General Information

Red Text bears a link to reference Rotatorials.

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

Friday, April 15, 2016

Rotary International's Updated Membership Development Report Card

In November, 2015, Retention Central published the first Membership Development Report Card.  Rotary International has achieved another major milestone - a standing membership committee.

1. ESTABLISH PRIORITIES - Grade:  100%.  See November, 2015 Rotatorial.  
2. CREATE A POWERFUL GUIDING COALITION.  Grade: 100%.  The 2016 Council on Legislation approved Enactment 16-90, creating an influential, standing membership development committee.  This committee should prevent future leaders from diverting resources from Rotary International's established priority - creating and strengthening clubs, encouraging and assisting them in creating Rotarians.
Thanks to President Ravi the importance of retaining members has been brought to the forefront; President-Elect Germ has eliminated interim cutoff dates.  Great actions, but until the standing membership committee comes up with an attainable vision that includes retention and growth elements, this grade remains the same.  
In membership-based organizations, such indexes are the only measures that accurately appraise success that are fair to all concerned
4. CREATE A SYSTEMATIC STRATEGIC PLAN WITH SHORT-TERM, ATTAINABLE MILESTONES.  Grade: 30%.  No improvement.  A workable strategic plan can only be completed when the standing membership committee establishes an attainable vision and an easily understood means of measuring the plan's success is in operation.
5.  COMMUNICATE.  Grade:  20%. Please see the November, 2015 Rotatorial for a more detailed explanation on why this grade continues to be the lowest.  It has improved from 12% to 20% because some district governors are delivering the perception that membership is Rotary's internal priority.  Unfortunately leadership and support regarding starting clubs and assisting weak clubs is still lacking. Many leaders as well as regular Rotarians have embedded mentalities that continually surface. Internal Marketing is badly needed because these outdated mentalities will not be easy to eliminate and/or overcome.  RI must not trivialize the importance of the perceptions delivered by the non-verbal, verbal, and written communications of Rotary, TRF, and all officers and staff.

Rotary future is getting brighter.  The Rotary network has the underpinning in place that should enable it to create more Rotarians. If Transitional Leadership continues, the Rotary network will be better able to create Rotarians who can utilize existing attributes like TRF and spawn new attributes to help them advance the Object of Rotary throughout the 21st century.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Retention Begins with Rotary International President Elect Germ's ASKASKASK!

    Rotarian should ASK someone to one or more club activities, keeping in mind that the invitee, from their viewpoint, is a Guest. They may not know many people at the activity.  Introducing them as a prospective member (even if they are) could make them feel uneasy, like they are being judged by this group of strangers.  Unknown to most members, Guest could get the impression that the club is desperate for members; that anybody could join.
    If Guest asks for more information about Rotary, they now become Prospect.  If Rotarian believes Prospect might be interested in joining, Rotarian should obtain sufficient information to complete, without Prospect's knowledge, the club's Propose a Member form and submit it to the Membership Committee or Board of Directors.  Confidentiality and the second Object of Rotary are very important because if Prospect is a competitor of or not respected by one or more existing members inviting them to join the club could become a negative experience for Prospect and/or existing members.  If the proposal for membership is disapproved, no harm is done because Prospect should not have known that they had been proposed and should have a positive view of Rotary.

    When approved, Rotarian should ASK Prospect to attend perhaps the most important public relations event the club has - an information meeting - which should include more club members (Page 14 - 417.en).  This is when Prospect should learn that Rotary is not an ordinary service organization but is a network of people who believe that service to their family, business, and community is a way of life - the third Object of Rotary.  Prospect, while being informed about membership opportunities and obligations, should be engaged in conversation and encouraged to ask questions.

     Near the end of the information meeting, Rotarian should ASK Prospect to complete an application for membership.  If Prospect accepts, they should be inducted into the club and oriented into Rotary's Circle of Life.  The club should give them the opportunity to fulfill their expectation that joining the club is, and will continue to be, a satisfying, positive, relationship-building experience.  If Prospect declines, the word-of-mouth public relations and personal attention they received should leave them with a positive impression of Rotarians, Rotary clubs, and Rotary International.

Higher retention and attraction rates begin with ASK1.  Many clubs and Rotarians are unfamiliar with the ASKASKASK initiative as presented, an unintended consequence of Rotary's Recruiting Death Dance years.  During those years, leaders encouraged, even pressured, clubs to expedite inducting anyone who showed interest in order to meet growth goals by interim cutoff dates, actions that evolved into today's customs.  ASKASKASK may appear awkward and time consuming, but similar initiatives have a history of leading to stability and steady growth rates.  All membership initiatives should be evaluated from a non-Rotarian viewpoint, and Rotary leaders should lead the way while recognizing that