The Future of Sertoma

May 31, 2018

Do you need help recruiting new members or volunteers? Do you have a request from the IRS or a donor? Do you want training? Do you have a problem with a member? Most clubs face these common questions.

So, who are you going to call to get help? Supporting our members is a priority of Sertoma, and we know that the system we have is not working. How do we know? – you’ve told us!

Maybe not directly, but it is clear in the slow but steady decline in membership and worse, the service and philanthropy we collectively provide across the country. We have to do better, as members, clubs and together as Sertoma. It begins with accepting that what we have always done is not creating the outcomes we need. It is time to try something new.

At the February 2018 Board meeting a task force was appointed to work on implementing a new strategy to communicate and support our members. The new roles will focus on what we need to do to make Sertoma work to create a means for positive outcomes in three areas, rather than on geographic areas.

  • Communication: It’s important to know, “Who you going to call?” This individual’s role is to be there to listen and make sure your message is heard by Sertoma.
  • Service and Support: There has to be, “Who is going to help?” whether it’s through training or technical assistance. And that means when and where you need it.
  • Mission: We are the first and last organization dedicated to service and philanthropy (or so we have been told by the IRS). Although there is no one mission for everyone, there is great power and potential in a mission we share. It is ultimately the best foundation we have to grow new relationships in new communities.

So, who you going to call? Well, that is going to change in the next year. But when you do call, both you and Sertoma can expect a better response and outcome. Why? Because what you do for your community is too important to let it slip away.


For better or worse, the world has changed in ways that our predecessors would have found hard to imagine. Much has changed since they put the District structure in place to manage communication and support of the members. Today time, technology, and cost require us to define a strategy for this century. If you like good conversation, if you like hearing about what your fellow members are doing, if you like being on the inside of what is happening, then we have an opportunity for you! We need those who are comfortable with technology to help Sertoma make sure that every member, or at least the leadership of every club has;

  • A clear and timely way to share their concerns and requests directly with Sertoma’s Board and staff.
  • That clubs have accurate and timely information about the resources available from their parent organization.The task force is working on structure, but we expect that each communication role will be assigned 8-10 clubs, and could be grouped by mission focus, club, community size or other traits. The goal is to have clubs that share traits so the communication chair can help connect clubs with similar issues for peer support. This does not preclude that clubs in a geographic area cannot or should not work together. Instead, the focus here is strictly to improve communication between the members and Sertoma. Interested? Please let us know as we begin recruitment and training for this role.


Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, in fact asking for help is a sign of intelligence and self-esteem. Asking for help is simply a means to learn something we want or need to know, or is a means to complete a task that we cannot manage alone. Considering the range of activities and expectations of a community volunteer, asking for help is a great way to get more done, with less effort, and more outcomes.

So, who can help? Sertoma has many members who are qualified trainers and experienced facilitators who end up waiting for an opportunity to help. We know that we have more members with training and support that could add to this resource. Do you like to help? Maybe you could be part of this effort to better utilize our trainers and support resources. Beyond our membership, we are partners with organizations nationally recognized for their curriculum and training support. A significant investment is being made to ensure when a club or member calls we have the tools and support needed. But at the heart of that, we need member trainers and facilitators to create recorded “on-demand training.” And we need this to be available in different areas of the country to work directly with a club or clubs to provide “on request training or facilitation” locally. Plans are being developed in regard to how we will recruit, train and assign these critical service and support roles.


How do you measure growth? There are lots of things we could count, but the real measure for a 501(c)(3) service club is increased service and philanthropy. How do we help our members and Sertoma grow? We have dedicated volunteers focused on growing the mission. For Sertoma that is increasing the engagement of members, other organizations, volunteers and donors in support of our hearing health mission. This includes community projects such as looping efforts, scholarships, grants, providing hearing aids, and educational programming. To grow these initiatives requires that we also increase our fundraising through the Annual Fund, grant requests, corporate sponsors and CELEBRATE SOUND® events. And as we all know this type of growth happens when people are talking to people that share a value in the mission. So for those who are all about doing more with the people and communities that Sertoma serves – we have an opportunity to make a real big difference. Watch for more details as the task force completes their work on how we can make growth a reality.

Do you want to learn more about Vision 2020 and the future of Sertoma? Watch our video to learn more!


  • Carol Jean Farr says:

    I am a regional trainer and have experience years ago in developing training for adult employees of a telephone company I worked for.
    I would be interested in helping with this effort as time permits.
    Carol (C.J.) Farr

    • Merritt Whitley says:

      Hi Carol,

      Thanks for your interest! Your contact information has been sent to the Executive Director. As this new chapter unfolds, you may be contacted. Thank you again for letting us know.

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