Really! I believe growing Rotary membership is easier than most people think. It requires a bit of analysis, and consistent effort, but it is not difficult. Here are two approaches you may want to try. One is looking for good ‘have beens’, and the other is looking for ‘newbees’ with a heart of service.
FIRST, look at your membership termination statistics, by District, Area or Club. Rotary International has several reports that may be useful, including Membership Termination Profile and Member Viability and Growth. Today, I analyzed data from District and Club Database (DACdb) for the past year, by downloading the data into an Excel spreadsheet and sorting by reasons for termination. This is what I found:
- About 20% of club members left for reasons we cannot influence, such as relocation or death.
- One quarter of members left because they were dissatisfied by the club experience. This was indicated by lack of participation, attendance or payment of dues.
- Over half of members left because of life events; business, personal or family obligations.
While we can’t do anything about the first group, that leaves nearly 80% of terminated club members that may be enticed back into Rotary by making the club experience more attractive.
These people are ‘have beens’! They have been Rotarians and understand the organization to some degree. Focus on prior members that stayed in the club at least 4 years as they have a good base of Rotary knowledge and may be intrigued by innovative alternatives you can offer.
- Conduct a club survey to assess current and former member satisfaction. Adjust where necessary, to minimize future member losses and increase overall club appeal.
- Contact terminated members and ask them what it would take to get them back into Rotary. Explain how membership expectations and the club’s focus have evolved since they were a member.
- Start a new club with a highly flexible meeting format, to appeal to busy members, with limited time, and financial resources. Consider a club without a meal and fewer formal meetings, perhaps a passport club, satellite club or an e-club.
I estimate that District 7710 should be able to encourage 20-30% of members who left Rotary in the past couple of years to rejoin, perhaps in a different club that is a better fit. If we could accomplish this, it would represent more than double our typical annual membership growth!
The SECOND approach is to identify ideal ‘newbees’. Traditionally, we have conducted classification surveys to identify potential members. In addition to considering profession, consider those who might have a ‘heart of service’. Perhaps this person is already volunteering or serving in a caring profession:
- Chamber of Commerce
- Food bank
- Community theater
- Military or military spouse
- Little league coaches
- Health care
- Not for profits
- Recent graduates
- Recent empty-nesters
- Recent retirees
In addition to asking current members for suggestions of potential members, ask previous members, who they know that would make a good Rotarian; (themselves and…).
In the previous post I spoke about sprucing up your club. Now that you’ve done that, invite the ‘have beens’ and ‘newbees’ to join your Vibrant Club!
Let’s Be The Inspiration!