A blog just about Kiwanis by Alan Arbuckle. The views in this blog are mine, alone, and do not represent the views of any other entity. blah. blah. blah.
What KIWANIS is NOT
Kiwanis is not a business.
The New “Kiwanis App” is Much Improved
Kiwanis announced their new Smartphone Apps this morning on their Facebook Page and the iPhone version (2.1) has been available on the Apple App Store since Nov. 27. And I admit I was not a fan of the original version. I am happy to report the updated version is much improved.
The news app now links to mobile optimized webpages instead of the desktop webpages in the original version.
The new list function incorporated under the map function is a welcome addition. The database updates daily to the database that club secretaries can maintain within the new club portals. So realtime updates to club meeting places are here. Many of the glitches of the map function have been fixed also.
Members can easily invite friends with a message/email as long as the club info is updated and correct. The messages are editable so the message can be corrected and personalized. I hope Kiwanians make a habit of inviting friends to lunch (breakfast/dinner) or projects through the app.
Alas, the map is still the weakest function. To show the worst example that I found in my district. The list correctly has the DTC Kiwanis address but the map places the restaurant some 6 miles away.
The Kiwanis App is powered by TomTom. Google Maps accurately depicts where the restaurant is as does the iPhones own Map systems, so I’m at a loss as to what’s going on.
Another oddity… when I searched for my former club in Northlake, IL, Over 60 pins across the Chicago area appeared and it was up to me to search through the pins to find the club.
If I was visiting a strange club I doubt that I would trust the map, even though it is much improved. The daily updating of the database list sounds promising. I hope that works out. But the weaknesses in the map and search still means I would NOT use the new App as my goto application.
There Are No Bosses In Kiwanis
Kiwanis should be (and is) filled with incredible servant-leaders. After all, Kiwanis teaches students how to become servant-leaders. Kiwanis is an organization of member-volunteers. It’s been shown that volunteers cooperate and work best when they know why they are doing things. Leaders explain WHY. Bosses tend to tell workers what to do without explanation. “Do it, ‘cuz I said so.” Check out the video HERE to understand the other differences between bosses and leaders.
Leadership has another problem, sometimes ego gets in the way. TED.com has a video that explains why “The Rarest Commodity Is Leadership Without Ego”.
Have you ever tried to push a chain (or a rope)? Doesn’t work too well, does it? It’s a lot better to lead a chain (of command) to get it to where you want it to be. Adding more management doesn’t make it any better. More layers of management may not agree with or understand the goal. Or the managers have ego too and may believe they have a better method to arrive at the goal.
So I find it curious when Kiwanis rolls out these grand plans without explaining to the volunteer membership the “Why” or listening to the members’ thoughts and concerns on whether the plan is feasible or desirable.
- The membership must donate/raise an average of $500 per member for a great cause that you have never heard of. There will be numerous levels of management to encourage you to meet this goal.
- Districts will increase the number of clubs within the district by the number of divisions in the district. (17 divisions = 17 new clubs) All clubs will all have net gains in members for the next 5 years. Again, we will add layers of volunteer-management to assure our goals are met.
I question whether either of these initiatives is attainable without the best efforts of almost every member. Last year, a third of the clubs didn’t agree with the first goal and are not participating. This puts a further burden on clubs who are trying to meet the goal. The second goal may be out of reach for some districts. Trying to meet an unattainable goal leads to frustration and possibly ill feelings, which could create the opposite response than the one hoped for.
The organization does not need any more bosses or management. But rather it needs more leaders who will work with the membership to make better outcomes a reality. Local leaders need to be inspired not managed. We need the facts! There needs a to be a reality check. Post the latest membership numbers, no matter how awful. There should be real discussions with members, online, about the State of the Organization. Or if we are $10+ million behind where we should be, in Eliminate pledges, how are we going to reach our goal? No great company would maintain the same goal in the same timeframe when it was slipping further away. Why would a great organization do that?
Has anyone noticed, the specifics of board meetings are no longer available for download? Perhaps because, they were being discussed online.
As a reminder, transparency is a trait of servant leaders because they trust those whom they lead. And a open discussion of ideas isn’t to be feared because it could just lead to better ideas.
Every Town- A Kiwanis Town.
I hate it when someone tells me ‘That town is a “Rotary town” we will never be able to have a Kiwanis Club, there”. Kiwanis is different from Rotary… or Lions or Elks or Masons. In the business world, Wendy’s and McDonalds have similar products but they are able to differentiate themselves in the fast-food hamburger genre. So too, Kiwanis Clubs have to brand themselves to highlight their differences in the service organization world.
Nobody else has Key Club. Key Club is the largest high school service leadership organization in North America and the world. If your club doesn’t have one, you need to start thinking about chartering one. (Or a Builders Club, CKI, or K-Kids.)
Nobody else has anything like Aktion Club, which is a service/leadership organization for adults with disabilities. Work with an agency to develop a partnership with Kiwanis.
Kiwanis is hands-on service. If your club has fallen into the habit of only writing checks to fund other organizations’ work, organize an active project that has visible impact in the community.
