Thursday, January 25, 2018

2018 Membership Report - State of our District

During the first half of the Rotary year, District 5420 was showing positive growth being up 16 members through November.  Those numbers soon dropped as the Clubs cleaned up their membership rosters and dropped those members that have stopped participating in Rotary.  This semi-annual cleanout, each December and June, results in large drops in membership (we are minus 18 in the District as of January 10th, 2018).

So, what can we do minimize the semi-annual drops in membership?  The key to growing your Rotary Club is adding new members but more importantly keeping the members you already have. As our Zone website indicates:

“Rotarians actually do a great job of recruiting new members each year. The challenge clubs have is retaining members. Statistical data indicates that approximately 50% of new members leave Rotary within the first 12 months of their membership in the service organization. This is an indictment on the way in which we recruit and teach our new members about one of the most significant service organizations in the world.”

The Retention problem (really the lack of Member Satisfaction) is about how we manage member expectations and experiences.  The Rotary “We Care” program (A Guide for Building Strong, Effective and Fun Rotary Clubs for the New Millennium) states the following:

“One of our greatest challenges in Rotary is to better understand what type of expectations new members of Rotary have.  We need to take time and analyze what attracts new members and what will keep them in Rotary.  One of the foremost needs of new members is a strong desire to feel that they are spending their time wisely.  If they feel someone is wasting their time they have a tendency to avoid or eliminate whatever they feel is causing it.  New members need to be able to see immediate productivity.  They challenge us on a daily basis to teach them about Rotary at a quicker pace.  We must prove to them that Rotary is an organization that they should be part of.  Too many times we do not take the proper amount of time to reach out and help new members become part of Rotary.  New members must be educated quickly so they feel that they are part of the organization.  The question is, are our Rotary Clubs attractive, interesting, and do they give all individuals a feeling of accomplishment?  We all need to review our club’s attitude, environment, posture and direction. This will help to ensure that we meet the need of the new Rotarian of the 21st century.  During this process we must never lose focus of our duty and goals of being Rotarians. Most importantly, we must never compromise our beliefs.  Instead, we must modify our goals and expectations to be realistic and give our members the ability to reach the goals.  Our members must have the opportunity to feel they have accomplished something special and important.  Consistent direction and understanding are the keys to a successful club!”

Please take steps to ensure that your existing members are having their expectations met and that they are having a positive Rotary experience.  Consider how you conduct New Member Orientation, look at updating your Club Membership Plan, or conducting a Rotary Club Health Check.  Additional membership resources can be found at the following web sites:

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