What really caused membership in Rotary International (RI) to stagnate? For membership to decline in major market areas? Many past Rotary leaders blamed the economy; others the 'Bowling Alone' syndrome. These were excuses. Simply put, nobody at RI was watching the store i.e. understood why those who funded RI - Rotarians - joined and stayed in local Rotary clubs. This would have been the task of a standing membership committee, but RI has never had one!
RI bylaws Article 16 states: The Board shall establish standing committees on communications, constitution and bylaws, conventions, districting, election review, finance and Rotaract and Interact. Article 16-020 calls for a membership committee, but it serves at the whim of the RI president who often, year after year, changed the committee's composition, priority and direction.
The seriousness of RI's membership condition was revealed in 2011. Since then, young lions and lionesses in senior leadership positions have recognized the importance of establishing a membership committee, a guiding coalition that could help steer RI into the future. For more discussion on this crucial issue, consider referencing Retention Central's Retain to Gain Series, particularly its first three elements.
RI Council on Legislation Proposed Enactment 16-90 Provide for a Membership Committee is a necessity. Without a standing membership committee - a membership guiding coalition - any strategic plan that RI devises will, in the long run, be wasted effort.