The Council of Governors (past, present and future) met yesterday in Stratford Connecticut with Rotary International Member Guru Brad Howard to discuss ways of helping Rotary Clubs sustain and grow their membership. The meeting was a free flowing open dialog where concerned Governors from both Connecticut Districts (7890 & 7980) rolled up their sleeves to brainstorm solutions to help our Rotary Clubs.
Brad drove home several key membership points to our group:
- RI has had 1.2 million members since 1997
- Within the past 10 years RI has brought in 1.2 million members
- As an organization we have no problem bringing people in the front door, we just aren’t very good at protecting the backdoor
Some profound implications of these points are:
- We have to put greater focus on membership preservation through satisfaction than on new member attraction (recruitment)
- Given our worldwide membership churn it is critically important that we recognize the face and the needs of our membership are very different than they were just 10 years ago. We have to adapt to this new reality by running our districts and clubs as it is 2013 moving towards 2020 rather than 1905 moving towards 2013.
- Rotary clubs must be given the flexibility to really think and act outside of the box and as district leaders we must help them in those endeavors
Brad also challenged us with a critically important question to ponder: Are we a service organization with members or are we a membership organization that does service?
It’s no secret that Membership is the primary goal of our district this year. In particular our goal is to help our clubs to maintain the right quality and the right size membership which will allow them to achieve the goals which are important to them.
I want to personally thank the following Governors for participating yesterday and for being part of this important dialog:
- Pam Akins
- Brian Amey
- John Annick
- Michael Barnet (7890)
- Rick Benson
- Alan Hurst
- Sue Klock (7890)
- Mac Leask
- Ernie Luise
- Mukund Nori
- Rupi Rupwani
- Gerry Tom
And our course….Brad Howard.
So now back to that question: Are we a service organization with members or are we a membership organization that does service?
What do you think?