Who are we, and where are we going?
It all started when a speaker didn’t show. On a late winter day in March, the Rotary Club of Indianapolis Northeast had an impromptu club assembly to fill the time. A discussion began about the sustainability of the main fundraiser – volunteering at Lucas Oil Stadium to bus tables in one of the clubs. As club membership has been shrinking and aging, would it be able to continue to fill five shifts for more than 15 annual events? In a spirited and wide-ranging conversation, this led to a number of questions that boiled down to “who are we, and where are we going?”

Say Jeff Dehler, club president, “The discussion was really good, but there was an insistence among club members that we spend time as soon as possible to contin- ue the conversation and find consensus on the answers to those questions.”

A Visioning Process
The club began a Visioning and Strategic Goal Setting process the very next week. The first meeting included a SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats. All club members were sent a link to an online survey so members who couldn’t attend meetings were able to participate. The second meeting reviewed the results. Members discussed what they wanted the club to be known for in three years. Club members also settled on major goal areas. Finally, in June, a four-hour visioning workshop was held to finalize a vision state- ment and a tagline for the club. Time was set aside to tackle several issues specific to the club to provide guidance to committees working on major goal areas.

Results: Doing Good Stuff
The SWOT analysis helped the club establish where it is today. The club is proud
of its generosity, fellowship, and commitment to serve, especially around educa- tion. Challenges include declining, aging membership, and a sense of comfort and complacency. Club members established major goal areas and a vision statement, plus chose the tagline: The Rotary Club of Indianapolis Northeast, we’re doing good stuff. “I like our tagline because it invites a conversation,” said member Bruce Rul- man. “When someone asks about the club and I answer with the tagline, it invites the question, ‘like what?’ then I can provide examples.”

Next Steps
The club accomplished a framework that provides guidance for moving into the future. Now it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. In the next Rotary year, committees will meet within each goal area. Each will de- velop SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) goals. Action plans for each goal will identify timelines and responsible people so club members are kept accountable and goals are met.

And Finally…
“Fun was emphasized by club members,” said Dehler. “We cannot lose sight of one of the great attractions of Rotary, which is that we get to ‘do good stuff’ and make a difference in our world, but we can and should have a really good time while serving.”

Learn more about Indianapolis Northeast at www.rotaryclubofindianapolisnortheast.org.