Are clubs receiving a perceived value from Rotary’s Annual theme? Before going any further, the reader might consider studying Rotary’s Branding Triangle, available for viewing or downloading on the right sidebar.
In the adjacent diagram, the black arrows indicate R.I.'s interconnections; the green arrows indicate the annual money flow. In this Rotatorial, the large horizontal green arrow represents the money flow created by the custom of having annual themes. Please pay careful attention to the R.I. Associates.
The immediately previous BLOG suggested that everything R.I. does should be viewed, not only by how R.I. interacts with clubs (its only customers) but also from how clubs interact with R.I. After all, clubs do supply virtually all of the money flow to R.I. and its Associates.
The annual theme custom, I am told, began in 1952. According to the Rotary Code of Policy, 27.020.5, the president may select an appropriate motivational theme to be observed throughout R.I. during the president’s year in office. The theme shall be consistent with the R.I. Strategic Plan. I had the privilege of serving as an R.I. Associate – District Governor and Zone 34 Rotary Coordinator – both wonderful experiences. There is little question that annual themes can help build esprit de corps and cohesiveness between R.I. and its Associates. But should this be the custom’s determining value? R.I.’s customers, the clubs, fund virtually all expenses the custom creates so isn't it only proper that the custom be examined from the clubs’ point of view using basic business fundamentals – are clubs receiving a commensurate value? Is the custom helping or hindering advancing the Object of Rotary locally and/or internationally?
It may not be possible for R.I. to make an unbiased decision on this custom because such decisions are made by existing and/or former R.I. Associates, many of whom who are receiving, or have received, value from this custom. So why couldn't R.I. do what successful businesses normally do: contract with an unbiased outside firm to survey the clubs to determine if annual themes are delivering anything the clubs perceive as a value? If the survey finds the custom is not delivering what the clubs would perceive as a value, R.I. and its Associates should alter the present business plan so the custom does deliver to clubs a perceived value or the custom should be discontinued.