I’ve had a bit of a wobble about membership lately, and have had a chat to Janice who did a great deal to put my fears to rest, but we thought perhaps it might be helpful to other people to share some of what I said to her in case others are feeling the same. My father (an ex-Rotarian) once told me when I was a schoolgirl that no matter what question you want to ask in class, someone else will always want to know the answer, so never feel silly asking. I’m hoping that applies to ‘never feel silly telling’, as well. So this was (more or less) what I emailed to Janice:

The subs coming up has given Kevin and me pause for thought. Creating the beta website has been our focus more or less since we joined Rotary and it’s given us little time to put into other eClub activities, particularly given that we already support three other voluntary groups locally. I think ‘locally’ is the key here. We do feel very out on a limb geographically as we’re such a long way from the centre of gravity. Swindon, Stroud and Gloucester represent a 3-4 hour drive for us as a round trip which more or less prevents us getting involved with projects. Meeting up clearly helps to build and maintain good working relationships but it’s just not sustainable for us at this distance. I think when the club was mooted I gained more of an impression of it being a virtual enterprise.
Before I joined, I recall I had an email conversation with you about not wanting to put myself in a situation where I felt I couldn’t contribute as I should, and this is exactly the situation I find myself in now – it was always my big concern – and both of us are left feeling we can’t provide the commitment to Rotary that any self-respecting Rotarian should be able to give. We’re quite able to attend the odd physical meeting local to us, the odd evening here and there isn’t a problem, it’s the time to put into projects and attend meet-ups that eludes us and we have the feeling that we’re not quite playing the game if we don’t turn up to anything.
As you can see, our major concern was not getting to meet-ups, as it’s easy to gain the impression from the various posts and chats that there’s a lot of that going on, so you’re bound to feel rather peripheral to events if you can’t get there. It’s lovely to meet up and A Good Thing, but the hub of a successful eclub must be virtual and a virtual contribution valued as highly as bucket shaking for charity, collecting and sorting donated items or putting in an appearance having a drink somewhere. Getting to know each other through a virtual club is a mindset we all have to get used to. Having said all that, we’e hoping to be at the City Farm next week as it fits in nicely with a trip to Devon. Hope I haven’t started a fight here btw, not my intention!

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0 thoughts on “When is an eclub not an eclub?

  1. Lynne says:


    Thank you so much for your wonderfully worded post! You very eloquently put into words what have been my on-going concerns about joining/ and continuing my membership of the eclub. I know that, like the majority of us these days, I am not able to commit much time to joining something which requires me to be involved physically in meeting up, however much I might want to. I also know that, again like most people, if I commit to something I want to feel that I am doing what is expected of me and don’t want to feel that I am letting people down by “not pulling my weight”. Like you I can make the odd physical meeting but most of my contacts and support for various projects will be virtual…..I was clear about this with Tim when he suggested I might like to join.

    There is no doubt that it feels a bit strange getting to know people via computer rather than meeting face to face. It takes a different mindset…that is for sure. But then I remember all the pen friends I had as I was growing up. All the experiences and ideas, and true friendships I made with people who I had never met. They were truly valuable experiences as I hope being a member of the eclub will bring.

    To conclude Heather, please don’t feel out on a limb. I’m very much with you on this. The eclub is, hopefully, a wonderful way for people who are limited in terms of either time or the opportunity to travel to support wonderful causes and provide assistance on a virtual basis.

  2. Rachel Davis says:

    Hi Heather – thank you for this post – I had a very similar conversation with Tim and Janice when the subs became due, as I am extremely busy trying to raise money for British Heart Foundation, and my time off is sacred to me (to maintain a bit of normality and try to retain a bit of work/life balance, I felt that I couldn’t ever attend any of the events that the eclub was invited to join/support.
    As a naturally “giving” kind of person, this particularly irked me, as I felt that I wasn’t giving anything, but often asking for support with fundraising. Tim and Janice reiterated that the eclub was exactly that – not just another Rotary club!
    So, I have rejoined, and now, as you can see, I’m using the website more than I was! and I fully intend to go to some physical Rotary clubs to gain a better understanding of Rotary itself, so that i can fully embrace my life as an eclub member.

  3. Sinead Darker says:

    I’d like to say that I agree with the comments above. Hopefully our eclub will attract people who want to help out and some or most of them are probably already involved in local charities or organisations whose purpose is to improve the quality and opportunity of those less fortunate. I would much rather be in a club where the members are so busy being involved in their local community that there is not quite so much time left, but perhaps just a little, for Rotary. Those members bring a wealth of life experience and maturity and I welcome that. I joined because I want to be able to pick and choose activities and I support the freedom of those members who want to do the same.

    • Katharine says:

      Thanks for sharing everyone. Sinead, I like your comments about rather being with busy people…..
      I joined the e.club when I was working part time and very close to home and had plenty of spare time. I cheerfully volunteered to do all sorts of things.
      At the moment I am single parenting two teenagers, communting to work in Swindon and trying to wind up my recently deceased mothers estate. I feel I do not have time to do anything for myself and precious little to give to good causes outside the family. I I certainly don’t have the hours to give to Rotary day after day !
      But Tim has been reassuring and said “Your a member, and thats what counts right now…” which was encouraging. I’ll do my bit here and there, keep spreading the word and arrange some sports and social events for us…promise !
      Now I’m off to do the ironing at 6.30 on a Sunday morning !

  4. Janice Mason says:

    I am currently reading a fantastic book called ‘Read Their Minds’ by Sandi Krakowski and I quote: “I have actually met thousands of people in the virtual and non-virtual world, and frankly, I TOTALLY love it. I love it because through the social media tools I can feel your energy, I can see your smiles, and can see when you do things.” If we can say this about the eClub it is working well, if we can’t we need to develop our posting so that our energy and enthusiasm comes bursting through regardless of the time we are able to give.

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