The STAR Program was developed by the Rotary Club of El Paso, Texas, USA, in 1976. It has proven to be a very effective tool for creating a better informed membership and preparing members for club leadership positions. Clubs are encouraged to adopt similar programs to promote a more involved and knowledgeable membership.
Because there is a complete annual turnover of new members, the program can be repeated every year. In addition to serving as a vehicle for Rotary information, the STAR breakfasts help new members get acquainted with each other and at least a few of the club’s more experienced Rotarians. The friendly and informal atmosphere created by small group meetings leads to more questions and good discussions. In a large club, this can be a very helpful tool for promoting fellowship.
The following STAR guidelines can be adapted for use by your club:
Each new member is placed on the STAR Committee and requested to complete a questionnaire and provide a photo. The new member’s biographical sketch is then presented in the club’s weekly bulletin. New members are distinguished by a red star pasted on their Rotary badge with a red ribbon attached, and experienced members are requested to sit with them at club meetings and become acquainted.
Within two weeks of joining Rotary, all STAR members are visited personally in their place of business by the chairperson and/or co-chairperson of the STAR Committee.
Hour-long STAR breakfast meetings are held once a month except in December. All new members are expected to attend these meetings for one year. No attendance credit for a club meeting is granted as it is a committee meeting.
The STAR Committee is made up of the chairperson (usually a past district governor or past president), co-chairperson (the immediate past president of the club), and three or four other members who are past presidents, the president-elect, and a few continuing STAR members, if they request to stay.
ALL club members are invited to attend at any time to update themselves on Rotary information and to meet the new members. In addition, members of any other clubs in the city or district are welcome to attend.
Typical programs feature a welcome to first-time attendees; recognition of new STAR graduates; announcements of upcoming club and district activities and events; and the meeting program followed by questions and answers. Program topics include each of the four Avenues of Service; attendance; club history; The Rotary Foundation; and the programs of Rotary International. Programs are presented by directors or the committee chairperson responsible for the topic being covered.
The new members of the STAR Committee are given the responsibility of organizing the “Holiday Luncheon” in December.
Make-up meetings are held once a month immediately after the regular Rotary Luncheon.
The STAR Committee chairperson publishes a monthly report in the weekly club bulletin.
Retaining good members is as critical to Rotary’s long-term health as is the induction of new members. Your recruitment efforts will be more effective if your club has a large number of experienced and informed Rotarians in its ranks.
Research has shown that a positive program of continuing education can help to increase a club’s overall retention rate. Such a program would include some of the following components:
Frequent communication of Rotary news and information;
At least four club programs a year focused on continuing education;
Attendance at multidistrict meetings that address continuing education;
At least two informational club assemblies a year;
Personal involvement of Rotarians in club and district projects and activities, particularly those that require hands-on action;
District-level seminars on continuing education;
Stimulating and efficiently run weekly meetings that keep members interested in Rotary;
Promotion of fellowship and enjoyable activities within the club;
Sharing of ideas and information on Rotary programs, projects, and activities at regular committee and fireside meetings; and/or
Attendance at meetings of other clubs.