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

Monday, May 30, 2016


RI President Ravi
PRID John Smarge
The public admission by Rotary International (RI) President Ravi and tweeted to the world by Secretary General John Hewko that Rotary is a business is the culmination of a reversal that began in 2011 when then RI Director John Smarge publically identified Rotarians as RI's customers.  At last, RI and its member clubs can now begin creating viable strategic plans because any strategic plan, to be even close to realistic, must identify a common purpose.  That purpose must lie outside of the Rotary network.  It must lie inside the social fabric of the communities where local Rotary clubs successfully function.  Therefore, the only valid purpose of RI is to create Rotary clubs and support them as they create Rotarians locally!
     By admitting that Rotary is a business and accepting that its purpose is to create Rotarians, RI can now conduct business unlike any other business by pursuing its two primary functions - innovating and marketing.  Both are important for Rotary to have a successful future.  The Object of Rotary and recent Council on Legislation actions have opened the door to innovations.  Marketing, on the other hand, may still be hiding in its closet.  Marketing is based on knowing and understanding the Rotary network so well that membership sells itself - club membership in the association, and Rotarian membership in local clubs.  To do that, RI must thoroughly know and understand the demographics, psychographics, realities, wants, needs, and values of its member clubs; independent organizations that must understand the same attributes in local existing and potential Rotarians.  It is dangerous for RI to seek uniformity in the actions its over 35,000 member clubs take to create Rotarians.  This is why the only true measure of effective clubs, districts, zones, regions, and RI is their ability to retain and attract Rotarians - their Retention Rates, Growth Rates, and RG Indexes.  These are, by far, the most critical metrics of all membership (customer) dependent organizations.

Indeed, exciting and challenging times lie before the Rotary network!  Rotary leaders should be proud to accept and promote that Rotary is a business unlike any other; a business based on developing relationships; recognizing the importance of legitimate businesses and professions; and instilling the ideal of service in individuals' family, business, community, and international lives.  
Marketing these fundamental principles


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Tale of Two Clubs

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times, it is the time to dance, it is nearing the time of no polio, it is the time of Rotary International (RI) reverting to advancing the Object of Rotary, it is the time of RI upheaval.
Shark Valley.  2014-15 Membership Statistics 
The club is sixty-five years old.  It's average forty membership waxes and wanes with Shark Valley’s fluctuating agriculture-based economy.  Its members represent various local businesses and professions. The town's school principal and mayor are members.  The club carefully screens proposed members.  It furnishes no organized support to The Rotary Foundation and minimally supports district activities.  Some members, because of local contacts, support an orphanage in Latin America.  The club concentrates its activities on local projects and programs, including the school's Digital Learning Laboratory and Interact club as well as Shark Valley's Rotary Park
Deep Canyon.   2014-15 Membership Statistics 
The club is in a large city’s affluent suburb.  It has grown from a startup club eighteen years ago to fifty-four members.  It has a $1,000 new member admission fee whether or not the proposed member is a transferring Rotarian.  It encourages members to contribute a minimum of $1,000 per year to The Rotary Foundation and expects members to support the club's charitable arm, The Rotary Club of Deep Canyon Foundation.  It frequently partners on global grants, supports youth exchange, and furnishes financial and human support to a nearby school.  It sponsors several socials a year, initiated and was the major sponsor of Deep Canyon's Dog Park.

The first and most important Object of Rotary is to develop friendships and create relationships. Using Occam's Razor to shave away the whiskers of what the Rotary clubs of Shark Valley and Deep Canyon do to attain their RG Index cleanly exposes the Index as the simplest and most accurate measure of clubs', districts', zones', regions' and RI's effectiveness in advancing the Object of Rotary.  RI could stabilize its upheaval if it prioritized and concentrated on improving its RG Index by helping each region, zone, and district create new clubs and support existing clubs. 

Developing acquaintances in local waters sends ripples of friendships that advance the Object of Rotary worldwide.  The premier proof of this is Rotarians' gift to the world - the eradication of polio - made possible simply because 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Rotary has come a L-O-O-O-NG Way, but It Can't Stop Now!

The 2016 Council on Legislation delegates saw a *Strategic Plan presentation that contained this graphic:

This was an outstanding public admission, a necessary step in order to make progress.

This was the next graphic:

This was no doubt a necessary compromise in order to get agreement that membership is Rotary International's operational priority. 



Monday, May 2, 2016

Rotary International is not a Worldwide Service Organization!

Rotary International (RI) has ONLY one purpose:  to create and support Rotary clubs throughout the world.  Rotary clubs have only one purpose:  to create Rotarians.  The worldwide network of Rotarians adopt the ideal of service in their personal, business, and community lives.  They serve by creating and utilizing attributes locally and internationally advancing the Object of Rotary.  Unfortunately too many Rotarians, including many leaders, do not understand, or know how to communicate, the Object of Rotary's importance.
     Had leaders been talking about, and accurately measuring clubs' effectiveness in, advancing the Object of Rotary, fewer clubs would be struggling today!  It is a natural tendency for humans and institutions, as they age, to be comfortable with existing lifestyles and practices; to not adapt to changing times and technologies.  But if Rotarians know and accept that Rotary's objective, its Circle of Life, is to advance the Object of Rotary, they, regardless of generation, gender, or ethnicity, should continually seek to develop new acquaintances; to accept and appreciate new businesses, professions, and practices.  Therefore, any reasonable person would conclude that dying clubs were not effective at advancing the Object of Rotary.  In all likelihood, they had simply forgotten it.  After all, nobody talked about or accurately measured it. 
     Accurately measuring clubs' effectiveness is easy - the RG (Retention Growth) Index.  And here is another *BFLOB: without jealously adhering to and advancing the Object of Rotary, the Rotary network will continue to be in danger.  North American membership has been telegraphing this for decades.  Actions in the recent 2016 Council on Legislation indicate that the message has finally gotten through.  Maybe, just maybe, leaders will start delivering the perception that without Rotarians, the Rotary network cannot advance the Object of Rotary. 

Is there any chance RI will communicate the perception that it considers membership its top operational priority by offering special training for district membership chairs like it did for District TRF chairs??  Is it possible that The Rotarian and other regional magazines could publish articles on the meaning of The Object of Rotary?  That Rotary leaders could encourage districts and clubs to sponsor Object of Rotary speech and/or essay contests with appropriate awards for contestants and their teachers?
 * Blinding FLash of the Obvious