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

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

109 - Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals - Market Segmentation - Potential Member Segment

In this series, Rotary refers to the enterprise of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.
Please review Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals 107, 108 and this Marketing Rotary Schematic.  This Rotatorial discusses attracting members to existing clubs.
Rotary membership is a niche market; it is not for everyone.  To believe that a Rotary club can be all things to all people within their local social fabric is ludicrous.  Please examine the graphic.  Is it even realistic for Rotary to expect clubs to strive to get people with different demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics; all with different needs and wants in one local organization that meets weekly?
   It is no secret that most people join civic organizations to network i.e. to meet the type of people with whom they want to connect and associate.  It is the organization's responsibility to let potential members know its primary objective, the type people with whom they will be connecting, and what the organization expects of them prior to them filling out an application for membership.  A popular Rotary urban legend is that half of the members inducted leave in their first year.  No doubt this has happened in some clubs and/or districts because of past recruiting/recognition-at-interim-cutoff-date practices and in some start-up clubs, but I suspect accurate data would not lend this legend broad-based authenticity.
   Many clubs during the recruiting drive years eliminated Information Meetings (Fireside chats, Orientations) prior to members joining.  When asked why, one club president replied, quote, "If we told them what we expected, they might not join!" unquote.  Another club, at the last club meeting before the interim cutoff date, speedily inducted eight new members so it would qualify for the Governor's Award and Presidential Citation.  None of the eight ever attended another meeting.  It is a serious mistake for clubs not to require prospective members to attend an Information Meeting, after which they may or may not fill out a membership application.  And that's okay.  Membership in a Rotary club is not for everybody.  Some clubs are choosing to return to a more restrictive classification system.
    After examining a limited amount of data, I am of the opinion that clubs should expect to have an annual new-member retention rate of 97% or better.  Official new-member annual retention rates less than 97% indicate that new members' expectations are not being met. This rate can only be accurately measured and recognized by utilizing official semi-annual report data.  To be fair to all concerned, and to have reliable recognition information available during a given Rotary year, membership achievements should be based solely on Semi-Annual Invoices.  
110 - Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals - Market Segmentation

Creating New Clubs

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