In reality, the only true measure of a successful Rotary club is whether or not it attracts and retains members i.e. creates Rotarians.
Rotary International's Club President's Manual (222-EN (312)) defines an effective club as one that is able to:
- Sustain or increase its membership base
- Implement successful projects that address the needs of its community and communities in other countries
- Support the Rotary Foundation through both program participation and financial contributions,
- Develop leaders capable of serving in Rotary beyond the club level
These elements of an effective club can increase clubs' ability to meet their goals in each Avenue of Service and achieve the Object of Rotary (see appendix 1).
The only purpose of Rotary International (R.I.) and its member clubs is to create Rotarians. The objective of both is to advance the Object of Rotary locally and internationally. That objective doesn't have a chance of being achieved without first creating Rotarians just like competitions cannot be won without first creating teams with athletes and businesses cannot turn a profit without first creating customers who purchase products and/or services.
Items 2, 3, and 4 are attributes. Listing any attribute as being equally important to sustaining or increasing membership diminishes the fundamental principle that attributes are only as good as the number of Rotarians they help retain and attract i.e. deliver something present and potential Rotarians consider relevant and of value. Any organization that allows attributes to become equal to or greater than creating supporters in importance is an organization in trouble.
It matters not how many service projects a club implements, how much it participates in or supports The Rotary Foundation, how many leaders it develops to serve beyond the club, or if its members are female, male, young, old, white, black, red, yellow, brown, middle-aged, blind, deaf, or purple with green polka dots as long as clubs attract and retain people qualified to be Rotarians from within their local social fabrics. Then, and only then, can clubs utilize some of the many attributes Rotary has to advance the Object of Rotary.