The Lions Club is not a religious organization. However, I have said many times it allows me to practice my faith in God, by helping those who are less fortunate and in need. Often the ways we can engage the community in our clubs and our churches are similar. The following ideas have been adapted from the writings of Rick Warren.
1. Your club must decide that it really wants to grow its membership in an effort to increase its service to the community. Without a commitment to grow which is matched with a vision to achieve our purpose of service, a club will not be successful in its quest for greater community involvement.
2. Leadership must be shared. Too often, clubs have become content with the president taking on the sole responsibility of leading, generating ideas and representing the club at zone, district and state functions. If a club is going to grow the membership must be empowered with the ability to determine the clubs destination and potential. The President must move into the role of Director of Activities, while appointing motivated members to lead in specific areas of service, involvement or growth.
3. Mobilize all members. A club that is growing has taken inventory of its members talents and interest. Once the clubs human resources have been determined, all members should be given the opportunity to understand the vast scope of service in which LIONS Clubs around the world are engaged.
4. Presidents should engage the Vice Presidents in the leadership of the club. As the club grows from 15 to 25 and eventually 50 plus members, the need for additional leadership and oversight will become evident. The task of Club President, when a club is growing through providing vibrant, visible and viable service to the community, can be overwhelming. Additionally, Vice Presidents, who have had an opportunity to lead are better equipped to move into the role of “Director of Activities” a/k/a Club President.
5. Multiple your services. Lions Clubs International may have been without a focused purpose for the first 8 years of its existence. Then, through the vision of Helen Keller, Lions responded with a resounding roar to the challenge to become “Knights of the Blind.” Fast forward 90 years to 2015, and you find an organization that has grown to over 1.37 million members by answering the silent cries of those who are in need. Clubs which are on the grow have expanded their services beyond sight conservation.
6. Plan big days. A club that is struggling with visibility in its community, should not wait for Lions Clubs International or even the Lions of Alabama to provide a generic public relations campaign. Rather, a club should make its own splash in its community by planning big days of service or membership initiatives. When a club engages itself in highly visible, high impact service projects the news media will provide coverage. While check writing is not news worthy, projects such as “Dining In The Dark”, “Lions Literacy Projects”, and “Disaster Relief” are often covered because of their appeal to community interest.
7. Utilize committees. As a club grows its membership, the Executive Officers and the Board of Directors are no longer able to administer every aspect of the club. By utilizing committees, your club can gain greater membership involvement, develop leaders and utilize the talents of each member.