Successful organizations today are not defined by past activities. They are defined by how they connect and engage with their target audiences day in and day out. This is why properly deserved recognition of Rotary International's (R.I.) role in provoking worldwide engagement to eliminate polio twenty-five years ago will do little to attract or retain members today. It is history, particularly in countries where polio has, for all practical purposes, been eliminated for over fifty years.
R.I.'s core objective is to advance the Object of Rotary. If one critically examines the Object, they will find that it is member-centered and provokes Rotarians into:
· adopting high ethical standards in their businesses and professions and
· applying service in their personal, business, and community life.
This historical differentiation helped define and identify who Rotarians are which created the Respect and Knowledge the name Rotary still stimulates in some local business, professional, and community leaders and continues to attract some people to Rotary.
America, this differentiation is rapidly disappearing because R.I.
and many of its clubs no longer provoke community or international service, they promote it. In North America,
this change eliminated the differentiation R.I. and its member clubs enjoyed
for almost a century. To put it in very simple terms; to promote or perform community or international service, people do not have to volunteer their time, treasure, or talent in service-centered Rotary clubs.
America still has a chance to reverse its membership fortunes. To
do so, R.I. and its member clubs must:
- recognize that they are in the member business,
- acknowledge who the members are,
- understand what the members value,
- define what results R.I. and its member clubs want, and
- dedicate resources and leadership accordingly.
If R.I. and its member clubs do not take this or similar approaches, North American membership will continue to decline.
References: Zone 30's M&Ms and Membership Thoughts From Around the World.
Red text has links to previous Rotatorials.