Most organizations falter because of management errors. Rotary's most critical error was, and somewhat still is, expecting loyalty from supporters (those who finance operations) instead of recognizing that, to advance the Object of Rotary, Rotary needs supporters more than its supporters need Rotary. So let's make it very clear that, for Rotary to survive the 21st Century:
- A Rotary club's supporters are present and future members!
- Rotary International (R.I.) supporters are present and future clubs and their members!
- The Rotary Foundation (TRF) supporters are present and future donors!
Past Director John Smarge's 2011 International Assembly presentation clearly pointed out that the problem was not attracting supporters, it was retaining them. R.I. now calculates and reports Retention Rates, which is very important. But R.I. still does not calculate, report, or recognize the importance of Growth Rates or RG (Retention+Growth) Indexes, Rotary's most important membership-related metrics. Supporters constantly feed all necessary information into R.I.'s cyber space but, because of excuses, compiling and reporting it back to leaders does not have the appropriate priority. Leaders probably have not demanded this data, again because of lack of appropriate information: they have not been made aware of the estimated present and future value of each and every Rotarian, the variables of which are also available somewhere in the Rotary's cyber space.
Only when leaders at all levels start receiving the information and training needed to minimize management errors will they begin to discover innovative ways to create a steady flow of loyal supporters or, in plain words, grow Rotary.