Kiwanians, your involvement and action are needed now more than ever before! How many times have you said to friends, “The world is sure changing fast!” Children are also facing the challenges of this fast pace world. These challenges vary from community to community and country to country, and are as diverse as clean water, urban nutrition, pre-kindergarten education or safety issues. The result is that #kidsneedkiwanis now. Kiwanis must be more visible in showing what Kiwanis can do for children.
Kiwanis has been involved in leadership education through service for decades. Kiwanis SLP programs, especially CKI and Key Club, have an unmatched reputation for developing quality leaders. Continuation of these programs is essential. We must also keep pace with educational demands and fulfill the Kiwanis responsibility to children. To do this Kiwanis must start addressing a broader spectrum of children’s needs. Specifically, we must:
- Expand leadership education through existing Service Leadership Programs by including more online courses.
- Develop virtual leadership curriculum for students not involved in Kiwanis sponsored programs by partnering with organizations with on-line education expertise.
- Work with education-based companies to create niche programs to supplement public educational offerings. These modules can address a variety of topics needed in pre-kindergarten education as well as leadership skills for older students.
- Emphasize Kiwanis leadership training to develop better youth mentors.
These ambitious and bold proposals will succeed with your support. The status quo will not! Kiwanis’ decreasing membership is an indicator that communities do not recognize the benefit of Kiwanis. Kiwanis must initiate innovate new programs that:
- Address the needs of children in all Kiwanis communities around the world.
- Build new Kiwanis programs based on the Kiwanis successes of the past.
- Enhance the non-dues revenue income of Kiwanis.
Through innovation, Kiwanis can make a significant mark over the next 100 years. William Pollard, an English clergyman, said, “Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.” Now is the time to innovate for children!
- Are there members of your club who don’t attend often?
- Does your club struggle with member participation?
- Do committee appointments remain vacant?
If the answers to these questions are yes, the diagnosis for your club is indifference anemia. The “Right Prescription” for your club is an infusion of enthusiasm accompanied by a mega-dose of positive attitude. With diagnosis and prescription in-hand, how do we revive the club? The club needs to insure three basic ingredients that are common in successful Kiwanis Clubs: fun, accomplishments, and recognition. Answers to these questions can guide Kiwanis to increased participation of members and the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of additional service-hours. Together, let’s look at these questions.
- Fun is essential. People want to have fun in what they do, and fun is contagious. The club can generate fun, by getting out of its current rut, incorporate new, bold ideas, and involve youthful participants.
- Accomplishments breed satisfaction. Seeing the results of service builds enthusiasm for future projects. Members who witness enthusiastic success will want to be a part of the next project.
- Recognition is vital. Many forms of recognition are required. Recognition is necessary in several forms such as member recognition, local publicity, and community awareness.
These ideas, and others are not new to Kiwanis so how do we inspire implementation? When elected, I will make every effort during my year as president-elect to hold conference calls, individual consultations, and other personal contacts, with club presidents and Lt. Governors, to support them in implementing techniques that will promote increased member participation.
Relevant service, in a fun atmosphere while partnering with Key Club, CKI, and other community organizations will provide a tonic for your club. Incorporate positive leadership and the result is the “Right Prescription” to boost member participation.
The Formula’s major accomplishment has been to prioritize Kiwanis membership. The consequence of declining membership has been well documented. Inviting people to join Kiwanis and opening new clubs must be a permanent part of the Kiwanis fabric. However, Kiwanis must not assume that the current Formula activities will be sufficient to make membership increases an annual occurrence; which must be the goal. Just as there are multiple reasons for membership, the path to sustained growth requires multiple approaches, and builds on the successes of the Formula. Congratulations to those Kiwanians who have opened new clubs in a their districts. These talents need to be shared in each district. True membership expansion will also require:
- Attracting new members to existing clubs:
- Create a promotional packet that can be electronically sent to prospective members when clubs or existing members submit an email address
- Reduce international dues for spouses
- Revisit family memberships or family “clubs”
- Develop procedures for international members and district “at-large” members
- Reducing resignations from all clubs:
- Increase the value of membership through partnerships with retail vendors for discounts
- Increase public recognition of members
- Incorporate club leadership training for all interested members
- Insure future dues increases are minimized through expanded non-dues revenue
- Concentrating efforts to convert Key Club and CKI members into Kiwanians:
- Educate Key Club and CKI members about Kiwanis (especially service) through electronic media
- Reduce or waive membership fee for young adults until age 25
- Expanding Kiwanis presence around the world:
- Expand Kiwanis in South America, Africa, and India
- Highlight more service projects from all countries in the Kiwanis Magazine.
