"This is a changing world; we must be prepared to change with it. The story of Rotary will have to be written again and again." - Paul Harris
To say that membership growth and retention in Rotary is an issue is an understatement. 
Our noble movement of over 1.2 million members and over 35,000 clubs worldwide has a long-standing retention and growth challenge. Members are the heart and pulse of any voluntary organization, and a weak heart or pulse is never a good prognosis for a patient. 
Even with these challenges, Rotary is far from dead. We continue to fulfil our mission to "provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders."
Rotary Club of St. Andrew
One of the relatively under-utilized resources for membership growth and retention is the Rotaractors, the youth arm of Rotary, beaming with energy, talent and Rotary knowledge. But alas, here too, Rotary also has a challenge with transitioning Rotaractors into Rotary.
The Rotary Club of St. Andrew has had some success in this regard which I would like to share.
The club has enjoyed many years of Service Above Self in Jamaica and hopes to continue giving to our communities in various ways through membership that is fully committed to the Rotary ideals. Here are a few facts about the Rotary Club of St. Andrew
The club is 55 years old, being founded in 1966
The club still has one charter/founding member with 55 years of Service Above Self
It has a total membership of 43 members and two honorary members
It has two wife and husband teams
Two father and son teams
13.95% of the membership transitioned from Rotaract to Rotary
I must confess that I cannot fully explain the presence of the wife and husband teams, even though I am one-half of one of those two teams being the husband of the current President of the club (President Ammesha Brown). Still, the club is never the less grateful for their presence as it adds to the uniqueness of our club and the 'vibez', as we say in Jamaica. Nor can we explain the father and son team or our charter member's long life of service, but it all contributes to the St. Andrew vibes.
However, I think I can explain the club's success with the Rotaract to Rotary transition.
While 13.95% transition rate is impressive by any measure, hidden behind this number is a cadre of committed Rotarians that have been in the club for six years or less. The 13.95% represents:
  • 9.3% of the total membership
  • They constitute almost a third, 28.57%, of the club's leadership
  • 66.67% of them are currently serving in leadership positions in the Club
  • 83.33% of them have served or are serving in Club leadership positions
As I said, solid.
So, what is our secret sauce?
 The secret sauce
In her installation speech, the current President gave a clue where she put forward membership as the central focus of her Rotary year, branding it: Membership: Continuity in Service and Service in Continuity. She has placed membership engagement and participation at the heart of her administration but cognizant of the legacy handed to her or in her own words, "I plan to write a new Rotary story, built upon the foundation handed to me, one that will inspire all to continue to be our brother's keeper."
As such, St. Andrew's secret sauce for its growing success in Rotaract to Rotary transition is MEMBERSHIP: Continuity in Service, and Service in Continuity, more specifically;
  1. Active and consistent engagement of the Rotaract Clubs we help charter, especially by the Youth Service Chair.
  2. The dual participation of Rotary and Rotaract members in each other's meetings.
  3. Active sponsorship and involvement of Rotary members in Rotaract projects and activities.
  4. Active inclusion and involvement of Rotaractors in Rotary projects.
  5. Mentorship of Rotaractors by Rotarians, inclusive of internships and career talks during Vocational Service Month.
  6. A deliberate policy of active recruitment by the Membership Committee.
This has resulted in a strong bond between the Rotary and Rotaract members that is continuously renewed and maintained yearly.
The results of doing this speak for themselves.