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Monday, March 23, 2015

110 - Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals - Starting New Clubs

In this series, Rotary refers to the enterprise of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.
Please review Marketing Rotary for Non-Professionals 101 and 109 - Critical information when starting a new club.
    Starting new clubs is like starting new small businesses. While all four market segments must be taken into account, the two most important in starting new clubs are Geographic and Demographic. For example, who would even consider starting a small business to serve the wants and needs of: 
  • the under 40 age demographic in a community populated by the over 55 age demographic?
  • a single ethnic community while depending on customers from all ethnicities?  
      Yet too often this is exactly what many in Rotary expect, especially in North America.  Rotary's Organizing New Clubs (808en) manual is an excellent guide regarding the administrative aspects of starting a new club.  What is severely lacking, in North America and I suspect other regions, is the expertise in analyzing geographical areas to determine if any demographics are under-served.  For example, for years Rotary has encouraged it member clubs to be of mixed genders.  However, has it really examined the business owner and community leader demographics of geographic locations?  If it did, I suspect it would discover that, in North America, the majority of local small businesses and professional associations are owned and/or operated by females; that a large percentage of community leaders are female.  Yet Rotary membership continues to be dominantly male.  Why?  If anyone believes there is no difference in the Demographic (family, education, income) Psychographic (personality) and Behavioral (benefits sought, attitude, occasions) gender market segments, their heads are buried in the sand.  What would be wrong with starting clubs with the intent of satisfying the wants and needs of the under-served demographics?  After all, Rotary clubs serve members, not communities.  The members, who have adopted the ideal of service in their personal, business, and community lives, serve the communities.

    The basic fundamentals missing in helping inexperienced Rotarians start new clubs are: 
  • Identifying the under-served demographics of areas presently served by Rotary clubs, and
  • The demographics of geographic areas presently under-served by and could support Rotary clubs.

     Once these studies have been undertaken, then open-minded considerations should be given when pursuing how Rotary can best serve these markets.  The Secretariat should have, particularly for major market regions, services available specifically to investigate and assist in starting new clubs. To expect this important task to be accomplished by inadequately trained, time-constrained Rotarians is not only archaic but unrealistic in today's societies.

This is the final Rotatorial in the Marketing Rotary series.  Its intent was to encourage readers to think critically and seriously about Marketing Rotary and creating Rotarians.  I appreciate those of you who have shared thoughts and opinions.   
The Hopeful Rotarian

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