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Retention Central is monitored occasionally by its creator, Jim Henry, who may be contacted by email at

Friday, November 30, 2012

Enlightened Self Interest Makes Rotary Go Round!

Is Rotary International getting better at what it is doing instead of concentrating on improving the value of what it is doing to its customers - Rotary clubs and the members of local Rotary clubs?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Developing & Continuing Activities and Programs addressing Membership is supposed to be Rotary International's Highest Priority. Is it?

2012 Code of Policies Section 26.120. Membership Statistics  The development and continuation of activities and programs addressing membership must remain the association’s highest priority. The association and its clubs must remain focused on all aspects of membership.  (May 2003 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 324) Source: February 2003 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 261

     Since 2003, has membership really been the association's highest priority?
    Since 2003, has the association remained focused on all aspects of membership?
    Since 2003, has anyone been assigned the responsibility to make sure this Board decision was being carried out?
    Since 2003, have district membership chairs been invited to the International Assembly to receive specialized training in all aspects of membership like district TRF chairs have been to receive specialized training in all aspects of TRF's Future Vision?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rotary and Mars Rover Curiosity - Their Commonality Could Put Rotary Membership in Growth If . .?

     A group of 21st century humans navigated Curiosity over millions of miles and placed it on Mars!  This is an astonishing feat.  Having Curiosity safely land within meters of its target is beyond the comprehension of most earthlings.  But what is even more astonishing is that the fundamental principles used to keep Curiosity on course were published in Sir Isaac Newton’s book ‘Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica’ in 1687.  Human understanding and creativity have adapted and applied Newton’s 17th century principles to achieve modern successes.
     On many occasions I have heard that the North American membership decline is because the Object of Rotary is outdated and should be relegated to the scrap heap; that it is too old fashioned and does not appeal or apply to modern society.  In sociology and human sciences, the Object of Rotary’s principles are about as outdated as those in Newton’s Philosophiae.  Humans are social beings.  Humanities desire and ability to develop acquaintances between generations and across boundaries as an opportunity for service has brought humanity from where it was eons ago to where it is today.  Rotary launched early in the twentieth century, used the Object’s fundamental principles as its guidance system, and focused on its target audience – business and professional leaders.
     In the latter part of the century, Rotary lost sight of its target audience and wandered off course.   The business and professional leaders didn’t disappear.  Rotary had programmed into its guidance system specific physical and cultural characteristics describing its target audience.  As leaders with differing characteristics emerged, the guidance system failed to identify and focus on them.  To resume course, Rotary updated the target audience’s descriptive characteristics, inadvertently overwhelming the system’s ability to focus.
     Newton’s principles in Philosophiae, using modern, rational human thought, creativity, and technology, focused and placed Curiosity on its Mars target.  The Object of Rotary, Rotary's Circle of Life, using modern, rational human thought, creativity, and technology, could put Rotary back on course – but only if  clubs and Rotary International can identify and focus on its target audience - local leaders regardless of gender, generation, or ethnicity.    

Monday, November 12, 2012

President Ray Klinginsmith was SPOT ON!

     In 2010-11, President Ray wanted Rotary clubs to implement projects and programs so they would become Bigger, Better, and Bolder!  In doing so, he may very well have, in the long run, altered the course of membership in Rotary.
    The approaches used to present the Bigger, Better, and Bolder concept would have been more effective had the metric used to measure successes been understood and practiced.  So let’s continue striving to assist clubs to become Bigger, Better, and Bolder, but use the appropriate metric, which should trigger more effective approaches and successes.
    Columnist Nicholas Kristof said, “Let’s remember that while charity has a mixed record of helping others, it has an almost perfect record of helping ourselves.  Helping others may be as primal as food or sex.”  In the past, projects and programs were implemented to serve those in need.  To Rotary clubs and Rotary International, this, in fact, is the secondary value of all projects and programs.  The primary value is to satisfy the need Rotary club members have to help others while helping themselves.  Understanding this will help R.I. and club associates deliver value to club members which will help retain and attract members!  So let's continue what President Ray started, but deliver the value to club members and use the proper metric-retention and growth indexes-to measure successes.  (To read about the 'Only True Measure of an Effective Club . . .' please look under most frequently read on the right sidebar.)
    For a club president’s take on this, please read ‘MM #5 Touch Points’ on the right sidebar.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Is Rotary International Really Serious . . .

about bridging the gap between it and those who fund its operations?  Maybe, because Rotary Coordinators’ primary responsibilities, at least for this year, are: 
  • To strengthen clubs and districts by encouraging innovative retention and new member attraction strategies to support membership growth and promote the benefits of membership;
  • And emphasize member engagement through effective volunteer activities, networking, and New Generations programs.
      This could be a sound element to use in bridging the gap between R.I. and its members clubs, but the 2007 I-35 bridge collapse in Minnesota that killed 13 and injured 145 proved that a single weak element can cause a bridge to fail.
   What about all the other elements needed to support and build a dependable bridge?  The Rotary International Directors and Staff; Rotary Foundation Coordinators; Public Image Coordinators; District Governors – are these elements also going to support the bridge serving R.I.’s member clubs or will each element be used to support different institutional bridges?  Should not all elements primary purpose be to support and strengthen local clubs? Of course!  Because anywhere in the world the first line of advancing the Object of Rotary is local.  Strong local clubs make for strong districts, a strong Rotary International and a strong Rotary Foundation!
     If Rotary International's history prevails, this new attempt to bridge the gap will collapse just as previous bridges have because it most likely does not have sound structural support and will not be completed before the whimsical winds of future leaders weaken all elements.  All bridge elements should be selected, assembled, and strengthened using sound data, foundations, plans, and principles.  Only after the bridge is proven dependable will it become useful in strengthening clubs.  To construct this bridge using a sound plan and strong components will take more than one year.  Proving the bridge over the gap is strong enough to survive ever-changing wind pressures will take even longer!

Friday, November 2, 2012

One way to prevent Rotary Leaders from hesitating or blah-blahing when asked "What is Rotary?"

Should an R.I. President or Director, T.R.F. Trustee, District Governor, Zone Coordinator, or any other Rotary leader Blah-Blah-Blah when asked "What is Rotary?"

Why not have every North American District Governor-Elect and Zone Coordinator (Rotary, Public Image, and TRF) come to the International Assembly and Coordinator Seminar prepared to present a fifteen to thirty second response to, "What is Rotary?"  Every trainee should deliver their response to breakout session attendees.  Attendees should question and discuss each response, and the trainee should be able to defend it, keeping these fundamentals in mind:

1.  Does the response appeal to one or more common characteristics or emotions a local Rotary club's target audiences might have?
2.  Does the response trigger one or more desires the target audiences may have that membership in a local Rotary club could and should satisfy?
3.  Does the response differentiate membership in a local Rotary club from other local and/or international organizations in ways that a local club's target audiences would find beneficial?   
The most important factors in this exercise will most likely center on identifying local clubs' target audiences and discussing how membership is, or would be, worth the audiences' time, talent, and treasure.

Beware!  It will take an average of five minutes for each trainee to deliver and defend their response.  The major job of the session's facilitator will be to make sure that the presenter does not get a whitewash from compassionate attendees.