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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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Does Rotary International Really Understand Who Its Supporters Are and Why They Support Rotary?

  Rotary International (RI) does not have one group of supporters (customers).  Just like automobile manufacturers, Starbucks, McDonald's, Woolworth's, and many other national and multi-national organizations, it has two:  local outlets and their customers.  These organizations succeed when they authorize local outlets to deliver their differentiating value proposition and support the outlets as they adapt to local customers' values, wants, and realities.  For this reason, and this reason alone, organizations with local outlets, franchised or otherwise, must thoroughly understand the realities, situations, behaviors, expectations, and values of their outlets AND their outlets' customers.
    These are basic big business fundamentals, yet few Rotary leaders are educated and/or supported on understanding and applying them.  RI is not defined by its name, constitution, by-laws, Code of Policies, motto, the Four-Way Test, The Rotary Foundation, the quantity or quality of the service projects and programs it and/or its member clubs sponsor, or any amount of public information. It is only defined by the differentiating value perceived when people pay dues to join a local outlet (club), recognize themselves, and are identified locally as "Rotarians".  It is the same with all successful organizations that have many local outlets.  For example, the automobile manufacturer BMW is not defined by its name or the mode of transportation it produces.  It is defined by the differentiating value perceived by customers when they purchase a mode of personal transportation, recognize themselves, and are identified locally as owners of "the ultimate driving machine".
    RI is a multi-national business with over 35,000 outlets (clubs).  Since 1996 its membership (customer) base has hovered around 1.2 million.  Many more than that have come and gone.  Important positive changes have been adopted and are beginning to spread throughout the Rotary network.  Unfortunately many outdated mindsets - 'clubs are local service organizations', 'Rotarians are just volunteers or charity workers''clubs exist to support districts, RI, and TRF' and 'membership is strictly a club issue' - continue to flourish among Rotarians, many of them in, or seeking, leadership positions.  This can only be overcome by continuously internally marketing to clubs and Rotarians on how the Object of Rotary compliments and supports local clubs and Rotarians in their realities, because, as People of Action,