Dear fellow Rotarians, August
is the Rotary month of membership and extension, an area
of great importance to our organization.The United States
leads the way in total number of Rotarians, with 388,170
members. The second largest country is Japan with approximately
103,700 members, followed by India with about 90,000 Rotarians.
A couple of interesting observations are that these three
countries alone account for 50 percent of the Rotary population
and they are all around the Pacific, where 60 percent
of the world population is located.
As to the percentage of
a country’s population who are Rotarians, the picture
is quite different. Iceland is the number-one country,
followed by Sweden, Norway, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark,
and Australia. It’s fascinating to note that all
seven top nations come from the Nordic part of Europe
and Down Under.More interesting, however, is the general
trend of Rotary membership worldwide. The Far East has
a general upward trend. Africa has a trend of small gains
like Europe, a steady but small annual positive development.
All other areas, unfortunately, show another picture –
a downward one.
In the past, we have had
several years dedicated to a special and intensive focus
on membership. These have been very successful during
the time they were implemented, but due to the lack of
continuity, the gains have often been lost during the
following year.I think it is wise to work towards goals.
However, goals must be easy to understand and reachable.
For 2005-06, I have set
a goal of a net increase of one member per club. I believe
this goal is reachable and understandable. Unfortunately,
we have a loss of members each year in the area of 10
percent. This may make the goal more difficult to reach,
which is why retention is so critical. If the drop-off
rate can be reduced, the goal will be much easier to achieve.
It is therefore of greatest
importance that we a) make our clubs interesting through
dynamic programs and meaningful projects, b) take care
of club members so they feel that their membership is
relevant to both them and their clubs, and c) put an emphasis
on fellowship and friendship, two of the cornerstones
on which Rotary was built.
We need to be strong in
membership so that through Service Above Self we can continue
to show the world the great leadership of Rotary International.
- Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar,
President, Rotary International.