OPEN Rotary International President Ron Burton should be congratulated for taking the initiative and utilizing the electronic media to encourage Rotarians to take an interest in membership. In his opening, he refreshingly discussed the fact that since 1997 the Rotary world's membership has been stable; that some regions are growing while others are declining; and that while the number of clubs has grown, the average size has decreased. This is an important beginning of Open Leadership - a necessity if R.I. is sincerely intent on increasing membership. Thank you, President Ron.
BORING--The middle section of the talk is the same ineffective message that has been emanating from senior Rotary leaders since membership began leveling off years ago. Data proves that many Rotarians are already asking. Most Rotary clubs, data shows, do not have problems attracting members. Their problem is keeping them because they are not delivering value; engaging them. Repeating a useless all-you-Rotarians-out-there-need-to-do-is ask dissertation diverted listeners valuable attention and time from critical issues and was a major missed opportunity to exhibit transformational leadership.
COMPELLING--President Ron's personal experiences vividly demonstrate that clubs and R.I. are not in the community service business; their business is changing Rotarians' lives. That unknown president-elect of the Rotary Club of Norman, Oklahoma, USA, found a way to make Rotary relevant to a member; to keep a future R.I. president from dropping out. This relevancy delivered what that young attorney valued - engagement; the opportunity to make a greater impact. Just imagine how that Rotarian utilized R.I.'s attributes to impact the lives of many others in his family, community, and the world while changing his own life in his journey to Rotary's top position. His story personifies Who Rotarians Are; the business clubs are in; and what clubs should be doing to retain and attract members. That, President Ron, is sincere, relatable, and compelling and is the prime substance of your presentation. Thank you.
LACKING--Other than talk about increasing membership, setting numerical goals, and hounding Rotarians to ask, what is our Association of Rotary Clubs actually doing to help clubs grow membership? Someone will say Rotary Club Central, but I have yet to hear anyone address and sell clubs on how it will help clubs retain and attract members. R.I.'s Strategic Planning process and twenty-two Regional plans are nice on paper, but if they do not address clubs' needs, they're useless. R.I.'s continued failure to use a member-centered approach to decision making and recommending club actions results in loss of focus. Rolling out yet another appeal for a simple act , 'the ask', is ineffective (See 2001-2002 membership spike) if the root causes of Rotary's excessive membership losses and R.I. failures in identifying and recognizing Who Rotarians Are, what they value and the relationships and experiences Rotarian's seek are not systemically and consistently addressed.