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.

Red Text Note

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Rotary clubs' images of Rotary International.

  Businesses yesterday, today, and tomorrow knew and know that success is all about connecting and communicating with, and serving the needs of, those who fund operations.  Rotary International (RI) operations and a high percentage of the contributions to its charitable attribute, The Rotary Foundation (TRF), are funded by dues-paying members of RI's over 34,000 affiliated Rotary clubs.  To maximize its influence on clubs, RI should understand how clubs view it, which could be totally different than how RI thinks clubs (and their members) view it, or how RI views itself.  Clubs view RI images through touchpoint telescopes, and the touchpoints (interconnections, communications, etc.) either add value (reinforces the value of affiliation) or take up space (questions the value of affiliation).
   But, you say, RI is a bottom up organization; it doesn't touch clubs very often.  Believe it or not, clubs receive images of RI rather frequently.  For example, an image of RI is created every time directors, zone coordinators, district governors, district committee chairs and/or assistant governors communicate with or visit clubs, and when club officers and/or members:

  • attend district events, such assemblies, seminars, and conferences.
  • receive reports, requests, or any form of RI, Zone, or district communication.
  • visit or communicate electronically with anything RI, Zone, or district.
  • view any RI graphic, Tweet, Facebook post, or web site.
  • read any article about or by Rotary in magazines, periodicals, and news media.
  • request assistance from districts and/or RI.
    These are all RI touchpoints and heavily influence the image clubs (and their members) have of RI. Remember districts are RI creations; clubs view district representatives as RI associates educated and trained directly or indirectly by RI to serve the clubs.  For touchpoints to add value, those reflecting RI must understand what clubs consider important - being effective in their local social fabrics.  So let's talk about just one frequent RI touchpoint - a district governor's or district committee chair's club visit.    Do these visits add value to clubs?  They could.  They should.  All too frequently, they don't.  Why?  Generally because RI associates are not schooled on what local clubs and Rotarians consider important; advancing the Object of Rotary in their local social fabrics.  Too often these visits concentrate on promoting district, RI, and TRF attributes without considering whether or not these attributes add value to the club. Frequently local club members view these touchpoints as 'sales' pitches that take time and space - contribute little or no value to local clubs.
    The touchpoint telescope magnifies RI's image to its public - its member clubs.  To reinforce the value of having local groups of people with enterprising minds associate with RI, its touchpoints - all of them - must continually reflect its desire to serve the interest of its only customer, its member clubs, and how the association adds value to each and every club. This requires effective, continuous Internal Marketing so all RI associates understand who Rotarians are and how RI and its attributes can add value to clubs; can be used to help clubs in their endeavors to advance the Object of Rotary.  That would enhance RI's image and improve its ability to influence clubs.