In this series, Rotary refers to the enterprise of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.
ROTARY'S PRIME TARGET AUDIENCE - EXISTING MEMBERS!
RAVI'S PRESIDENTIAL CITATION GOAL
TO INCREASE THE ANNUAL RETENTION RATE BY ONE PERCENTAGE POINT IS A VISIONARY STEP IN IMPROVING MEMBERSHIP.
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