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

Saturday, December 20, 2014

102A - Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals - 'THEM' - The Supporters

In this series, Rotary refers to the enterprise of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.

Rotary must have 'THEM'.  Call 'THEM' members, customers, patrons, Rotarians, supporters, stakeholders, donors, clients, or whatever is acceptable within your mindset and social fabric, but without 'THEM' Rotary's gear stops turning.    'THEM' pay the salaries and benefits Rotary employees enjoy.  'THEM' pay the expenses of Rotary's officers, directors, trustees, coordinators, district governors, district committees, etc.  'THEM' are the people who populate almost 35,000 Rotary clubs scattered over the world striving to advance the Object of Rotary.

Marketing Rotary must begin by addressing this question:

Why would a group of 'THEM', all with enterprising minds, want to be called a Rotary club?

    Many local groups are identified by some unique descriptive noun or nouns i.e. Women's, Men's, Zonta, Toastmasters, Kiwanis, Junior League, Lions, Sertoma, Garden, Shriners, Entrepreneurs, Greenpeace, Impact 100, Football, Night, Comedy, Liars, Friars, Beantown, Dulcimer, Alumni or hundreds more.  What is so unique or descriptive about the word rotary?  Google rotary and up pops  Its opening page says, "We are neighbors, community leaders, and world citizens uniting for the common good."  Unique?  Every human is a world citizen.  Almost every human is some human's neighbor.  Most humans are united in some group for their common good - survival.  What is unique about being in a group that uses Rotary as its descriptive noun?  Why should groups of 'THEM' pay homage to use the word Rotary?  Groups now have unlimited access to information and knowledge. Of the estimated 7.2 billion world citizens, industry estimates that almost 6.1 billion have cell phones, tablets, or computers and can connect to the Internet.  This means that groups, especially those with enterprising minds, that want to make impacts in their spheres of influence can find many ways to do so without following hierarchical, top-down, self-sustaining rules.
     Marketing Rotary is a challenge, and it must begin internally.  Embedded bureaucracies with established departmental silos have extreme difficulty recognizing and/or accepting the concept that organizations are 'THEM' driven; that products and services are attributes that help retain and attract 'THEM'.  In the Rotary world, 'THEM' have psychographic and behavioral characteristics all humans do not have.  Rotary already has a wonderful, worldwide horizontal delivery organization capable of growing Rotary by building stronger relationships.  Internal Marketing must center on helping all Rotary associates understand what is unique about Rotary, who 'THEM' are, and creating and delivering attributes that help 'THEM' become more influential in their local social fabrics.  They also must understand that 'THEM', not Rotary, determines whether or not the attribute is beneficial.  If being called a Rotary club does not deliver attributes 'THEM' consider beneficial, then Marketing Rotary externally is wasted effort.

Building relationships advancing the Object of Rotary catapulted Rotary into the respected worldwide organization it is.  To have any hope of returning to a steady 'THEM' growth rate, Rotary must accept that "The development and continuation of activities and programs addressing 'Them' must remain the association's highest priority", and Market Rotary with that priority and intensity.

Next is Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals 102B 'Them' - Present and Future

Friday, December 5, 2014

101 - Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals - Series Introduction

If Rotary wishes to establish and maintain a steady membership growth rate, Rotary Leaders, which change frequently, should continually review business fundamentals, of which one is Marketing.

Please download and read Rotary's Messaging Guidelines, available by clicking on this link.
  On page 9 the Guidelines suggest for simplification that public information refer to the enterprise of Rotary International (RI) and The Rotary Foundation (TRF) as Rotary.  This series will follow this convention.  
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Successful organizations continually 'go to market' by producing and making available attributes that those who furnish their financial support value.  Organizations must define themselves, not by the attributes they create, but by the benefits the attributes provide to those who support the organizations.  Supporters, not organizations, determine the value of the benefits.  In return for creating and delivering benefits supporters value, the organizations capture value, which allows the organizations to continue pursuing their objectives.
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Rotary is a respected, worldwide network.  Its effort to sustain membership must always begin with Rotarians, their demographic,  psychographic, and behavioral realities, their needs, their values.  Rotary must continually ask itself why would any group of people with enterprising minds want to become a Rotary club? Why would anyone want to become a Rotarian? Why would anyone want to support The Rotary Foundation?  Rotary's objective has been and still is to advance the Object of Rotary locally but scaled globally.  It cannot do that without clubs and Rotarians, so the central role of Marketing Rotary is to produce and make available attributes that clubs and Rotarians consider beneficial.
Recommended References:

     RI, an association of Rotary clubs, has a worldwide reputation that many have come to respect.  Local groups of responsible leaders with enterprising minds sometimes choose to apply to RI for membership because they perceive that the name Rotary carries with it benefits the groups cannot get elsewhere.  RI, in return, is entitled to capture value for the benefit the name Rotary delivers, which happens when groups apply for membership.  The exchanges are culminated when RI approves the applications and clubs receive their charters.  The clubs, to retain their charter, are obligated to continually advance the Object of Rotary and pay RI dues based on the number of members they have.  RI, in return, is obligated to sustain over time producing and making available attributes that clubs perceive to be beneficial.
     Rotary clubs, to attract people with enterprising minds from within their local social fabrics, should produce benefits members cannot get elsewhere.  Clubs that do so are entitled to capture something of value in return, which happens when people agree to become members.  When the exchanges are culminated, the clubs must over time sustain the process of producing and making available attributes members perceive to be beneficial.
       Rotary must continually produce and make available benefits clubs and Rotarians value.  To do so, Rotary must understand the competitive forces clubs and Rotarians face, and how demographics, needs, realities, and values change over time and in different locations.  Meaningful statistics can help determine whether or not all parties are satisfied and can help determine the expense Rotary should invest in producing and delivering attributes that clubs, Rotarians, and donors consider useful.
   On December 20 Retention Central will continue the series by discussing each element mentioned in more detail, beginning with Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals 102A - 'THEM' - The Supporters.