Successful organizations are founded on customer-centric goals and strategies. Everything is tailored to what customers actually want, not what the organizations want or what the organizations think its customers want. Rotary International’s (R.I.) customers are present and future association member clubs; Clubs’ customers are present and future leaders drawn from each clubs’ locale. To reverse present membership trends and restore loyalty to the Rotary name, R.I. must adopt member-centric attitudes and philosophies absent in recent decades.
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For most of the twentieth century, R.I. was recognized as an organization whose member clubs were populated by local business and professional leaders. Today, particularly in North America, many local clubs have, at R.I. associate’s encouragement, changed into being local service organizations doing good things and striving to become, as one R.I. sponsored study stated, local service organizations of choice. On a strategic base, this changed operational philosophies and activities from being member-centric to being beneficiary-centric. In order to launch a sustainable plan to improve membership retention and attraction, it is vital that R.I. and all member clubs adopt member-centric philosophies and match them to local social fabrics.
All levels of Rotary must recognize who Rotarians are, not by their physical attributes but by their physchographic characteristics. Only by knowing these characteristics will R.I. associates be able to develop and operate on member-centric strategies that encourage, inspire, and assist local clubs to become, as past R.I. president Ray Klinginsmith coined, Bigger, Better, and Bolder. When developing such strategies, Rotary at all levels must understand the competitive forces local Rotary clubs encounter and how R.I. and its member clubs should differentiate. Working within Rotary’s tradition of changing leaders every year, sustaining member-centric strategies rests heavily on R.I. and club associates.
The only path to regain membership momentum is for the entire Rotary network to become member-centric. Are Rotary leaders at all levels strong enough to adopt and sustain member-centric values, philosophies, attitudes, and activities?
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