Required attendance disengages members over a period of time. Requiring attendance minimizes the importance of sustaining and improving an event’s value. Voluntary attendance will improve any event’s value quicker and more effectively than any form of leisurely investigation. This simple truth applies to clubs as well as events such as North American Rotary hierarchy’s favorite exhibition platform – Presidents-Elect Training Seminars (PETS), where presidents-elect are supposed to be customers; persons to be attracted and served.
Attendance requirements should be dropped at all events where members or clubs have to pay to attend. By eliminating attendance requirements, event conveners, to attract and engage attendees, would have to (1) market the event’s value and (2) assure that the event delivers its marketed value. Delivering value will engage members – attendance and membership will increase. Not delivering value will disengage members – attendance and membership will decrease. Voluntary paid attendance is the simplest, most effective measure ever devised to gauge whether or not an event is delivering value.
This post will create a flurry of objections from Rotary leaders who want to force attendance to PETS. From the clubs’ point of view, PETS contracts to deliver services that should assist presidents-elect (PEs) in guiding clubs to become more effective. Is PETS delivering this service? North America is the epicenter of multi-district PETS yet North American membership has been declining for twenty years. If PETS attendance had been voluntary, would Rotary leaders have learned years ago that a president-elect's major concern is membership development and running their club; that attracting and retaining (engaging) members is the only true measure of an effective Rotary club?