India contributed 63.4 per cent of world’s net membership growth of 20,952 members. Zones 4, 5 and 6A created an all time record in membership growth, (see table).
More significant, this increase is as of July 1, 2015 and not June 30, 2015, which means we not only added a net of 13,276 new members, but also retained them.
My heartiest congratulations to RCs Vijay Jalan and C Basker and their team of ARCs and Officers on Special Duty, DGs, Membership chairs and Club Presidents for this stupendous achievement.
Out of 34 RI Zones, Zone 5 ranks No 1 with 36.47 per cent (7,641 new members) of the world membership growth. In recognition of this outstanding achievement, the RI Board of Directors have honoured Zone 5 with awards for the Highest growth rate; Highest number of Gold Level sponsors; and Appreciation for bringing in the most number of new members.
The RI Board of Directors has decided that next to polio eradication membership growth will be the No 1 priority of Rotary.
How Zones 4, 5 and 6A could achieve this near impossible task and how they have planned for this growth is an interesting story. Even before the Rotary year began, along with RIDE Manoj Desai, RCs Basker and Vijay Jalan, ARCs and all DGEs in this region, I had planning meets in Chennai and Mumbai.
The district membership chairs were also part of these planning meets. It was agreed by all DGEs that the minimum strength of a club should be 40 in city areas and 30 in city-plus areas.
Keeping in mind the fact that the DGs had to take care of so many issues like TRF collections, in addition to membership growth, the District membership chairs held separate planning meetings with club membership chairs and fixed targets which were closely monitored. In each district, a senior PDG was appointed as OSD (Officer on Special Duty) to help clubs with less than 20 members to grow to 40 or merge with other active clubs in the area.
While countries such as the US, UK are struggling with declining membership, in India we have made “the impossible, possible.”
I salute all Rotarians who made this possible.