Our guest speaker at our Friday Breakfast meeting on April 2022 was Mr Andy Rajapakse, a champion in attracting young people to Rotary. His visionary leadership helped our district 9640 have the largest number of under 40’s in Australia and in Zone 8.
PHF Andy Rajapakse MAICDimage
Zone 8 Assistant Rotary Coordinator
District 9640 Governor 2020/2021
Andy shared more with us about his favourite topic - Growing Rotary Membership!  Andy assists David Harmon, who is Rotary's current District Membership Chair and District Governor Elect for 2023-24 to spread the word about the one-day upcoming district Membership Summit titled, “Making Rotary Membership Memorable”, on 23 April 2022.
Andy is a champion in attracting young people to Rotary. His visionary leadership helped our district 9640 have the largest number of under 40’s in Australia and in Zone 8. He served as District Membership Chair in 2016 and District Public Image Chair 2017 to 2020. His innovative membership and public image campaigns enhanced Rotary's image to become Australia’s largest growing Rotary district in the last two years. In 2018/19 Andy initiated and formed two new format Rotary clubs, Varsity Lakes and the Gold Coast Passport, the 25th passport club in the world.
Andy is a practicing international marketeer and public image professional. An active member of Gold Coast Central Chamber of Commerce and Australian Institute of Company Directors. Currently he is CEO of an international marketing company recruiting high school students from Australia, NZ, and Asia for leadership programs at Harvard University in USA. He is an Ex-Co member of Enterprise Asia in Malaysia, Asia’s largest entrepreneur network. He worked in twelve countries with three of world’s largest marketing and media companies. 
In his talk on Growing Rotary Membership, Andy referred to the amazing growth experienced by the Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond and recommended it as a role model for our club to follow. The Ballina Club looked at What do members want?
  1. Friendship
  2. Community Service
  3. Personal Development 

The Club leveraged Rotary's 5 values:

They developed a strategic plan (which often end up in a filing cabinet), that was followed through to focus on local causes, such as, domestic violence and helping rebuild the town after recent floods. The Rotary members are engaged in community, not simply raising funds and giving out cheques, important as that is. Through engaging and educating members they connected fund raising to a cause.
The Club established "Core Business Objectives'. 
Andy quoted Sir Winston Churchill, "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often." Whilst Churchill said this in response to criticisms about the fact that he changed political parties, this quote in essence means that to lead change, we must start with ourselves first.
The Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond, which was chartered in July 1986 and has an active membership of 50, decided to be the change in their town through a project focusing on a cause important in their community, namely, Domestic Violence (DV). The club was committed to decreasing the incidence of Domestic Violence and Family Abuse, increasing Respectful Relationships of all people in their community, enhancing Wellbeing and Mental Health and Keeping them Safe through the project: 'Ballina Rotary says NO to Domestic Violence'.
The Domestic Violence campaign started in 2018 to raise awareness, implement educational programs and Support Families escaping Domestic and Family Violence. They organised a 'Walk against Domestic Violence in Ballina' each year, and have one planned for November 2022. The club has partnered with the police to design and distribute umbrellas into squad cars with the Rotary and NSW & QLD Police logos with a strong advocacy message 'Say NO to Domestic Violence' and 'Saying YES to respectful Relationships'.
Through this campaign against Domestic Violence the Ballina-on-Richmond Rotary Club grew their membership from 34 to 71. Ballina club also had the highest growth amongst Australia's 1040 Rotary Clubs in 2020-2021. In particular, female members grew because the cause of  DV mattered to them.
Andy pointed to another example of club growth in the Corporate Rotary Club in Southport that has formed a community between business executives in one building who meet regularly in each other's Board Rooms. They are no longer strangers to each other in the lift, but have formed close friendships and enjoy social and fund raising activities together. In this way Rotary was "breaking walls" between groups in companies who may not otherwise engage with each other.
In closing, Andy challenged Broadwater Southport Rotary Club Members to think about how we re-invent our club to focus on a cause in community as a way of drawing in new members. He recommended we invite Rtn David Harmon from the Rotary Club of Ballina-on-Richmond to address our way forward to increase membership.
In his vote of thanks, Rtn Ray McCabbin stated that Domestic Violence on the Gold Coast had increased by 14% and it would be a worthy cause for our club to engage with our community.

Watch the video —


“Making Rotary Membership Memorable” Summit — 23 April 2022

To book your place at the Summit click here:  https://www.trybooking.com/BXXIQ