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At our last breakfast meeting we inaugurated Hini Sullivan to our club as our latest new member. This brings our membership up to 40 which is going to be quickly overtaken by Douglas Webb who has made the decision to transfer his Rotary membership from Karori to Hutt City. It is great that we have created the opportunity of welcoming both Hini and Douglas to our membership ranks.

I recently had lunch with a long time friend of mine who has been active in Rotary for many years. He surprised me with the advice that the average Rotary club membership in District 9940 is only 20. Clearly the Rotary Club of Hutt City is in relatively good shape relative to this average.

I said that I was surprised at the advice my friend gave me which lead me to think about the reason for the decline of Rotary membership over the last decade or so. I have to say that this decline is not at all unique to Rotary which raises the question as to why?

I was recently introduced to Belinda Moore who is one of Australasia’s leading membership specialists having worked with a large number of associations, charities and non-profit organisations. Belinda is the author of two books including ‘The Membership Machine’ and ‘Membership Fundamentals’. More recently she authored a paper ‘Membership is Dead?’ and a Membership Managers’ Handbook a copy of which I have circulated to our board members.

In this handbook Belinda includes a short piece on ‘The Landscape of Membership is Changing’ in which she writes that a number of powerful generational, cultural and economic forces are colliding to create a perfect storm that will make the next 5-20 years some of the toughest ever faced. She goes on to write that 2011 represented the start of a change for most organisations. This was the year the first Baby Boomers turned 65 and started to retire. By 2029 most Baby Boomers will be retired. By 2034 the last of the Baby Boomers will be 70 and we will have a few members of this generation left as members. It will not be long before the membership – and leadership – of every organisation will consist almost entirely of people from Generation X and Y.

Makes one really start to think. All I know is that the Chief Executives of all our NZ companies these days seemed to be awfully young!!!

President's Column - Food for Thought


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