by: Adam Weiss
Our new All Inclusive dues plan has been in the works for years, and now that it's part of our Club, I'd like to tell the story of its inception.
Three years ago (fifty years ago in COVID time), I woke up with flu. Miserable and suffering, I received the ClubRunner email reminding me to pay online for my LA5 lunch that Friday. Immediately, a new wave of irritation swept over me. Tired of punching in my credit card info EVERY SINGLE TIME, I wondered, what would it take for us to make a system that made paying for our lunches easier?
The Bot was thus born, and if you remember it, just telling it "LPD" would get you lunch, parking, and that Vesper Martini. Well, mine, at least!
As our Club changed, the Bot evolved with it (as I'm told bots are prone to doing). Poor attendance, coupled with missing our food minimums, meant we were in the red: The Club needed more financial support; LA5 was losing money on every meeting. Instead of passively taking payments, the bot made lunch payments completely automatic. Rotarians who opted in allowed the bot to charge our credit cards for lunch every week, whether or not we were coming to the meeting.
The effect was immediate: within weeks, our lunches no longer hemorrhaged our precious budget. Attendance was up, and autopayers who didn't make the meetings still helped with making sure we had funds for making the minimum.
Prior to the pandemic, we had about 30 people signed up.
Now on the precipice of reopening, and hopefully returning to "normal"; following the lead of many other Rotary Clubs, LA5 officially introduced All Inclusive Dues, a single price that covers our membership AND our weekly lunch and parking. Our goals? Improving attendance to our weekly lunch meetings, and ensuring our Club stays financially stable, all while making a lot easier to become a member.
We hope all our members opt-in to All-Inclusive membership, and are excited for our Club’s future.
Oh! But what about the poor Bot? Now that lunch payments are a thing of the past, what will it do? Worry not! We'll re-purpose it to take RSVPs for our weekly lunch, and continue to send weekly reminders. So please let the Bot know if you will be attending the meeting or not so we will have an accurate count. Bots account for people, too.