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The oldest service group in the US, Rotary International, turns 105 today.  Like many other service groups (such as the Elks, Kiwanis, et al), Rotary is facing challeges caused by demographics – an aging membership – and marketing – how to show value and relevance to younger generations.rotary24-inch

The Press of Atlantic City took a closer look at service groups and their membership in January:

The average age for members of service groups has steadily risen, and is now in the late 50s for most. Since young people have not been joining the groups, there is a fear that the average age will continue to rise and that increased health problems will prevent members from being as effective.

It isn’t that young people are not volunteering, said sociologist Peter Levine, of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. They just do not tend to join organizations such as service clubs, which can require weekly meetings at restaurants; annual dues of at least $100, plus meal costs; and the time commitment of serving on committees.

Instead, young people and parents of young children volunteer for events and charities that they can fit into busy work and family lives.

Rotary has been adjusting to the times with new classes of memberships and different types of clubs that meet less frequently or even online.  The service organization continues to experience strong growth overseas and achieve remarkable things.  Read the entire article here.

At Creating Results, we feel the principles and pursuits of service groups like Rotary are truly ageless – it’s a great place for Gen X, Baby Boomers the (not-so-) Silent Generation, AND Gen Y/younger people.

Todd Harff is Vice-President of the Lake Ridge (VA) service group, and our charity arm, Creating Results in the Community, has partnered with Rotary on many projects.  Most recently we sent a Shelter Box to help people in Haiti.  An added benefit is that Rotarians have been great clients. 

Rotary has 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide.  Learn more about the organization here:

And, Happy Birthday, Rotary!

About The Author

Erin Read

For nearly 13 years, Erin Read spearheaded integrated and digital marketing programs for Creating Results' clients. She directed and co-authored four national studies/eBooks (Photo Finish and three editions of Social, Silver Surfers) and served as the principal blogger for Mature Marketing Matters. Now a consultant to the agency, Erin is leveraging her expertise in marketing to baby boomers and seniors while tackling new challenges. Find her on LinkedIn .