With more than 300 members, Columbus Rotary is one of central Ohio’s oldest and largest service clubs. The organization invests nearly a quarter of a million dollars annually in local and global humanitarian service – particularly with the Columbus Public School system with whom it partners on numerous key initiatives. In addition, the club provides countless opportunities for professional development, networking and friendship among colleagues who share common core values.
As with all long-standing institutions, Columbus Rotary faces tremendous threats to sustainability. How do you take the original form of social networking, social enterprise, corporate social responsibility – and make it relevant in the age of social media? Quite simply, with good old-fashioned marketing strategy. Serving as an officer and president (2015-16) of Columbus Rotary, Sparkafire’s Tricia Strahler led the club in identifying and defining its priorities by way of a “Getting to Go” strategic plan, then taking action to help keep the club’s mission thriving.
In the first year under this plan, the club saw a 7 percent increase in annual giving to its local foundation and an 81 percent increase in donations to Rotary International. Forty-seven new members joined the club in the first year of this strategic plan, reversing an alarming three-year slide. Of those new members, there was a 3 percent growth in women’s membership and an 88 percent growth in members under the age of 50. More importantly, this long-range strategic plan has set the stage and created the road map for continued results well into the future.