Kiwanis will end a dreaded disease, maternal/neonatal tetanus, from the undeveloped nations of the world. Kiwanis chooses “International projects” that have a solution and a definite timeline to completion.
Kiwanis clubs have autonomy to decide what non-branded projects they choose to work on. Distribute dictionaries, safety seat distribution, blood drives, disaster relief, or coat drives are but a few of the possibilities. Projects are based on the local communities needs.
There is most certainly a need for Kiwanis brand of service even where there is already another service club.
Anonymous asked: Why has international leaders never asked successful members that have recruited several hundred new members how they do it. They and districts appoint people to lead membership that have sponsored very few members. Also I have heard the statement “Let a sick club die”. When you and I get Ill we go to a doctor. We need Membership retention doctors..
Okay, I’ll go out on the limb, here, and attempt an answer. A good number of International Trustees, past and present, have been “Super Recruiters”. They know what worked for them in their part of the country. They have given forums and I know that they have tried to teach others their methods. But is this something that can be taught by Powerpoint? I don’t believe it is. Aren’t some people just better at recruiting than others.
Perhaps it would by better to have a mentoring system where the Super Recruiter goes out with an apprentice and teaches by example. The apprentice would gain knowledge and self-confidence in their ability to recruit. Could you imagine if the next time the Regional and District Growth Chairs meet, they hit the streets in suburban Indianapolis to build a club in 2 days?
Retention is a tougher nut to crack. There are so many reasons a club can fail. A huge reason can be the club’s culture. Some meetings are just plain painful to attend. Another reason- It’s a bad thing not to check political affiliations and commentary at the door. It irresponsible if club leaders allow it to continue. I’m not saying a member doesn’t have freedom of speech, it’s just that Kiwanis is an inappropriate venue to vent their views.
Here’s an idea, immediate past Lieutenant Governors become the division Retention Doctor. They are likely to understand what each club needs to retain more members. The question would be if the current president/board would accept the advise and act on it.
Global Campaign for Growth
There is a really important conference going on at Kiwanis International in Indianapolis this weekend. This is the first meeting of the Regional Chairs and District Chairs of the Global Campaign for Growth. These are the 5 year positions that are hoped to provide sustained momentum for club growth and new club building.
It is pretty obvious that the organization can’t continue to lose members in North America at the rate that it is. Asia and Europe are growing membership and somewhat offset the North American losses. The question is how does Kiwanis generate an excitement that motivates people to become members and to really want to build a club in their own communities.
In my own district, we haven’t built a successful club in years. A little over 3 years ago we had a successful club of 150 members move from Sertoma to become a Kiwanis Club. But that isn’t the same as starting a new club in a new place.
Right now, I could build another Key Club and a couple Builders Clubs in the Colorado Springs area but I don’t have the clubs to support them. I am sure this situation exists in other areas. The lack of growth is affecting the ability to develop new Service Leadership Program clubs.
It’s really important that this Global Campaign is successful especially in North America. I hope that the leaders in the districts don’t get bogged down in politics and resistance to change. In some cases, it might be best to build new clubs with a different (more convenient) meeting time that will attract new demographics in a service area where there already is a Kiwanis club.
I really hate it when I hear that we can’t build a new Kiwanis club there because it is a Rotary town or a Lions town. Of course, we can. Or we can’t build a club there because there was a club there before that folded. There are likely new service minded people in that town, today. But the phrase I hate the most is, ‘We are going to focus on strengthening our existing clubs and not build any new ones’. That strategy simply hasn’t worked and actually has hurt the organization.
The simple truth is that every District needs to build more than a few new clubs EVERY YEAR. I hope that this new campaign is successful and that every Kiwanian throws their support behind it.
PHOTO CREDIT- Sue Petrisin
How Is Key Club Better/Different Than Other Service Clubs? Part II
IT’S THE PROJECTS
Whether it’s building a local Habitat 4 Humanity home or building a school in Viet Nam, Key Club has done it. If it’s, Salvation Army bell-ringing or contributing to end maternal/neonatal tetanus everywhere on the planet, Key Club is ALL OVER IT. Sponsoring a High School Christmas Dance or washing cars to raise some money, Key Club is been-there, done that. Having a “Senior Prom” for the elderly or fundraising through Women’s Bean Project, Key Clubbers are “like yeah”.
My point is Key Club Thinks Globally and Serves Locally.
How empowering is it for a high school student to know that their SERVICE has made a real difference, to make the community better, to affect positive change in the WORLD?
IT’S THE LEADERSHIP
Where can a high school student become recognized as a leader in their school, their local area, their part of the county, or internationally? Yep, Key Club. If a potential leader is just not there yet, where can they get servant leadership training (in forums or a weekend retreat)? You guessed it… Key Club.
Servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
IT’S THE SERVICE
Where are tomorrow’s adults who serve coming from? People “get it” or they “don’t get it” when it comes to service. Once people serve they tend to keep serving others. Why should society wait until people are in their 40’s or 50’s before they start giving back?
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.