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

Thursday, December 31, 2015


    Membership Development must be the determining value of each segment of Rotary International's (RI) strategic plan!  Every segment must be centered on helping RI achieve its sole purpose:  strengthening existing and creating new clubs.    If membership isn’t the determining value of each segment, then each segment will become a divisive, stand-alone silo that will seek to achieve its own purpose, hindering RI’s pursuit of its purpose.

     Take the oft overlooked article in RI’s Code of Policies (CoP) that encourages “. . . districts to have 75 clubs and 2,700 members.”  First and foremost, district leaders, who receive their Rotary perceptions, direction, and education from senior Rotary and staff leaders, often give the perception that clubs exist to support the district, RI, The Rotary Foundation, and their projects and programs.  They frequently appear to be unaware that RI created districts to help it strengthen existing and create new clubs.   Second, if the 75/2,700 result is not to be part of RI’s strategic plan it should be revised or dropped from the CoP.  If it is to be part of RI’s strategic plan, then every segment should revolve around assisting RI in achieving the 75/2,700 result and should justify its existence on how it will help RI achieve this result.  The Rotary Foundation, even though it is a separate charitable organization, must be a segment of RI’s strategic plan, not the stand-alone silo it has the perception of being.

     RI’s purpose is to strengthen existing and create new Rotary clubs.  Every club’s purpose is to retain existing and create new Rotarians.  The objective of the Rotary network is to advance the Object of Rotary.  Using RI attributes in pursuit of this objective 

Rotarians make the world better,
One community at the time. 

Today the Hopeful Rotarian and his wife, Jean, are celebrating 59 years of marriage.  It goes without saying that she has been very patient, tolerent, understanding, and supportive.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Five Most Important Questions Rotary International & Rotary Clubs could ask Themselves.

In 2013, Retention Central posted the Sisyphus Complex Series that discussed the five most important questions Rotary International and its member clubs could ask themselves.  The questions and essays are based on Peter Drucker's Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization.  Here are links to each of the essays in the order that they should be reviewed:
  1. What business is Rotary in?
  2. Who is Rotary's customer?
  3. What does Rotary's customer value?
  4. What results does Rotary want?
  5. How does Rotary plan to achieve these results?

Rotary International's leaders are now addressing these issues and have made significant strides.  However, anyone involved in any organization, be it a for-profit or a not-for-profit, or a charitable foundation, would do well to review these basic successful organization fundamentals.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


    The network's purpose and objective are so elementary that they are seldom discussed in seminars, assemblies, or institutes.  Before telling you what they are, let's diverge for just a moment and allow the Hopeful Rotarian to reminisce about what he considers the greatest benefit of being a Rotarian - developing friendships with other Rotarians.  Staying in touch, regardless of the means, maintains these friendships.  Every once in a while, because of who Rotarians are, someone comes up with an issue they believe should be addressed.  Through similar relationships worldwide, many other Rotarians, often working with Rotary associates and utilizing Rotary International (RI) attributes, have created parks, playgrounds, schools, school supplies, water systems, medical supplies, generators, safe stoves, wheel chairs, artificial limbs, the worldwide polio eradication initiative, and a legion of other local and international projects and programs.
    But let's get back to the Rotary network's basic purpose and objective.  RI did not intend to be instrumental or influential in producing local and/or international projects.  Rotary clubs were not organized to perform community service projects.  Yet the world is a better place because each entity, pursuing their purpose, created and sustain the Rotary network.  The network's history is saturated with examples of the world becoming a better place because Rotary clubs' members pursued its common objective.  To keep these interconnecting relationships occurring RI must prioritize and continually pursue its only purpose: Chartering New and Strengthening existing Rotary clubs.  Rotary clubs must prioritize and continually pursue their only purpose: Retaining and Attracting Members.  Of course, the common objective of both is the Object of Rotary.
   These are simple Rotary basics, yet seldom are they even mentioned, much less is their importance discussed, at institutes, seminars, or assemblies.  Rotary leaders at all levels change frequently.  Without an effective, continual Internal Marketing initiative centered on WHY these basics are important, many clubs will continue to drift like ships without rudders.  It should be considered unforgivable for Rotary leaders, at any level, not to be able to intelligently discuss the purpose and objective of each segment of the Rotary network.

On many occasions, immediately after club officers have attended seminars and assemblies, they are not able to verbalize, much less communicate, their club's purpose or objective.  To bluntly put this into perspective, as one Rotarian said, "No members, no clubs.  No clubs, no Rotary.  'Nuff said."  Using past RI President Ray Klinginsmith's Cowboy Logic, the Rotary network's only purpose is to create Rotarians; its only objective is to advance the Object of Rotary.  Practicing these basics, Rotarians make the world better. . .one community at the time.

The Hopeful Rotarian wishes all of you a Happy Holiday Season.  If all goes well, we will be in touch next year.