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Bruce Phillips gave the Viewpoint tonight. He said ...

'After I was asked to be on our Club’s membership committee (a committee of two I might add) I thought I'd better do some research on membership in our Club and our District. My findings might surprise you. All the information I am presenting this evening is sourced from our district website. 

  • The number of Clubs in our district has declined by 6 to 48 in the past 5 years.
  • When David Pine and I were the Presidents of Plimmerton and Tawa respectively back in 2010 the number of Clubs in our district was 66. Yes 18 Clubs have ceased to exist in the past 12 years. On average 1.5 Clubs cease to exist in our district each year. 
  • In our local area we all familiar with the challenges that Porirua Sunrise have had and Johnsonville and Tawa Club’s (our nearest neighbours) memberships are both well below 30.
  • At the district level, not surprisingly, membership numbers have declined by 352 in the past 5 years to 1258 today. The average Club size is 26 across the district with many Clubs having fewer than 20 members.
  • It is interesting to note that Rotary outside of Australasia is still growing strongly.
  • RC Plimmerton has 44 members which is well above the 26 average club size for our district.
  • Our gender spilt is 10 females and 34 males.
  • In terms of age demographics it’s hard to get a real handle on this for our Club as a significant number of members have not provided their date of birth. However I can confidently state that our age profile is skewed towards the senior’s end of Club
  • membership. District has advised me that we do not have any Rotarians under 40 years of age however I understand there is some question mark about that.
  • RC Plimmerton have been given a district target of 30% female membership by 30 June 2023. That means with Dallas New’s transfer to the Hutt Club we need an additional 4 female members in the new Rotary year just to achieve the female member
  • target. And that’s assuming of course that our membership base does not decline over that period.
  • I thought I’d share some general reasons why people join and leave Rotary 

'Why do future members join Rotary? 

  • Service in the local community
  • Service in the global community
  • Personal growth 
  • Establish Business networks
  • Fellowship and friendship

'Why do existing members stay in Rotary

  • Service in local community
  • Connection with others outside their normal social circles
  • Fellowship, friendship and fun

'Why do people leave Rotary?

  • Age
  • Club culture and environment 
  • Cost and time commitment
  • Unmet expectations. This reason is a high 20% of leavers

'The “formula” that universally makes a Club successful  seems to include the following;

  • Provide a consistent and positive experience
  • Create a diverse, open and flexible environment 
  • Involve all members in projects and Rotary programmes
  • Involve opportunities to develop leadership skills  
  • Fellowship and fun

'The Club conducted a membership drive in January this year just about the time I transferred from the Honiara Rotary Club. Every member was asked to provide names of potential new members for the Club. To date there has not been one new member joining RC of Plimmerton as a result of this membership drive however on a positive note the convenor of the membership committee is still talking to two prospective members as a result of the campaign.  

'Finally, I have been advised of a recent Australasian Rotary (still unpublished survey) of Australian and New Zealand Rotary Clubs that highlights many challenges facing Rotary in this part of the world. One key survey response was particularly scary and that is on average, across all Rotary Clubs in Australia and New Zealand, 8% of existing members were looking to leave Rotary by 30 June 2023.

'So my viewpoint is to ask whether Plimmerton RC has alignment between its current Club activities and offerings and the expectations and needs of potential new members. Because unless we have that alignment the downward trend in our membership numbers will continue and potentially continue quite rapidly given the age profile of our Club. 

'I also hope the information provided today will cause a rethink of the importance of membership and the importance of the membership committee in our Club. It’s long past the time when the membership committee lost its poor cousin status to all the other Club committees.' 

A membership dilemma - 14 June 2022

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