These ideas are only part of the “Right Prescription for Kiwanis.” Kiwanis needs a leader who will reach out to Kiwanians and collect ideas and suggestions on how to reach positive membership expansion. Together we can capitalize on current progress and design new initiatives to address specific district needs. This will both increase membership and grow community service. Andrew Shue said, “Community service has taught me all kinds of skills and increased my confidence. You go out there and think on your feet, work with others, and create something from nothing. That’s what life’s all about.” When we advocate for community service, we benefit the community and increase Kiwanis membership. Please support me in expanding Kiwanis membership by voting for Art Riley as the next Vice President of Kiwanis International.
A prescription is compounded to improve a condition. Between now and the international convention in Las Vegas, I intend to introduce my “Right Prescription for Kiwanis” through a series of blogs to be posted on my website, rxarthur.com. A prescription has numerous ingredients and the ingredients of this prescription have come from the many Kiwanians I have encountered during my 38 years as a Kiwanis member, my three years as an international trustee, and my visits to more than 24 Kiwanis districts. While counseling districts and attending various Kiwanis activities, I have tried to listen. Listen to the changes Kiwanians want to see in their organization.
For years Kiwanians have discussed change at district and international conventions, but the pace of Kiwanis change has not kept pace with the growing needs of children in Kiwanis communities. The need for change, growth, and expansion is now urgent. This urgency requires that the organization listens to members, continues club openings, expands service, and devotes more energy to our youth programs. Kiwanis can’t afford to change directions each year. We must insist that Kiwanis leaders build on the successes of previous years for a future that will serve children and insure strong clubs.
The ingredients of the “Right Prescription for Kiwanis” will be outlined in the coming weeks. I will present ideas on recognizing Kiwanis opportunities, maximizing the Kiwanis potential, and mobilizing Kiwanis resources. The two components of each ingredient that will be essential are to involve all Kiwanians and attract community leaders to concentrate on assuring that children develop into citizens of tomorrow that will lead the world. Districts must assume the lead to address the needs within individual districts. These actions must be supported through dynamic partnerships, both locally and internationally.
If you are a committed Kiwanian, I invite you to join an important partnership to elect me, Arthur N. “Art” Riley for Vice President of Kiwanis International. Visit rxarthur.com often during the campaign to read about the what Kiwanians have taught me, and how together we will make Kiwanis a more vibrant organization.
After careful consideration and discussion with my wife, Vickie, I have decided to run for Vice President of Kiwanis International at the 2018 International Convention inLas Vegas. My decision is based on the following:
1) I believe in you, our Kiwanis members. I will listen to and advance your bold ideas for the future of our great organization.
2) I have creative ideas that will improve our Kiwanis K-Kids, Builders Clubs, Key Clubs, CKI Clubs, Aktion Clubs and Key Leader programs.
3) I have a passion to enhance service to children.
4) I am committed to Kiwanis growth through expanded service, promotion of SLP members into Kiwanis, and new club opening.
5) My extensive Kiwanis, business, and professional experience qualifies me to best represent Kiwanians around the world.
As a career pharmacist, I believe I have the right prescription to make Kiwanis a healthier, stronger organization. Together, we will ensure that Kiwanis is truly recognized as the world leader in service to children. I am prepared, ready and eager to serve each member of Kiwanis.
Yours in Kiwanis,
Arthur N. “Art” Riley