Rotary International and its member clubs serve niche markets. The most effective niche market public relations initiative is word-of-mouth. That's why RIPE Germ's ASKASKASK has historically proved effective. Before initiating ASKASKASK initiatives, Rotarians should understand that people, regardless of gender, generation, or ethnicity, join organizations because they want a problem solved, the occurrence to be positive, and the event to result in a relationship-building experience. For the many Rotarians who are unfamiliar with it, that's the first Object of Rotary.
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