2005 Excellence Award Winners

Excellence in Membership Retention

Quota International of Orillia Ontario, Canada


Attracting new members is a challenge, but maintaining membership is an even greater hurdle for organizations with aging, longstanding club members. The members of QI of Orillia, Ontario, Canada, learned this as they approached their 60th anniversary as a club. Rather than growing with age, membership—and attendance— were declining. Changes in meeting locations and severe Canadian winter storms that impeded travel kept numbers low.

Members dealt with the problem within the club. Rather than focus on a specific event to increase membership, the Quota club analyzed the difficulties they faced and then addressed them at meetings. The club embraced its long-term constituency and prided itself on the successes of past as well as ongoing projects. Club members considering leaving Quota were encouraged to share their reasons, which included burnout and health concerns. These concerns were met by the ears of sympathetic members, who provided support and encouragement. Through open and honest communication, the group maintained focus on its purpose and its good work—as well as its numbers.

To increase membership, the club has sought opportunities to share its accomplishments. Members have been encouraged to invite visitors to attend meetings and hear about the projects and services which they provide. Guests see first-hand why members feel proud to be Quotarians, and they realize that by becoming members, they have the opportunity to experience that pride themselves.

To read or print the club’s winning application, click here*.


Quota International of Gold Coast Queensland, Australia

Fifty seemed to be a magic number for club Gold Coast. For years, each time the group reached fifty, constituents left the club. To stem this tide of resignations, the club analyzed the problem and arrived at a surprising conclusion: to retain members, Quotarians needed to be better connected to one another—even if building these connections meant maintaining a membership of 40.

While club members resign for many legitimate reasons, such as illness, the Gold Coast club found that its members were resigning for very different, and resolvable, reasons. Having a large number of associates resulted in a less personal atmosphere at meetings and events. To address this problem, the club implemented concrete methods of connecting Quotarians to one another. Through newsletters and personal contacts, they encouraged members to get to know one another and get involved in at least one club project. They also worked to recognize group members, giving tiaras to two “Quota Queens” at each meeting and holding a “Secret Women’s Business Night,” where members could demonstrate their talents to one another and the community.

The end result? Members are more relaxed with each other, and the spirit of camaraderie has grown. There is even a noticeable change in the club’s personality. One distinct effect is the increased attendance at functions held in other members’ homes. Now the Quota Gold Coast club focuses on developing lasting friendships through service, having realized that it’s not the number of members, but the quality of their work and relationships, that is magic.

To read or print the club’s winning application, click here*.


To return to the 2005 Excellence Award Winners main page, click here.

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