During the interview process Rotary International (R.I.) presidential candidates, when asked about membership, must assume they have to say that they will -1- press every Rotarian to ask a family member or anybody on the street to join a Rotary club, and -2- repeat the myth that membership problems will go away when R.I. receives the worldwide recognition it deserves for its leadership role in polio eradication.
Both conceptual phrases have been standard presidential membership fare since I first served as assistant Zone 34 membership coordinator in 2007. Surely R.I. speech writers can come up with material that tells member clubs what realistic membership result R.I. would like to achieve and what actions R.I. is taking to assist achieving the desired result.
If none exists, could not R.I. create and make public sustainable retention and growth rates the results it would like to achieve, then follow up by asking clubs what support R.I. could furnish that would help them achieve these results? If the R.I. staff and Board of Directors cannot create such results, how about using these:
But follow up and ask District officers and member clubs what assistance they need? Oh! That would be Opening Leadership to the bottom up concept, and clubs might actually respond with feedback R.I. doesn't want to hear. It might even encourage clubs to become engaged in district and regional membership plans. Bottom up instead of top down addressing membership issues! Wow! What a concept!
While contemplating and debating its membership stagnation, R.I. leaders should remember that time does not pause in regards to progress, development, or change, and it overwhelms inaction. Actions cost, but the cost is far less than the long range affects of inaction.