Rotary and World Culture

Understanding why something has stopped working is critical in finding the best way to getting it to work again. While official RI is promulgating changing or reinventing their Clubs with the hope that we’ll come across a magic sauce to turn the tide, it does so without an intellectual foundation. There are reasons for what we experience, and the starting point for solutions is in the numbers and trends here. We need to look and think deeper.

I have recently been interested in Rotary’s worldwide membership numbers to see what they tell us. While we may think that Rotary is one worldwide Movement, the independence of Clubs, the relative autonomy of Districts and Zones, and the diverse cultural environments, make following the Object of Rotary very different around the globe at any given time.

While the number of Rotary Members has been constant at 1.2 million for many years, as we learned from Director John Smarge’s groundbreaking speech in 2012, we churn (gain and lose) about 150,000 people a year. An analysis of member counts by country covering the 18 months between 1/2016 and 6/2013 reveals that most of the losses are from the westernized world in Rotary, while the offsetting gains are generally from India, Asia, and Africa. Continue reading “Rotary and World Culture”