Why Organization's Fail

Organization failure begins at the top. Rotary did not stop growing because people were not interested in joining local Rotary clubs. The number of people joining Rotary clubs proves that. It stopped growing because its leaders assumed it was in the business of supplying humanitarian services rather than in the business of creating Rotarians; they were product oriented instead of member oriented.

Red Text Note

==============Red text has a link to a previous Rotatorial or referenced document.==============

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Rotary Cannot Exist Without

Rotarians, pure and simple.  
  This is why membership committees/departments should be the most important and prestigious in Rotary clubs, Rotary districts, Rotary zones, and Rotary International (RI).  But are they? 
     Rotary's approach to membership development should come of age and set the worldwide standard for marketing membership.  Verbiage such as ". . your club's members should talk to business and community leaders, young professionals, recent retirees, and women . . . "[1] reflects a Jurassic-age membership development - public relations mentality, as does having membership and public relations in different silos.  Public relations (only one element of marketing) initiatives directly affect membership retention and attraction and should be an integral part of membership development.
     Past RI President Chris Dochterman's theme, "Real Happiness is Helping Others" is true.  Happiness benefits those who help others.  But the benefit of experiencing real happiness helping others can be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere without paying dues to any organization.  Rotary's marketing task is to help Rotarians emotionally feel the benefit of being called, and referred to, as Rotarians. Referring to Rotarians as "our members" doesn't penetrate to the personal or emotional level. Marketing must continually communicate verbally, non-verbally, and subliminally why Rotarians are Rotarians; why Rotarians are members of Rotary clubs.  This would be membership development at its finest.
     Rotary has made significant headway prioritizing membership, and will continue to do so.  It is important that Rotary continues to break down mental and organization silos, including, but not limited to, selecting leaders. Clubs, districts, and zones must select leaders who understand and are committed to retaining, attracting, and developing Rotarians and clubs.  Every Rotary leader must demonstrate in words and deeds that creating Rotarians is their highest priority; that membership is their most important committee. That will take a continuous, monumental, coordinated, and professional internal education initiative.  Is that in RI's strategic plan, or will RI continue to reflect a Jurassic-age membership development and public relations mentality?

WHY am I a Rotarian?  Because, with the ideal of service embedded in our personal, business, and community lives,  we

[1] Rotary Manual 226b, Leading Your Club Membership Committee 2016-2019 Edition, page 5, "Attracting New Members"

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Being a Rotarian Means?

A recent Facebook public announcement, referencing a potential update in an organization's web page, said "We believe these changes will more clearly show that our organization is making the world a better place — and will persuade potential members and donors to support our work by joining a club, volunteering on a project, or donating to a cause."  (The organization's name has been deliberately omitted.) If the changes in the web page follow the philosophical concept of this public announcement, the web site will fail miserably.  This philosophical approach is clearly from the organization's point of view, and readers could receive the message that the organization is desperate for members and donors.  Suppose the announcement was from readers' points of view, and went something like this: "We believe these changes will clearly show potential members and donors how they can help make the world a better place." 
     The subject organization could have been Rotary several years ago. Thankfully many Rotary leaders now realize that Rotarians, using attributes created by Rotarians, are making the world a better place.  This is because being a Rotarian is more than just joining a club; is more than volunteering on projects; is more than donating to a cause.  Almost any human can do any or all of these things.  Being a Rotarian means networking with the few who, by advancing the Object of Rotary, are applying the Ideal of Service in their personal, business and community lives and are making the world better, one community at the time.  They are not just anybody. . . they are Rotarians.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rotary's Regional Membership Plans - Fancy and Missing Something Important?

