TIME TO EVOLVEScientists are still unsure when, or how exactly, animals took flight. They do know it happened four separate times: in insects, bats, birds, and pterosaurs. Whether gliding from treetops or jumping from the ground, at some point in history animals began flapping their arms. And eventually, they flew.Whether it was to help them catch prey or escape being a meal, evolving the ability to fly enabled animals to navigate their space in a way new way – one that made them more successful, which ensured their survival.Our own landscape has been changing rapidly over the past two decades. What used to take place face-to-face now largely happens online. Whereas Lions used to thrive in the face-to-face intimacy of dinner meetings in small town VFWs and shoe-leather recruiting in their local neighborhoods, the terrain has changed.The question is not whether we should evolve. Unequivocally, we must. Facebook has 2.45 billion monthly users. Instagram has 1 billion active users, more than half of which are under the age of 34. Potential members are online. Community members who need help are online. Lions, too, must be online.Here are some ways you can help your club adapt and thrive in the new digital ecosystem.GET ON SOCIAL MEDIA“What if you could knock on every mobile phone within 30 miles of your club,” asks Juan Nuevo Alemany of the Chipping Sodbury Lions and International Relations Director for Lions Clubs in the British Isles. Alemany wishes more clubs would understand the importance of being online.Social media is a good place to start.Set up an account on Facebook or Instagram. Be sure to say who you are. And be specific. The Almaguin Highlands Lions Club in Ontario, Canada, includes their story in the About section of their Facebook page:We are not your grandfather’s club anymore! Who are we? We are you! We are doing things a little differently. They are new, they are fun and they are changing lives! Our members are parents and grandparents, business owners and retirees, parents and working professionals! Our schedules are just as busy as yours, but we all have one thing in common—#Kindness and a desire to do good things together.They continue to explain when and how they meet, how they fit serving into their busy lives, and how you might get involved. “I formed the Facebook page right away,” says charter president Jocelyn Modl. “I knew it was going to be an important part of our club’s success in expanding our reach.”“An active club online is like having an open front door,” says Alemany. “Many people will watch your club online for weeks to months before they will consider attending one of your actual meetings or service projects.”MAKE IT LOOK LIKE FUNRachel McCafferty is a working professional with a husband and grown son in Droitwich, England. “A coworker of mine was posting a lot about Lions on Facebook,” she says. “I’m a nosy person anyway, so I wanted to find out a little more.”She and her husband were looking to do some volunteer work and the posts from her coworker made it look like a good opportunity. They joined in February of 2019 and she is now the manager of the Droitwich Lions Facebook page, which she keeps updated frequently with posts of upcoming events and pictures from service projects.But it isn’t simply having a social media feed that’s important. How you do it is important, too.“I’m a bit of a social media freak,” she says, “So I have an awareness of what’s attractive and engaging.” says Modl. “They grab my attention, so I only use high quality photos on our Lions Facebook page.” Smiling kids and busy-looking events also worked on her, so she makes sure that’s what she’s posting."I’VE LEARNED THAT HIGH QUALITY PHOTOS ARE WHAT MAKES ME STOP SCROLLING."Bad lighting or blurry photos actually work against you. “A low-quality photo makes me think ‘that doesn’t really look like a fun event to attend,’” says Modl.“Digital decisions get made in seconds,” says Alemany. “In a matter of seconds, you make decisions about whether to keep watching a video or click away.”KEEP IT FRESHPost regularly so that the club feels relevant and active. “When I think about what to post on our Lions page, I just try to think, ‘what kind of Facebook posts and advertising have I engaged with? What worked on me?’” says Modl. Modl is constantly using her experience as a social media user to determine how to interact with her audience.Modl also likes RSVP’ing to events on Facebook on following the posts that lead up to the event. So she does that with the Lions events.TAKE YOUR MEETINGS ONLINEHaving a digital presence isn’t all about recruiting. It can also be an excellent way for members to have all those necessary discussions that can normally take up a lot of time.Cyber clubs have taken this to the next level and hold all their meetings online. Not only does this enable a more geographically diverse group of people to join, but it can help your club get more service done. “Using electronic communications exclusively means that we have dramatically reduced the time it takes us to do administration, as well as to more rapidly identify the needs of our clients and address them,” says Richard Stevenson, president of the South Tucson Cyber Lions Club in Arizona.The South Tucson Cyber Lions are a 31-member cyber branch of the South Tucson Lions Club that was formed specifically to serve the needs of children of Tucson’s neediest communities.“From new member applications, to paying dues, producing financial statements and project management, we have reduced the administrative work as well as shortened the time needed to make and implement decisions,” he says. Speed and efficiency are the major benefit to working online, says Stevenson. “There is no need to wait for or have meetings, we have real time communications and immediate decisions.”The latest technology makes this really easy. Zoom meetings and Google chats are good for video calls. WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger make group chats easy, and Facebook groups make online collaboration smooth.GET A WEBSITEThis can be simple. It doesn’t have to be daunting. If no one in your club knows how to make one, reach out to the young people in your community for help or take an online course. There are plenty of free templates available and they aren’t difficult to set up.The Almaguin club has a link to their website on the Facebook page. The website isn’t fancy, but it has plenty of information about upcoming events and how to get involved. They even list the new members who have joined, which makes it feel like a fresh, vibrant club; something you would want to be a part of.McCafferty knows the Droitwich club website could use some refreshing, but she’s trying to take it slow. She knows some members will need a little more time to warm up to the needed changes and doesn’t want to alienate anyone in the process. But she likes the idea of putting more information on their site about who the members are. “I want to make it more human and real,” she says.BE FEARLESSChange can be hard. But in nature, those who fail to adapt, fail to thrive. Whether you agree with the digital revolution or not, it’s here. And you can choose to stay rooted to the old ways and risk losing your chapter as members get too old to do service work, or you can use the innovation and creativity that Lions have long been known for to push yourself and your club to move outside your comfort zone.You can start flapping your digital wings, attracting more members through smart use of online resources, and increasing the work your club does for the community.Who knows, maybe you’ll learn to fly.