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by Paul Kiser
USA PDT  [Twitter: ] [Facebook] [LinkedIn] [Skype:kiserrotary or 775.624.5679]

Paul Kiser - Rotary Public Relations Chair - District 5190

I have a challenge for every North American Rotary club that is at least ten years old:

Step 1. Look up all the new members that were inducted in the last three and a half years, excluding the new members inducted in the last six months (e.g; members inducted between January 2007 and January 2010.)
Step 2. Determine how many of those members left the club.
Step 3. Contact them (if living) and ask the following questions:

  • Why did you leave the club?
  • Why did you really leave the club?
  • In a time when more connections with business people would be more critical, why didn’t our club offer this to you?
  • What type of person would you recommend to join our club? (Age, gender, personality, etc.)
  • What irritated/disappointed you about our club?

Step 4. Hold a Board Meeting to discuss the results.

Rule One is that no one is allowed to diminish or discount the statements of the former member (e.g.; “She never was really happy with us.” or “They just wanted to network.” or “He joined for the wrong reasons.”)

Rule Two is that no one on the Board who has served over three years is allowed to participate in the discussion for the first 30 minutes.

I think you’ll find the results interesting and tell you the public image that your club projects to others. Why? Too many Rotarians are looking for members who think, believe, talk, act, and look like the existing club members. New members who don’t fit the mold are the first to leave. The question is whether the club is ready to adjust their behavior to be more inclusive of business professionals who may not fit the mold.

The reason to limit the participation of long-term Board members is because members who have become entrenched in the decision-making process of the club tend to have too much say and tend to try to preserve the status quo.

Let me know what you discover about your club’s public image.

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