Change before it's broken

January 12, 2013

The dying service clubs mentioned in John Guy’s [Dec. 31 column] “How to revive dying service clubs” could benefit from following the lead of Toastmasters International which, even though it was growing, evaluated where it was and how it could best serve its membership.

Toastmasters showed impressive growth in membership from 226,033 in 2007 to 273,895 in 2011.

Despite this growth, in 2010 the board of directors approved new branding that would give Toastmasters a fresh, modern image. Clubs began by updating their meeting materials and websites. This transition continued throughout 2011 with near-complete adoption anticipated as of late 2012.

Toastmasters also changed the composition of its board, focused its public relations efforts, increased its focus on social media, and introduced a new global accounting system for its districts. It enhanced training for district leadership and created a region advisor position in 2010 to assist the districts.

Many Toastmasters materials are now available on its website. This will enable members to get materials while minimizing expense and enhancing supply-chain efficiency.

Membership fees went from $54 per year to $72 per year and membership grew to over 290,000 members in 2012 due to the efforts of thousands of Toastmasters leaders and hundreds of thousands of Toastmasters members.

The organization is preparing for a strong, impactful future in which it stands prominently as a globally recognized and respected provider of communication and leadership skills development.

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Robert T. McIntyre
District 11, Area 32 governor, Toastmasters International

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