Why Organization's Fail

Rotary didn't stop developing membership because people were not interested in joining local Rotary clubs. Recent membership metrics have proven that. It stopped growing because Rotary and its member clubs became product oriented instead of member oriented. They marketed the results of the Object of Rotary instead of its value to its member clubs and Rotarians - its customers - those who fund its operations.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016


"You volunteered helping some people in your community.  Good for you, but who were you helping by posting what you did on your Facebook page?"  Recent Facebook post.

    Many service organizations (libraries, hospitals, museums, food banks, churches, etc.) keep track of volunteer hours.  In most cases the information is used to place a value on the volunteers' service.  This value in turn can be beneficial when it comes to applying for grants and exhibiting the volunteer-hour value to organizations' Boards of Directors and potential donors.  If properly handled, it can be used to amplify how volunteers help organizations impact communities.  For Rotary clubs, volunteer hours should be considered when determining the value of projects and activities.  But Rotary International (RI) and its member clubs can get themselves mired in the Volunteer Hour Quagmire if the information is improperly used in public information and relations.  
    Think about it.  The Rotary network is a member-driven organization; not a service-driven organization.  The sole purpose of RI and its member clubs is to create Rotarians who will continue to advance the Object of Rotary.  With this in clear view, care must be taken when publicizing the number of volunteer hours clubs or RI expend because it may not communicate Rotary's value proposition to its prime markets - existing and potential Rotarians.  To expend volunteer hours on service projects in not a differentiating reason to join a Rotary club.  Consider that, for decades, Rotary leaders worshiped the mantra, "When polio is eradicated, people will line up to join Rotary clubs."  Polio has been gone in all but four countries for many years, and now only remains in two countries.  But those line-ups never occurred!  Why?  Because Rotary is not what Rotary does, it is Who Rotarians Are; people of all genders, generations, and ethnicities who adopted the ideal of service in their personal, business, and community lives and utilize the Rotary network to seek outcomes that make their community and the world better.

    Rotary will continue to make the world better, providing it wisely pursues its purpose and objective.  In doing so, it must strive to deliver an enhanced value proposition to clubs and Rotarians, not just in August, but all year long, forever and a day, because

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