It doesn’t sound like much, just one new net member per club. “That’s a snap!” you say. Not so, at least not if you study the statistics.

We are now 75% through the 2010-11 Rotary year. Do you know how many net new members District 5550 has achieved for the in the past nine months? One! That’s right one for 48 clubs.

Now that doesn’t mean we have just gained only one new member so far this year. Actually we have gained 44 new members. But it does mean that we have gained just one more member than we have lost.  And therein lays the rub. That’s exactly why gaining 48 net new members is such a challenging goal.

Take a look at the “District 5550 Membership Growth” chart to the left.  Only 18 clubs have generated a net increase of one or more members over the first 9 months of this Rotary year. That has been virtually equaled by the 14 clubs who had a net loss over the same period.  Meanwhile the remaining 16 clubs have had no change in membership status at all.

When roughly a third of a District’s clubs are achieving a net gain, it is a small miracle that the District has any net gain at all.

A closer look at the figures reveals that it is the small cities and larger towns which have been generating the largest net increases.  (To view the full chart login and under “District Clubs & Membership” click on “Reports,” then under the title District Reports which reads “Club Size Reports” click on the little arrow and produce the “Club Growth Report”) Gains in community clubs in Portage La Prairie, Dryden and Dauphin have been more than offset by losses in the Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Saskatoon North clubs.

At the beginning of the recent President Elect Training Seminar (PETS) each incoming president was asked to identify a goal for 2011-12. It was a good sign that recruitment and retention was by far and away number one on the list.

It is now time for each 2011-2012 president to take back to their members exactly the same task DGE Vida gave to each Club PE. Every single member must bring in one net new member. Yes that would actually create an explosion, but in reality it is the only strategy which has a realistic chance of generating 48 net new members for the district.

The weight of new members is not something that can rest with just a few energetic, outgoing and generous Rotarians. It is a responsibility, we all, in fairness, must carry.