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

Saturday, August 23, 2014


This, or something similar, should be RI's Position Statement

"Membership Development is RI's highest priority.  Without members, neither RI nor any of its programs can exist.  Polio Eradication is a special program of RI and continues to have the highest priority over all other RI programs."

and here is why:

2012 Rotary Code of Policies Section 26.120.  Membership Statistics: The development and continuation of activities and programs addressing membership must remain the association's highest priority.  The association and its clubs must remain focused on all aspects of membership.  (May 2003 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 324)  Source: February 2003 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 261  

2012 Rotary Code of Policies Section 28.005.  A.  The Structure of Rotary International
Rotary International is a not-for-profit association of member clubs.  The association represents, protects, encompasses, and promotes the interest of its membership, and it exists to serve the membership.  The association belongs not to its leaders, but to its members, who determine through a democratic process who the leaders will be and who will represent them at the association level.
    The leaders in turn make policy and financial decisions that affect and best serve the interests of the membership. Source:  July 1999 Mtg., Bd. Dec 9; Amended by November 2004 Mtg., Bd. Dec.58; July 2011 Mtg., Bd. Dec 8

Rotary International (RI) is a not-for-profit association of member clubs and exists to serve the membership.  The affairs and operating capital of RI are under the control of the Board of Directors.  Without operating capital, RI cannot sustain itself.  RI's operating capital comes from dues-paying members.  Without members, neither RI nor its programs can exist.

2012 Rotary Code of Policies Section 40.010.  Program Terminology
The following terminology and definitions shall be used for RI Programs:
Special Program of RI - PolioPlus is a special program of Rotary International and has highest priority over all other programs until the certification of eradication is achieved.
Structured Programs organized activities recommended by the RI Board for clubs and districts that include a recommended framework and guidelines;
Global Networking Groups groups of individual Rotarians organized to focus on shared topics of interest on an international basis.
The following are recognized as Structured Programs:
Rotary Community Corps
Rotary Friendship Exchange
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
Youth Exchange (September 2011 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 34)
Source:  August 1999 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 61; May 2000 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 406; June 2005 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 302; Amended by June 2001 Mtg., Bd. Dec.  394; November 2008 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 58; September 2011 Mtg., Bd. Dec. 34

          Polio Eradication is ". . . a special program of RI and has the highest priority over all other programs."
Membership is not an RI program. 
Membership IS RI.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Last Rotary Club in North America?

     Membership data indicates that annually in North America nearly 43,000 people join Rotary clubs and around 51,000 leave.  Today, there are approximately 340,000 Rotarians in North America.  At this rate, it doesn't take a genius to estimate when the last Rotary club in North America will be left standing.  Is this what we want? 
     Supply side membership economics says that all we have to do is ask more people to join and our problem will be solved! Supply side membership economics didn't solve Rotary's membership problems twelve years ago.  Annual recruiting drives and net gain targets since haven't either.  There is no reason to expect supply side membership economics to solve Rotary's membership problem now.
     Failing businesses continually fall into the supply side economics whirlpool:  We lose a little bit on every sale so let's make it up with more sales.  Apply that philosophy to Rotary membership:  We lose more members than join, so let's ask more people to join.  This is the equivalent of the Recruiting Death Dance and simply compounds membership development problems because it puts more people into communities that did not receive expected value from their Rotary experience.
    Other than for health reasons, members leaving faster than they are being inducted simply means that their needs are not being satisfied.  Therefore attention must be on retention - delivering value to members.  In today's society, people, depending on their time in life, join and remain in organizations like local Rotary clubs to:
  • Sustain friendships.
  • Utilize their leadership skills and/or treasure to leave a legacy.
  • Further careers by connecting with leaders and honing leadership skills.
  • Connect with leaders; learn to lead. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Is Rotary following its own Guidelines?

    Rotary International has been in a serious membership situation for almost two decades.  Many long time Rotarians were, and still are, aware of the major issues.  However, aging organizations tend to create personal centers of power - silos - that follow separate agendas and perpetuate inbred practices.  The Organization Cemetery is filled with those who succumbed to this nepotistic disease.  Organizations that want to cure this affliction are usually wise enough to seek outside, objective diagnosis and advice.
    Rotary discovered it had so much inbreeding that it had forgotten who its customers were and what business it was in.  Fortunately, it sought treatment.  In 2011, Rotary began a rebranding initiative with Seigel+GaleIn January 2012, Seigel+Gale presented its research results and recommendations to Rotary's Directors and Trustees.  Unfortunately, the initiative's importance was downplayed and demoted because one or more of Rotary's centers of power were following personal agendas.  This delayed critical examination and implementation of beneficial recommendations and allowed popular opinion to believe that Rotary had paid over a million US dollars for a new logo.  This unfortunate and unwise delay changed this Rotatorialist into The Angry Rotarian.
   RIPE Ravi's recent comments helped convert The Angry Rotarian into A Hopeful Rotarian.  Rotary's Messaging Guidelines, posted on Rotary's web site in January, 2014, reinforced the conversion.  Unfortunately, examinations of the web site upon which the Guidelines are posted along with recent spoken and written comments by some senior leaders indicate that many in Rotary are not familiar with the Guidelines.  Would this be because the Guidelines haven't been internally marketed?  Are the Guidelines being ignored?  Are contradictory or conflicting training materials and public information being corrected or taken out of circulation? 

If Rotary leaders do not lead the way by following Rotary's Messaging Guidelines, why should staff or associates?  What 'message' does this send to clubs and Rotarians?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Rotary's Messaging Guidelines

Rotarians, socially and ethically, are responsible leaders; connecting has and always will be their driving force; and they make the world better - one community at the time.
Simplified summary, page 3 Rotary's Messaging Guidelines, 
a result of Siegel+Gale's Research presented to Rotary 
leaders two and a half years ago.

·       "leaders" should be defined by mindset and approaches (psychographics) instead of labels (generations, genders, ethnicities, etc) or titles,
·       Rotary's strength lies in local Rotary clubs - who the local Rotarians are, and
·       Connecting (networking) with each other, they make their communities and the world better.

The Messaging Guidelines represent a major shift in Rotary's guiding mentality.  These guidelines define the Rotary organism as 'Rotary' and can only help Rotary in its efforts to create Rotarians.  Rotary must now eliminate internal silos and concentrate on creating Rotarians.  It is they, advancing the Object of Rotary and using Rotary's attributes, that will connect with each other and make their communities and the world better. 

Rotarians make the world better, 
One community at the time.

Monday, August 4, 2014


We all think we choose what path we take in life, who we socialize and mix with, what views we hold. But those decisions are actually shaped by networks of people - David Brooks.

It does so by chartering local Rotary clubs and encouraging them to create Rotarians by advancing the Object of Rotary.  To make it easier to understand how the Object of Rotary can and does influence club members, here it is made simple.

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

FIRST: The Development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.

Rotarians have the opportunity to create relationships with many business, professional, and community leaders.

SECOND - High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society.

Being a Rotarian authenticates the person and their business or profession.

THIRD - The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life.

Rotarians nurture this personal characteristic; the cornerstone of building and sustaining relationships.

FOURTH - The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

Rotarians become better world citizens and often build lasting international relationships.

 rotarians influenced by the Object of Rotary have made their families, businesses, communities and the world better.  What they did is a by-product of who they are and the impact the Object of Rotary had on them personally.