Why Organization's Fail

Rotary didn't stop developing membership because people were not interested in joining local Rotary clubs. Recent membership metrics have proven that. It stopped growing because Rotary and its member clubs became product oriented instead of member oriented. They marketed the results of the Object of Rotary instead of its value to its member clubs and Rotarians - its customers - those who fund its operations.

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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.