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 Rotary.org. 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