During our noon Zoom meeting May 26, Tony Paulus (Past President of the Jackson Hole Rotary Club) summarized how he led the revitalization of his Rotary Club with possible lessons for our own club.  Tony, a lifelong educator and a former member of Rotary clubs in Michigan and Florida, commented on three aspects of club membership that drew him in, fellowship, meals, and service.  Although the Jackson Hole club included many of the movers and shakers of the area in its membership, it was largely male and it was shrinking. 
When Tony became president (acknowledging the contributions of several mentors), he set out on an effort to identify what was good about the club and what improvements could be made.  This involved gathering information from current members, including especially past presidents, defining the club’s essence, getting the house in order, and defining what was needed in the area of leadership.  He sent out a survey to all club members with only three questions: what do you like or regret about the club; on a scale of 11 to 6 (best to medium), how has your experience in the club been; and is there anything that you would change? 
He also met with each of the past presidents individually, establishing a good relationship with all of them, and getting lots of good advice - regularly thank the members; always have a plan B; be a weekly greeter; be yourself; emphasize that the president and the members need to feel engaged; all of the members need to feel globally aware.  How many members have proposed new members or volunteered to be on the board?  Who (in addition to the past presidents), among the Jackson Hole members, are rock stars or pillars of the club?  Evaluate the new members (especially the young new members) with respect to their abilities to contribute to the club. 
One of his first actions was to encourage less exclusive membership criteria, thereby opening the doors to more women and greater diversity from the community. As a result, club membership increased from 124 to 150.
Getting the house in order, he concentrated on organizing the nuts and bolts of the organization, defining a succession plan (emphasizing alternating men and women), revising the club’s by-laws (for the first time in 25 years).  In the area of leadership, he leaned on the experience of past presidents and encouraged younger members to take on leadership positions.  He brought in the past presidents as committee chairmen (e.g., International projects, programs). 
Emphasizing the social and networking aspects of Rotary membership, he always sits at a different table for each meeting.  For programs, he encouraged they be essentially a Rotary curriculum, with presentations with local, state, national, and international focus.  Each meeting begins with the 4-Way Test as well as the Pledge of Allegiance. 
In the area of service, the club had a local event that brought in some $200,000 for their charitable fund.  On the international front, under the leadership of one of their members with experience in South Africa, they started a water project in South Africa.  This effort started by providing a water filter, pump, and storage tank to provide fresh drinking water that allowed a local school to remain open.  Over time, this project, in association with the local Rotary Club in South Africa, expanded to improve hygiene across some 51 local schools.  It has become a whole team project involving not only the local Rotary Club, but also students from a wide range of schools in the area, resulting in better education for a wide range of students at all grade levels. 
In response to questions: 
The Rotary Club of Jackson Hole tends to be concentrating on a few projects (largely education-based) rather than spreading their money and time too widely.  That said, he congratulates RCFC for the abundance of projects that we support and hopes that his club will develop more international projects. 
With hybrid meetings, they have lost few members over the last year.  There tends to be tremendous loyalty to the club.  Although he prefers in-person meetings, he appreciates the contribution of the virtual meetings. 
Some of the selling points of Rotary membership include integration into the local community; the quality of weekly meetings, the comradery, and local service. 
As far as programs are concerned, they can make or kill a club.  He emphasized that the club is not a chamber of commerce; it’s not for propagation of businesses or non-profits, although programs in that area are possible, but six to eight in a row gets old.  Although government programs are easy to schedule, government presenters are not terribly reliable.  Talks about Rotary are generally well received.  In general, he advocates treating programs as a curriculum. 
Adding information about the South African project, he pointed out that some communities there will go five or six days at a time with no water.  The entire Jackson Hole community has gotten behind the project. 
Some points to emphasize for recruiting new members: it is a great club; the club is committed to service; the members are those who are active in the community; the club promotes young leaders; and the club facilitates or promotes your ability to do something for the local community as well as for the world. 
In trying to increase diversity in the club, the Hispanic community is especially challenging. Although there is a relatively large Hispanic community in the Jackson Hole area, his experience is that the members of that community are focused on economics (at least in part focused on providing economic support to their families in Latin America) and so have limited time and financial resources for participation in Rotary.