By Bill Koellner/West Liberty
Member of the District Members Team

For Rotary International to complete the present humanitarian tasks, it will require an increase in membership. Did you know that our Rotary clubs lose the greatest number of their members in May, June and July? Reasons vary, but RI research from exit surveys, indicates that July is when those members who are not committed or are not being challenged or not enjoying the fellowship of Rotary are giving serious consideration to not renewing their membership.

Research also shows that:
 Few Rotarians resign in haste
 Rotarians usually agonize privately over their decision for some months
 They have often been absent from meetings for some weeks before resigning
 They are seldom contacted by anyone in their club to encourage them to stay, until it is too late.

Membership recruitment becomes an easy task when we recall - "who asked me?" " who cared enough to invite me to be a Rotarian?" Every Rotarian's life has been changed by someone who opened the magic door of Rotary. There are so many qualified men and women waiting for a Rotary invitation, even though they may not know it. Each of us, as Rotarians, must take that step and ask someone to become a member of our Rotary club. But you must motivate the Rotarians in your district.

"We Must Retain!" We must grow our Rotarian numbers in all the clubs.

Readers of the Zone 22 membership newsletter, Membership Matters, will be interested in a unique demographic survey of Rotarians in District 5040 and 5050 who live in the Greater Vancouver area and the Fraser Valley that has been carried out.

The survey was conducted in cooperation with the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT). Two students, Lisa Chang and Yi Gao under the direction of faculty advisor, Lori Becker from the Integrated Management Technology program conducted the study.

A shortened version of the demographic survey form from the RI website was sent to a random sample of 600 Rotarians in 50 clubs. A total of 179 forms were returned representing 27 clubs. This is a very high return rate for a mail-in questionnaire.

The demographic information obtained was compared to demographic information of the general population in the area. The purpose of the study was to determine who is in Rotary, why and who is not in Rotary and what would attract them to become a member of a Rotary club.

The primary findings are listed below.

- Average age of Rotarians - 57 years
- Only 3% were less than 35 years based on a small sample
- 27% are female
- 91% married or have been married
- 67% have no children at home
- 72% work and 28% are retired
- Annual average income $70,000 to $85,000
- Primary reason they join Rotary - invited by a friend
- Most joined for service and networking
- 98% satisfied with the cost of Rotary
- 98% are satisfied with the orientation they received at Rotary

Recommendations from Survey
- Focus on recruiting females age 30-54
- Put emphasis on service to recruit members
- Current members inviting friends best way to recruit
- Recruit more ethnically diverse members
- Promote business networking as a benefit of Rotary.