Londonderry Rotary Club seeks to attract new members

Union Leader Correspondent
February 04. 2018 11:45PM

Mike Dolan, president of the Rotary Club of Londonderry, presents Jeff Nelson of Liberty House with a check from the club for more than $5,000 on Wednesday night. (CHRIS GAROFOLO/Union Leader Correspondent)

LONDONDERRY — The Rotary Club of Londonderry is expanding its social media presence and hosting bimonthly open house sessions in an effort to attract new members to their local chapter of the worldwide service group.

President Mike Dolan said the latest outreach attempts aim to woo younger business owners and millennials in the community by spotlighting the valuable volunteer work within Greater Londonderry.

At its peak a decade ago, the club could expect 35 to 40 members at each meeting. Active membership now stands at 17. Some of the attrition is due to older members relocating; Dolan said others have stopped paying dues because they don’t think they have the time for a civic group.

“A lot of us are baby boomers and we’re getting to the point where people are retiring and some are moving south, and we’ve lost members because of that and we’re trying to get people involved,” Dolan said.

From the Coach Stop Restaurant last Wednesday night, about a dozen Rotarians hosted a handful of potential members. Some guests were business owners, others are children of current Rotarians looking to follow in their parents’ footsteps.

The “New Member Open House” is just one of the outreach efforts. Dolan said the club is continuing to advertise its activities in local media, increase social networking for the next generation of candidates, having current members invite friends to meetings and sending out direct, personalized invitations. Some of the best promotion, is the club’s high-profile community events like Christmas on the Common and the Fall Fling.

While the club’s regular meetings are Wednesday mornings at the restaurant, Dolan said the open house events are in the evening to better accommodate for peoples’ busy schedules. A table of hors d'oeuvres and refreshments is made available as Dolan and other Rotarians make a pitch for the club’s “Service Above Self” mission.

Rotary International has more than 1.2 million members globally in about 35,000 clubs. While much of the large-scale work revolves around clean water projects and eradicating polio, many of the groups aid charities in their communities.

In Londonderry, this list includes the Sonshine Soup Kitchen, Liberty House, St. Jude Food Pantry and others. The club also provides scholarships to graduating seniors of Londonderry High School.

At last Wednesday night’s open house, Dolan presented a check for $5,650 to Liberty House, a Manchester-based facility for homeless veterans.

Jeff Nelson, executive director of Liberty House, told club members their financial assistance drives the food/clothing pantry and much-needed services for the 10-bed dwelling.

Since 2004, the nonprofit has helped about 300 homeless veterans through programs that last between 90 days and a year.

“This is the kind of support that we survive on,” Nelson said.

For more information, visit the club’s Facebook page or contact Rotarian Faye Sell at 434-4989.

Human InterestNH PeopleLondonderry

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