Retaining our members


As we approach the home run of this Rotary year, two activities occupy the agenda of most vibrant clubs. One is the plan for the year ahead with focus on timelines, fund raising and the teams responsible for those. Next is the assessment of those members who are not likely to continue their membership and the ways to retain them.

I wish to focus on this second activity of the clubs. While it is necessary to do this exercise of motivating members to stay on, it is also necessary to make it an all year focus rather than a year-end activity. Our region has been the front runner in recruitment of new members. While every club deserves congratulations for its efforts, it is disheartening to see the numbers that leave every year. Much has been said on this issue, yet the impact of this can never be overstated! While we open our doors, we need to ensure the back door is shut. Nobody joins Rotary to leave it after a year or two. Everyone joins with some expectation and a hope for fulfillment of a latent desire to be useful and relevant. The subscription that everyone pays to the club is not a donation but a fee. A fee with an expectation of something in return.

My request to the club leaders is to pay attention to this aspect throughout the year. Understand the needs and expectations of all members and make plans to fulfill all their legitimate and reasonable expectations. Members are the primary customers of every club and as an entity, a club cannot afford to have dissatisfied customers. When people leave Rotary it is rarely due to the demands on their time that Rotary makes or the cost involved. More often than not, it is lack of engagement in the club that leads to their disenchantment.

While we plan for the next year, let us ensure that every member has some role that is interesting and helps keep him invested in Rotary. This is the least we can do.

A S Venkatesh
RI Director, 2021–23

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