MEMBERSHIP by Shirley Campbell, Membership Committee
Rotary is the ethical motivating force for service through fellowship among the members of the world’s first service club organisation which was born from a simple idea by a young man, Paul Harris, who found himself lonely in a big city.  Rotary’s impact starts with its members — people like us who want to be part of making the world a better place. At club meetings in communities across the globe, members come together to strengthen their connections to friends and neighbours and their commitment to improving lives far and wide.  Rotary members are connected with a diverse group of professionals who share their drive to give back to their communities. Through regular meetings and events, they:
  • Discuss a community’s needs and develop creative ways to meet them
  • Connect with other leaders who are changing the world
  • Expand leadership and professional skills
  • Catch up with good friends and meet new ones
Club members are asked to:
  • Pay club dues
  • Attend meetings and events
  • Use their professional skills and talents to make a difference
When representatives from Rotary districts around the world met in 2016, one of the changes they made was the approval of the types of Membership being offered which clubs are free to use because in some parts of the world membership is declining and the average age is increasing.
It has been discovered that clubs that have more freedom are more vibrant and more able to grow. Limitations on how clubs conducted their meetings were eliminated as was the recognition that club health is not determined only by attendance.  Clubs are free to offer alternative membership of any kind, however Bylaws must be amended to reflect changes.
Some of the ways to implement the new options for membership flexibility recently approved are:
  • Change your meeting schedule – the day and time can be changed as long as the club meets twice a month.
  • Vary the meeting format – members can meet in person or online or a combination of both.
  • Attendance requirements can be relaxed, members can be encouraged to give their time in different ways.                                                                                                                                                     
  • Different types of membership such as family, junior or corporate can be offered. However they will only be considered active and counted in the club’s membership if they pay RI dues.
  • Rotaractors can be invited to be members of the club – fees can be reduced and the attendance policy can be relaxed to accommodate them. These must also be reflected in the club’s bylaws. Those who meet the qualifications can join a Rotary club while remaining Rotaract members.
  • Count service projects or social events as meetings.
Make sure your membership lead’s experience with Rotary is a good one.
• Follow up promptly.
• Find out what the prospective member is looking for.
• Invite the potential member to a service project, club meeting, or other event.