This morning I was at the meeting of one of the service clubs I belong to and, as usual, there was the common complaint that young people just aren’t joining and that membership is down. This made we wonder - are service clubs passé?
It used to be that being invited to belong to a service club like Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions and so many more was a true social feather in one’s cap. Furthermore being on the committee at a Chamber of Commerce or volunteering to help with community-focused functions was a mark of a true forward-minded community member. The Elks dotted the land with their halls and so many clubs did so much for the community.
Furthermore, being part of these groups also netted someone more business. If your fraternity brother had a tire shop and you needed tires there was no question as to where you would go. But today we have social media and the community that it offers.
In fact, social media lets us keep in contact with all sorts of business and personal resources. You no longer have to wonder what happened to the people who moved from your neighborhood several years ago as they’re on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat.
Funny thing from my days owning a resort I still keep in contact with a good number of people who were guests at the resort in the past. I know that Arnie and Doug just made another batch of olalaberry jam (it’s fantastic!) and that another guest got an award for her pink vintage Mustang.
Last night our local Chamber of Commerce had a meeting of all the business associations from around the community I live in and the common lament from most of them was, we just can’t seem to get new members.
And that’s what sparked this blog post. As I wound my way home around the volcano that separates my little pocket of this community from the one I was in I couldn’t help but wonder if service clubs were really something for the memory books. Has social media made service clubs passé?
Absolutely not. Those of you who were seething by this point, go ahead and take a chill pill.
The reason we have service clubs is to do service in and for the community. That service includes helping those who are less fortunate, or collaborating on doing events to bring people into the community. Service clubs are there when disaster strikes and are a great resource to help pull through those disasters.
Service clubs generally are made up of some of the more affluent members of the community so they often have quite a well of money which they then turn around into scholarships, programs for the needy, community benefit and so much more.
Plus the bottom line is, people like to do business with people they spend time getting to know. While social media is a force for gathering and sharing personal and professional information, it’s not the same as interpersonal in-person interaction.
And one of the service clubs at last night’s dinner is experiencing a real renaissance partially because a very small number of super active participants are absolutely making things happen for their members and their community.
Service clubs are like the gym - don’t just belong and never go. Be a part of it. You’ll feel better. Your community will win and your business will win. Yes, I mean you.
The bottom line is, it is well worth participating in at least one service club in the community as well as with your local chamber of commerce. After all, people do business with whom they do business with. In other words, if they know you they are more likely to work with you.