The Rotary Club of Whanganui Daybreak meets 7 am on a Monday, twice a month.

Membership has been pretty static for some time and late last year the club began looking around for new opportunities to grow their membership.  The club members agreed that working people with families are the community members they want to see involved  in Rotary and who aren’t well represented in the town’s other two Rotary clubs, both of which meet weekly – one at lunchtime and the other in the evening.  Having made that decision, the club looked hard at their culture, venue, meeting structure etc; what changes could be made to be more attractive and to make Rotary membership easier for their ‘target market’? 

Then, a new café opened not far from the old venue

 Sometimes the kids even make a presentation to the meeting

Photo of Alex, the son of Rotary Club member Shane King, addressing the meeting.

The meeting venue had been a room off the restaurant of a hotel – isolated from any other people, activity, no opportunity for public engagement or recognition. Then, a new café opened not far from the old venue. A café with an indoor and outdoor playground attached. What better opportunity to attract potential members with families? The early-morning 1-hour meeting suits members; they can bring their children, there is no fixed meal, members choose whatever they wish from the breakfast menu or simply grab a coffee, the kids play while project planning and club business is done. The parents can drop the kids at school and be at work for an 8.30 start – perfect. Sometimes the kids even make a presentation to the meeting – what exciting new things are going on at school, ideas for starting a Rotakids club, as a couple of examples. August will see the induction of a new member who has been attending with her son. BOTH have been enjoying the meetings even though neither would say they are ‘morning people’!