Highlights of the RI Annual Membership Survey 2021

“The motive power of Rotary is friendship,” said Paul Harris in his address to the Rotary Convention in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1922. His remarks were greeted with a round of applause – and were endorsed 100 years later by the current members of Rotary.

That is the opening paragraph of the article synopsizing the key findings of the 2021 survey published in the August 2022 Rotary Magazine on pages 46 and 47. The survey drew 70,000 responses from Rotarians and Rotaractors around the world. Even though only a 5% response rate, some findings were clear:

Among other aspects, members like fellowship, learning from guest speakers, opportunities to get involved locally, and hybrid meetings. Likewise, members don’t like virtual-only meetings, uninteresting guest speakers, lack of diversity, and unneeded rituals and formalities.

The article also notes that 93% of members were at least “rather likely” to stay a member of their club for the coming year. On a contrary note, 61% of the Rotarians who joined in 2006 had terminated their membership by 2020. Some primary reasons for leaving were that the club did not represent the individual’s values, lack of impact, costs, and personal circumstances.

Additional information in the article was labeled, “What to know about new members.” In that section, 82% of them found their clubs through friends, colleagues, and other members. “One-to-three” was mentioned twice, first as the number of club meetings a person attends before deciding to join and, second, as the period of years when a new member is most susceptible to leaving.

The article lists four takeaways from the data:
• To engage new members, get them included right away
• If costs are a burden, be creative in addressing them
• Diversify membership by recruiting persons outside your social circle
• Work to ensure that all members feel welcomed, respected, and valued

Obviously, these highlights just touch the surface of the results and analysis that require 527(!) pages in the actual report. You can find that on the RI website at:

You may need to log in to your My Rotary account to gain access. John White would be glad to help you. These results will likely be on the agenda for the Membership Committee meeting at 10:30am on Wednesday, August 10. Additions to the committee are always welcome. Contact John for an invitation.