Combatting Reduced Club Membership: A Special Joint Meeting

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Toastmasters Clubs worldwide are experiencing a critical challenge in terms of maintaining viable club membership. This issue has been observed in other non-profit organisations such as Rotary International, Lions International. The key numbers from Toastmasters District 86 dashboard illustrate the extent of the problem. Currently, 69 Clubs representing 46% of the District 86 Clubs are eligible for a Club Coach, and of which 57 Clubs (82.6%) do not have any assigned. The figures point to an untenable situation, that will only worsen with time.

This article sheds some light on how 2 Clubs in different Divisions within District 86 (OTM Oakville Toastmasters # 5940499 & Talbot Trail Toastmasters # 1422719) are attempting to address the issue. Both Clubs combined their talents and resources, and hosted a Special Joint Meeting on February 17th. Some key considerations for a positive outcome for the 2 participating Clubs:

  • Club leadership open to think outside the box, to experiment.
  • Club organisations and membership within same development stage.
  • Clubs meeting on the same day of the week, preferable.
  • Clubs not in the same geographical location, to eliminate poaching.
  • Club VP Education collaborating closely on the agenda.
  • Clubs open to compromise and sharing, where necessary.

The positive outcomes are indeed numerous.

  • Reduce the need for club members to take multiple roles.
  • More comprehensive meeting agenda, variety of speakers, etc.
  • Introduction of novel ideas and approaches for possible adoption.
  • Both clubs can learn from each other strengths and weaknesses.
  • Enhance the members’ experience through temporary enlarged group.
  • Putting sincerity and integrity as guiding principles.
  • Possibility of co-advertising in the social media.
  • May encourage new guests to join their respective clubs.

All in all, the consensus feedback from both clubs were generally positive. We will continue with the temporary periodic arrangement, as long as they are working for both clubs. In the process, we have established new personal relationships, learned new ideas, make interclub relationship work, and enhance the members’ experience. A win for all parties.

“You Should Try Anyway Even if You Are Sure You Will Fail”.


(1) Ethel de la Penotiere, Founder and President of Talbot Trail for her Initiative and Support for the Joint Club Meeting Project.

(2) DTM Ian Horne, Area Director D83, for his endorsement and support.

(3) Club VP Education Paulette Jervis – OTM and Mark-Shane Scale – Talbot Trail for their collaboration.

Created by George How Pak Hing, PEng, DTM Own the Moment Oakville Toastmasters, Club Founder, Area Director of the Year, 2016-2017