Houston, We Have a Problem!

Membership Toolkit–Step 1

During Rotary training this weekend, we learned that the typical Rotary club member attrition rate is about 15% and new member acquisition averages 12%.  This means that most Rotary clubs are losing members.  It was also mentioned that most members leave during the first 3 years of joining a club.  As discussed here, the Kerr Tar Rotary club in the first 11 months since being chartered, recruited 27 members but lost 15, for a net membership of 12.  This weekend, we also learned that healthy clubs have at a minimum of 20-25 members and that moderate, steady growth is more effective than rapid shifts in membership.  With this recently acquired knowledge, I am going to suggest to my club that we reduce our membership goal for this coming year, ending June 2018, from 28 to 20 members.  Since established Rotary clubs lose ~15% of their members annually and most members leave in the first 3 years of membership, I am going to assume an attrition rate of 25%, rather than the typical 15%, to account for the preponderance of new Rotarians in the club.  Therefore, to meet our more realistic goal of 20 members (+8), we will need to recruit at least 13 people (20 total member goal – 12 existing members + 5 member attrition (25% x 20 members) = 13 new members to be acquired).

How in the world are we going to do this?  Like in any sales situation, it is all about the numbers.  A general rule of thumb is that it takes 10 contacts to identify 3 potential members and actually acquire 1 new member.  This is known as the 10:3:1 ratio.  So in our case, we need to contact at least 130 people to induct 13 new members.  While many people say they ‘hate sales’, it is actually not difficult to ask a friend to join you in making a difference in your community.  Most people want to give back to their community; they just haven’t found the right vehicle (ROTARY) to do so.

How to start?  Membership Toolkit Step #1

  1. Write down the contact information for at least 10 people on a spreadsheet, like this one, or directly into the DACdb database as a ‘Friend of Rotary’ Member Type. Find these potential Rotarians in your phone contact list, church directory, parents of your children’s’ friends, colleagues, neighbors, partner, Chamber of Commerce directory, etc.

I’m not asking you to contact them yet, just write down 10 names.  Now, wasn’t that easy? Subscribe to this blog so you don’t miss Step #2 in the Membership Toolkit…

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