Rotary International's Regional Membership Plans (RMPs) have helped change minds and bring membership to the forefront, but they are fancy and missing something important. The Executive Summaries have Goals and Objectives with fancy Key Performance Indicators, but not one RMP has a written, defined purpose and/or desired result!!  Naturally it is assumed that the RMPs are maps to help grow membership, but each RMP should specify RI's purpose and desired result so all goals and objectives have a target for which to aim. 
     Clubs are where the rubber meets the road when it comes to creating Rotarians, but every Rotarian and employee of RI and clubs should always be practicing the Object of Rotary, especially the first. Any initiatives RI suggests that clubs should undertake should be thoroughly examined from clubs' points of view. It is understandable for RI to tell its administrative districts what it wants them to do, but RI planners and leaders should take care in suggesting initiatives for clubs to undertake.  If clubs are not convinced that pursung the initiatives will benefit them, the initiatives stand an excellent chance of being considered wasted effort. For example: 
            Goals and Objectives: Strengthen Clubs - The performance indicators are:
            1. 100% of the districts have a designated District Membership Committee chair.
            2. Ensure 30% of the clubs set and track at least 10 goals in Rotary Club Central.
           Districts should have some Rotarians that are properly educated and supported in developing membership.  But what value do clubs, club officers, or Rotarians receive by setting and tracking at least 10 goals on Rotary Club Central?  Will clubs consider this clerical action a benefit or waste of time and energy?
            Goals and Objectives:  Member Attraction - the performance indicators are:
            1.  Each district will charter at least one new Rotary club.
            2.  Improve the gender diversity rate of our members by at least two percentage points. 
           3.  Improve the age diversity rate of our members by increasing the number of Rotarians              under the age of 40 by at least two percentage points. 
             Each district should make it a goal to charter and support at least one new club a year.  This is an excellent way to diversify.  However, caution should be exercised when encouraging all clubs to meet the diversity indicators.  If the diversity concept is not marketed and perceived as advancing the first and second Objects of Rotary, these diversity indicators risk becoming another Recruiting Death Dance. 
            Goals and Objectives:  Member Engagement - the performance indicators are:
            1.  Improve the member retention rate by at least 1%.
            2.  Increase the number of members registered in My Rotary by encouraging clubs to                             have 50% of their club members registered. 
            Improving member retention is a priority.  Its importance is watered down by treating the second indicator, at least in print, as equal in priority to retaining members.  Besides, what benefit do clubs receive if 50% of their members register in My Rotary?  What benefits do Rotarians receive by registering on My Rotary?

     In the broader picture, what if zones and districts satisfied all, or most, performance indicators but continue to lose members? What have achieving the performance indicators accomplished? What if zones and districts are successful at growing membership but satisfy only one or two performance indicators? Which ones have been successful? Who should receive praise and recognition?

RI continues to make progress in Membership Development.  The performance indicators listed may help retain and attract Rotarians, but the RMPs should be simplified by clearly stating their purpose and desired result, and having one, and only one, RI, zone, district, and club Key Performance Indicator - their Retention and Attraction rate - i.e. their RG Index!

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I'd like to wish you a wonderful Holiday Season and Happy New Year.  With a bit of luck, I'll have another Rotatorial in January.  In the meantime, let's all make a New Year's Resolution that we will practice the Object of Rotary and help our clubs improve their retention and attraction rates.
                                                                                        Jim Henry

Monday, November 14, 2016

Should Rotary International have a Chief Membership Officer?

Member and donor-dependent organizations that prioritize recruiting large quantities of supporters are making a serious mistake.  Supporters are organizations' reward for delivering enhanced supporter value.  The only objective measure of whether or not organizations are delivering value and deserve this reward is the rate they retain and attract supporters.   
 For Rotary International (RI), understanding these realities could have influenced senior leaders' decisions much earlier had they valued RI's supporters and marketed the Object of Rotary's Ideal of Service.  Instead, in the 1980s RI began promoting select expressions of the Object of Rotary.  In the 1990s membership stabilized and, in some major market areas, began declining. To counter this trend, RI actively encouraged clubs to recruit, not attract, members - its infamous Recruiting Death Dance.
     This probably would not have happened had RI had a Chief Membership Officer (CMO).  Such a person, like the Chief Marketing Officer of many successful organizations, could have been an active part of marketing to and understanding RI's two-tier supporter base; clubs and Rotarians.  It is not too late for RI to consider establishing such a position, if it hasn't already done so.  The CMO (with assistants in each Secretariat office, and Zone Membership Coordinators) would be RI's connection between trends, societal changes, club and Rotarian changing needs, RI strategy and support, new club potential and how all these come together to affect membership.  Their measure of success would, of course, be RG Indexes of each administrative division and club

RI should once again become the inventive, pioneering organization it once was in the member-supported civic club industry. To do so, it must become more innovative in marketing the Object of Rotary's Ideal of Service to clubs and Rotarians because