him feel at home, serve him club material (info that he can read later on such as what Rotaract is about, what your club is about, etc). Have fun fellowships and projects. That way, visitors might want to visit again especially if they understood the Rotaract material you gave out at first.

At the end of the first fellowship/ project, the club should assign someone (the person who introduced the visitors is a good idea) to follow up by phone or physically and find out the person’s experience. That feedback is useful in making the club more attractive to visitors. What the visitor didn’t like can be improved upon and what he liked can be continued.

Once a visitor has become frequent and developed an active liking for the club, a mentor should be assigned by the club to prepare him for induction and life as a Rotaractor. The mentor must be one very knowledgeable in Rotary/ Rotaract matters and a person who commands the respect of other members. A mentor can be a board member or ordinary member as long as he is knowledgeable about the club and its values.

The mentor must commit a lot of her time to the visitor, getting to know him to as personal a level as he is comfortable with and teaching them about all Rotaract ethics to the point that the visitor shows a (positive or negative- but a reaction) reaction to the club. Answer questions and give examples. There’s lots of material on the web. For as long as the visitor is not ready, stay the induction until such a time as he has proven to understand- in recital and actions- the pillars of the Rotaract Club. If he has started queuing up for project assignments, you have a useful member-in waiting on your hands.

A person such as above, once inducted will be a useful asset, able to transform the club and bring ideas that improve it. That person will be in position to represent the club’s interests with minimal supervision and mentor others.

If you made mistakes and recruited without mentorship, there’s still time. Organize mentorship workshops for your club members and have a few senior Rotarians and Rotaractors speak to members about Rotary and the values it stands for. Also encourage your members to read widely.

A Rotaract club that counts more on quantity rather than quality of members is bound to go extinct so, from the Rotaract Club of Kigali City we ask you- how is your club doing, member by member?


Peter King

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