Regional membership plans offer a new tool for attracting and retaining members
Regional membership plans offer recommendations for each region, based on its strengths and historical trends. One of the recommendations in several of the plans is to reach out to Rotary Foundation and program alumni. Rotary Images
When it comes to increasing membership, one size does not fit all, says Manoj Desai of the Membership Development and Retention Committee.
Understanding a region’s unique needs, customs, and historic trends can greatly enhance the ability of district leaders to bring in new members and retain existing ones.
The RI Board of Directors recently approved the development of regional membership plans that take these differences into account. Most of these plans were approved by the Board in May. Some regions are still developing their plans and will submit them to the Board in November.
District Governors for 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14 will receive their region’s plan or be told the status of their region’s plan by the beginning of their term.
By using these plans as a starting point in drafting membership and retention goals, along with an action plan to meet those goals, leaders will be better able to help RI meet the membership goal recently set by the Board: 1.3 million Rotarians by 30 June 2015.
“Members are the lifeline of Rotary International,” says Desai. “The chief benefit of these regional membership plans is to make Rotary vibrant, have positive membership growth, and be the number one volunteer organization in future years.”
The plans were created by a committee of Rotary leaders in each region, headed by the Rotary Director. Each region’s strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and challenges, were taken into account in setting targets. Many of the plans included recommendations.
For example, India’s regional plan encourages all club membership chairs to attend membership development seminars that will be created by Rotary coordinators and district leaders. The plan sets a goal of 10 percent membership growth each year through 2015.
“In India, Rotary leadership has challenged all the district leaders and they have accepted the challenge,” says Desai.
Other recommendations from the plans:
- In the United Kingdom, Rotarians are developing a national publicity campaign to counter the public’s lack of knowledge of what Rotary does. The plan also encourages increased use of social media to attract and retain members, as well as the selection of publicity photos of Rotarians actively serving, to counter the image of Rotary as elitist and stuffy.
- In North America, the plan recommends focusing on retention rates and addressing the reasons members are leaving. The plan suggests treating members as Rotary’s “customers” and identifying, defining, and promoting Rotary’s value to members.
- India’s plan recommends leaders make use of Rotary’s good public image in that country. Other strengths include a pool of young entrepreneurs with leadership aspirations and a growing economy.
- In Europe, strategies include conducting more informal club meetings, allowing more flexibility in attendance by measuring the frequency of involvement in service activities rather than meeting attendance, and staying in contact with alumni and inviting them to meetings.
Download your regional membership plan. August is Membership and Extension Month. Take the Rotary Membership Challenge, or sign up for Membership Minute.