Rotary International has slightly more than 1.2 million members, the same number we have cited for the past 4 years. So what is going on? Over the last 4 years (maybe longer) our International membership has hovered around 1.2 million members. We seem to recruit close to 500,000 new members world wide, yet continue to show a static growth figure.
Think about your club. How many members has your club lost over the past 2 years? My guess is anywhere from several to upwards to 10. Why did they leave? While there are many reasons members leave clubs, the vast majority leave the rolls due to attrition or moving away from the community. In some cases it may be because they retired and the company they worked for has ceased paying their dues; all valid reasons.
So what about those members that merely left the club because it ??
1). failed to meet their expectation of Rotary
2.) Club meetings were not engaging
3.) Meals were not up to standards
4.) Cost of membership too high (no value add)
5.) Lost interest.
All of these are reasons cited in exit interviews and each one raises a question about our organization. While I do not have a silver bullet answer, I do have some thoughts on the matter. But that is not important. I believe the answer to our retention issues can be found in the individual club.
That being said:
I am asking each club to hold a club assembly during the month of November to discuss the topic of why members leave. I am asking that each club President forward the results of these meetings to me so that I may work with our team to develop a set of district wide strategies to help stem the tide of loss. Along with the results of your conversations, share with us what you do to make every member feel as thought this is THE club to belong to. What are you doing?
While District 6880 may not be able to change the whole Rotary World, we can change our own. I look forward to hearing from you.