Membership the key to a strong Rotary
RI President Dong Kurn Lee tells incoming district governors that the future of Rotary depends on increasing membership. Photos by Alyce Henson/Rotary Images
The future of Rotary depends on increasing and retaining members, RI President Dong Kurn Lee told incoming district governors on Monday at the International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA.
Lee noted that while the world’s need for service is growing, Rotary membership is not keeping pace. In fact, while the world's population is growing, membership is remaining stable.
Lee made his remarks as he outlined RI President-elect John Kenny’s membership goals for 2009-10. Earlier in the day, Kenny said he would ask the new district governors to see to it that there are more members at the end of the year than at the beginning and to mentor those new members.
Lee built on that message, saying the president-elect challenges the incoming district governors to work on a minimum net membership increase of one member per club, to maintain a retention rate of 80 percent, and to add at least one new club per district.
Lee noted that diversity is the key to membership growth.
“We must reach out to people who are different from us and from the members in our club,” Lee said, “because this is the way to a stronger club, with more connections and better potential.”
Lee also asked Rotarians to increase the percentage of qualified women and professionals under the age of 50, to bring in at least one alumnus or alumna of Rotary International or Rotary Foundation programs, and to work to increase the diversity of membership in all clubs.
Lee stressed, as Kenny had earlier in the day, that retention is as important as recruitment. “New members do not benefit Rotary unless they stay,” he said.
"I know that with your help, we can increase Rotary's membership," Lee said. "With your help, we can Make Dreams Real today and tomorrow. The Future of Rotary Is in Your Hands."
Governor-elect Ken Oakes from District 5510 (Arizona, USA) was looking forward to the challenge of keeping Rotarians interested in staying involved with their club. Oakes said member retention would be the focus of his year as governor, adding that the key to making people want to stay is planning activities, like parades and social events, that keep Rotary fun.