Districts 71 & 91 were both celebrated at the Hall of Fame at the Annual Convention in Nassau. Elizabeth Jordan and Diane Richardson each received the “District Program Quality Award” for achieving Smedley Distinguished status for numbers of distinguished clubs and Rupa Datta received the “District Club Strength Award” for strengthening average club size by 14.4%.
Last month was the Annual Toastmasters International Convention. During the convention there was the Annual Business Meeting. During this meeting various announcements were made. I think it is worth sharing a few key points with you as you may have missed them elsewhere. The news was mixed but based on the data it has, the International Board is confident that we have turned the corner and the organisation will start to grow again.
Unfortunately, the reduced costs during the pandemic were insufficient to cover the reduced income from membership, which is why the subscription increases couldn’t be postponed any longer.
In District 91 we have a higher percentage of clubs meeting in person clubs than the worldwide average. Worldwide 60% of clubs are still holding hybrid meetings, 20% in-person and 20% online.
The higher-than-average number of clubs meeting in person has helped us grow our membership in the past year as globally in-person clubs recruited an average of eight new members and online clubs five new members. The average club size grew from 17.2 members per club to 21.2 around the world last year.
The number of paid clubs world-wide fell by 3.2% last year, although there are encouraging signs of progress. This year 47 districts chartered 68 new clubs in July, compared to 28 clubs in July 2022. Whilst we didn’t charter a new club in July, we charted a new club in August. Many congratulations to the sponsors of Sustainable Speakers in Area B9.
A new customer service team has been recruited to extend the contact hours to as near 24/7 as possible and to improve service levels at TMI HQ. The location will be revealed after the team have been trained. This will help clubs receive a quicker response from Toastmasters International and the District team obtain answers on your behalf if we can’t answer them ourselves.
District 91 is part of region 10 which covers the whole of Europe and parts of North Africa. Currently there are nine regions in the North American continent and five in the rest of the world. Following the huge growth of Toastmaster clubs in India, Africa, and Asia, to ensure that each region has fewer than 15% of clubs, from 1st July 2024 the regions will be split seven in North America and seven for the rest of the world.
Reformation of District 71 and 91 Postponed
At our District Council meetings in May 2023 both Districts 71 and 91 agreed that the District Directors should write to the International Board of Directors to request that a joint reformation committee should be established to examine the possibility of establishing a third district in the UK & Ireland.
On 14th August, Distinguished Toastmaster Matt Kinsey (International President) and Dan Rex (CEO) wrote to the current and past trios of both Districts to inform us that a decision to reform both Districts had been postponed to March 2024 at the earliest as neither district had reached its expected club growth target of 200 clubs for D71 or 170 for D91.
A quick reminder that it’s renewal time during September. Despite the subscription increase, the cost of Toastmasters membership is still fantastic value for money. For $10 a month which is a lot less than many people spend on coffee each week in cafés. It is also great value for money compared to short term public speaking courses which can often cost a lot more. Toastmasters has the added advantage that continued membership offers continuous training, so you develop the equivalent of Public Speaking muscle memory, and great friendships.
District Director, 2023-2024