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Retention Central is monitored occasionally by its creator, Jim Henry, who may be contacted by email at

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rotary - What Value North America's 2014 New Members? Try $24,542,750.

Short or long range planning is not about the future.  It is about the future impact of today's actions and decisions.  Every connection any person has with anything Rotary will influence their perception of Rotary, which will influence future interconnections.  How will today's interconnections affect Rotary's future? What are today's interconnections cumulative worth five years from now?  Ten years?
   Next year, in North America alone, well over 10,000,000 people, including over 300,000 potential Rotarians, will interconnect with something or someone Rotary.  Approximately 35,000 will join local clubs.  The potential cumulative five-year value to Rotary International (R.I.) of these 35,000 new members, using existing estimated retention rates, is $24,542,750!  Ten years - $64,793,750!  In marketing and organization language this is called Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) which successful businesses use in short and long range planning.  (For Rotary, the term would be Rotarian Lifetime Value (RLV).)
   If the retention rates for the first three years were improved by a mere 10%, the estimated RLVs would be $26,009,375 and $66,259,375 respectively and membership would be increasing.  Why?  Retained Rotarians are potential Rotary advocates.  Advocates attract new members, many of whom will also become advocates.  All will pay dues.  Most will contribute to The Rotary Foundation (TRF).  And these numbers represent only the monetary and business related potential.  They do not address the intrinsic value each Rotarian contributes to their local social fabric while influencing future interconnections advancing the Object of Rotary.
   The Angry Rotarian used his business and Rotary experiences to arrive at these RLV estimates because accurate data was not readily available.  (To examine his methodology, click here.)  R.I. should have accurate data scattered in its cyberspace and could use common marketing algorithms to more closely estimate RLVs.
   So how much can R.I. justify influencing future interconnections? To Market Membership Internally and Externally?  To help its member clubs improve retention rates and create advocates?  Successful businesses use CLVs.  Shouldn't Rotary, a $350,000,000 multi-national, be using RLVs?  The Angry Rotarian thinks so.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Rotary Membership will Multiply if District Membership Chair Ideas are Stimulated to have Sex!

 Rotarians from Florida, Minnesota, and Massachusetts, and from the Caribbean, Australia and India have recently communicated ideas to the Angry Rotarian.  Not all supported his opinions, but all did center on the importance of retaining members. As Matt Ridley states in his book, The Rational Optimist, and in his TED TALK, ideas getting together, having sex, and giving birth to other ideas have substantially improved our world.   Perhaps similar orgies would improve membership.

A few typical comments: 
  • "To me the most bothering issue that Rotary is facing today is membership and its retention."
  • "Rotary International has many tools, but they seem to be at such a high level that they just are not all that useful on the ground." 
  • "One hat does not fit all clubs."
  • "Service projects can destroy clubs."
  • ". .members left because of too much fundraising."
     District 7910 Membership Chair, Tom Sturiale, created his own Membership Minutes, his means of addressing membership. It can be viewed or downloaded from this link.
     So why not get district membership chairs together in two-day Zone Membership Seminars and stimulate them so their ideas can have sex and give birth to applicable ideas? Seminar expenses, including travel and lodging for qualified attendees, could come from the Zone Director's Membership Development budget.  
Typical Day One
Plenary Session            7:30 - 8:30   Keynote Speaker
Breakout Sessions        9:00 - 11:45 Min - 10 Max -15 Attendees
Lunch                            12:00 - 12:45 (no speaker)
Breakout Sessions        1:00 - 3:30
Break to edit/revise/prepare individual responses to the question:  What is Rotary?
Breakout Sessions        4:00 - 5:30 Each attendee present and defend response.
Social                            6:00 - 6:45
Dinner                           7:00 - 9:00 (Director or Coordinator comments optional)
Typical Day Two
Breakouts center on ways and means to communicate fundamentals to clubs, how the district could analyze potential locations for new clubs, AND what support is needed from Rotary International and why.
Plenary Session          7:30 - 8:30   Keynote Speaker
Breakout Sessions      9:00 - 11:45
Lunch                          12:00 - 2:00 Director or Coordinator comments and Panel with Q/A.  Main topic to be on quality R.I. support.

Keynote speakers are required to present one or more ideas that stimulate critical thinking such as "Service above Self is a motto for Rotarians.  If clubs or R.I. use it as their motto, it will destroy them." 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Rotary International: Business or Cause?

In this Rotatorial a cause is defined as a social principle, aim, or movement that, because of a deep commitment, the organization is prepared to advocate.

Is it possible that R.I. has recognized that it is not a cause; that it is, in fact, a business?  These graphics seem to indicate a change in that direction.  If so, a vitally important, perhaps organization saving, regeneration may be taking place.

      Causes, over the last several centuries, have helped, and continue to help, the world to become a better, safer place. Polio Eradication, Rotary's worldwide service project, could be considered a cause.  Businesses support causes in many ways, but successful ones recognize the importance of keeping their business healthy.  Otherwise, neither the business nor its associates will be able to indefinitely support desired causes.
    Successful businesses know their customers' value; the direct value that each brings to the business and the indirect value that retained customers whose staying power authenticates the value delivered and attracts new customers. If R.I. has recognized that it is a business, it must understand the business it is in, who its customers are and what they value so it can prioritize and deliver value through everything it does.
     The Angry Rotarian is trying to smile because it does seem that R.I. is trying to acknowledge that its customers are present and future Rotarians.  But then up pops this statement on R.I.'s About Rotary web page: "We are 1.2 million neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world."  Well meaning definition but does it differentiate Rotarians from millions of other people who are striving to do the same thing? Does it encourage Rotary's constitutionally identified potential customers, most of whom who are active or retired leaders that are already making lasting changes in their communities, to consider investigating membership in a local Rotary club?

 And some Rotary leaders still wonder why Marketing, particularly Internal, should be an urgent membership priority with a commensurate budget?  Successful businesses Market and deliver the value their customers' seek.

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