What’s Next for Service Clubs?

Don Bartelmay, Sertoma President-Elect

December 11, 2015

I had the great pleasure of attending the Service Clubs Leaders Convention (SCLC) in Biloxi, Mississippi in November. Sertoma President Debby Larsen, Executive Director Steve Murphy and I were attendees. Sertoma and Ambucs were hosting this event and so staff in attendance included Holly Walls, Nick Magana and Bridget Almond. Sixty leaders from service clubs throughout the world were in attendance. These organizations represented over 4 million volunteers. I congratulate Steve and staff for a well-organized convention, we were busy from morning to night, learning and sharing ideas on how to more efficiently manage our organizations and make them more effective, as we pursue our respective Missions.

We had three great speakers. Andy Goodman’s session, “Change the Story, Change the World” was well received. He was our keynote speaker last April in Raleigh on storytelling. This was an expanded version of what we learned. It was an “eye opener” for most in attendance as a way to reach current and prospective members. Most of the service clubs have declining membership and thought storytelling will help further their mission and help recruit new members.

Our second speaker was John Barnes who leads a consulting firm for training boards and CEO’s. His training was on the responsibilities and relationships for service club boards (Presidents, Directors, and Executive Directors). During this session I found myself being proud of our organization and how we work together in these relationships to do a good job of managing our organization. The other organizations were very interested in our Balanced Scorecard strategic planning tool to evaluate the work of the organization. (This tool also came from an SCLC speaker a few years ago.)

Our third speaker was Kimo Kippen, Chief Learning Officer of Hilton Worldwide. His session was on “Customer Engagement and Member Loyalty”. This was an excellent session, below is a takeaway that could be beneficial for your club in recruitment of new members.

“PEOPLE BUY YOU!” Relationships with new members or prospective member starts with YOU! People buy and respect YOU, not the organization. If they respect you they will give the organization a chance, because of YOU.

It was a pleasure to be with this group of people who come together to exchange ideas to further the work of service clubs. It is absolutely amazing all the great work service clubs are doing throughout the world.

We all have a lot to do to accomplish our stated missions, working together is a start.


  • Bob Hill says:

    The “story” must be anew! We need to respect
    the past yet seek the future! I’m finding that it’s very difficult to teach older, declining membership new tricks.
    They are often like frogs in a pan of water slowly to boil. Not willing enough to jump into a brave new world only to wither a slow painful boil.
    My eyes are open, however my frustration is mounting, discouragement pulling me to new fields or places to grow.

  • David Johnson says:

    It was very rewarding to attend 2 of the SCLC. I have learned a lot from my peers from other organizations and know SERTOMA is in the drivers seat with reconnecting to our members.

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