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

Friday, February 20, 2015

107 - Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals - Rotary's Prime Target Audience.

In this series, Rotary refers to the enterprise of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.
Please review Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals 101, 102A, 102B, 103, 104, 105, & 106


    Meaningful data pointed Rotary's leaders to why membership had stagnated - declining retention rates throughout the world.  Data cannot determine solutions - only people can.  And that requires critical, objective inward examination because Rotary's greatest challenge is internal.  Rotary has encouraged its customers - member clubs - to look internally, but it must also; it must be proactive at finding solutions or membership will continue its present trend.  The Siegel+Gale Research Report was a step up the ladder to solving membership issues, but Rotary must continue climbing.  The next logical step would be for Rotary to acknowledge that its prime target market is existing Rotarians and prioritize helping clubs improve retention rates.
    Rotary must understand that Rotarians' needs haven't changed since 1905, but Rotary and the world have. Please refer to Maslow's Hierarchy of Human Needs.  Rotarians' needs reside primarily in the lightly shaded area.  All Rotarians want better qualities of life for themselves, their families, and everyone else.  They aspire to live to their full potential, to make themselves better: better persons, better members of their social fabrics, better at helping others climb Maslow's hierarchy.  The Rotarians who founded Rotary International; who were involved in starting the United Nations and UNICEF; who originated Easter Seals; and who led the initiative to eliminate polio were all motivated by the desire to satisfy these personal needs.
   Few Rotarians are inspired or motivated to do things almost all of the world's 7.6 billion people can do, like picking up trash, but all aspire to live in cleaner, healthier, and safer communities and to help others do the same.  Most Rotary clubs are small.  Very few have the desire or resources to maintain routine data and/or pioneer solutions.  Rotary could and should be proactive in producing and delivering services its customers - clubs -  need.  To do so, it has to ask introspective questions, critically examine its hierarchy, and improve the support to and education of all associates - staff, directors, coordinators, governors, etc.  Creating Rotarians should be EVERYBODY'S top priority!


In 2009, the Membership Coordinators of Zones 33 and 34, using data furnished by Rotary International, calculated that if annual retention rates improved by less than two percentage points, the Zones would return to the growth state.  I challenge Rotary to calculate realistic annual retention rate increases that each District, Zone, and Region should have to sustain a steady growth state.  After doing so, Rotary should publish, promote, and pioneer ways and means to help each reach these targeted retention rates. 

Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals 108 - Market Segmentation

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

106 - Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals - Producing and Capturing Value.

In this series, Rotary refers to the enterprise of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.
Please review Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals 101, 102A, 102B, 103, 104, & 105.

Rotary captures value in the form of dues from Rotary clubs, therefore Rotary clubs must produce something of value for which a few community citizens are willing to exchange value by paying dues and committing time and talent.  To do so, any Marketing Rotary initiative should be designed to assist clubs in determining answers to this question:  Why would a person in any community be interested in joining and paying dues to any Rotary club?

In order to respond appropriately, Rotary and its member clubs must be conscious of basic organization and market fundamentals, some of which are:

·   Rotary clubs are social welfare (civic) organizations, not charitable service organizations.
·   Less than one percent of the people in the world, or any community, is interested in joining a Rotary club, which, by personal selection, makes them an exclusive group.
·  Those who are interested in joining a local club make a commitment involving time, treasure, and/or talent.
·    They, and only they, judge whether or not they are receiving sufficient value in exchange for the commitment they have made.
·   Rotary clubs (and all member-supported organizations) are exclusive; i.e. they exclude everyone that, for whatever reason, is not interested in becoming a member.

In marketing terms, segmenting and recognizing those who may be interested in joining a Rotary club is referred to as identifying target audiences.  The challenge Rotary and its member clubs face is identifying those that may be interested, determining what values they seek, and producing those values.  When identifying and communicating with target audiences, consider that, in North America, most people volunteer to do some type of community service activity.  Even most of the 85% that live above the poverty line contribute something to charitable service organizations.  Confusing exclusivity with elitism and referring to Rotary clubs as 'service' clubs hinders public image initiatives and reinforces the need to re-establish a universally acceptable brand statement and marketing philosophy.

Rotary's strength lies in how much value clubs deliver to the few who choose to join clubs. To meet this challenge, Rotary needs to center on serving its clubs. This requires an extensive internal marketing initiative, consistency in messaging, critical examination of how messaging is delivered, and centering on target audiences - particularly its prime target audience.

Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals 107 - Rotary's Prime Target Audience