Thank you for your interest in becoming a Rotarian. Rotary International is an association of individual clubs, with each club operating autonomously. Membership is extremely important to us, and we are always eager to hear from individuals interested in our mission and in joining a Rotary club. The RI universal premise is that the membership of each club constitutes an accurate representation of the business and professional population within the community served.
Rotarians are business, professional, and community leaders who take an active role in their communities while greatly enriching their personal and professional lives. A Rotary club contains a diverse group of professional leaders from the community that the club serves.
As a large and diverse organization, Rotary provides individuals with the power to help those in need. There are countless opportunities to make a difference to those less fortunate than ourselves. Membership in a Rotary club offers a number of benefits including:
Friendship – In an increasingly complex world, Rotary maintains a simple philosophy – make friends in your own community and throughout the world.
Giving back to the community – Through Rotary, service to local and overseas communities is well organized and rewarding. If you like helping others, here is your chance to do something worthwhile and make a real difference.
Fun and entertainment – Rotary is fun… a lot of fun. Every Rotary club and district arranges parties and activities that provide a welcome distraction to a hectic business life.
Business development – Networking opportunities are endless. Rotary consists of a cross-section from every business community and its members come from all walks of life. Rotarians help each other and collectively help others.
Personal growth and development – Membership of Rotary develops leadership, public speaking, social, business, personal and vocational skills as well as improving cultural awareness.
Continued learning – Clubs organize programs and weekly meetings to keep members informed about what is going on in the community, the country, and the world. Each meeting provides an opportunity to listen to different speakers on a variety of current topics.
Travel opportunities – Every Rotarian is welcome – even encouraged – to attend any of the 35,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical regions. This bond creates an instant friendship wherever you are in the world. Many a Rotarian in need of a local doctor, lawyer, hotel, dentist, or other expertise while traveling has found assistance through Rotary.
Through Rotary International’s service programs, a Rotary club can have a significant effect on the quality of life in its community. Rotary Foundation programs offer opportunities to form international partnerships that help people in need worldwide. Over 1.2 million Rotarians in 35,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas make significant contributions to the quality of life at home and around the globe.
To find out more about Rotary’s rich history and the organization’s mission and structure, contact the District Governor or an Area Governor or send an email.
Rotary’s Core Values
Rotary’s core values represent the guiding principles of the organization’s culture, including what guides members’ priorities and actions within the organization. Values are an increasingly important component in strategic planning because they drive the intent and direction of the organization’s leadership.
We believe that our service activities and programs bring about greater world understanding and peace. Service is a major element of our mission. Through the plans and actions of individual clubs, we create a culture of service throughout our organization that provides unparalleled satisfaction for those who serve.
We believe that individual efforts focus on individual needs, but combined efforts serve humanity. The power of combined efforts knows no limitation, multiplies resources, and broadens our lives and perspectives. Fellowship leads to tolerance and transcends racial, national, and other boundaries.
We believe Rotary unifies all people internationally behind the ideal of service. We encourage diversity of vocations within our membership and in our activities and service work. A club that reflects its business and professional community is a club with a key to its future.
We are committed to and expect accountability from our leaders and fellow members, both in the results of our efforts and in the processes we use to accomplish our goals. We adhere to high ethical and professional standards in our work and personal relationships. We are fair and respectful in our interactions, and we conscientiously steward the resources entrusted to us.
We are a global fellowship of individuals who are leaders in their fields of endeavor. We believe in the importance of leadership development and in leadership as a quality of our members. As Rotarians, we are leaders in implementing our core values.
All of these core values are reflected in the Object of Rotary and The Four-Way Test, which we use in our daily lives. They inspire us to foster and support the ideal of service for developing and maintaining high ethical standards in human relations.
Fellowship and Attendance
While there are certain responsibilities that come with membership in Rotary, there also are several benefits. One of the many benefits of Rotary Club membership is being able to travel the world and never miss the fellowship of a weekly meeting. Club members are welcome and encouraged to visit clubs while traveling to make-up the meeting missed back home.
Rotary International provides an online Club Finder tool to locate clubs and meeting times and places worldwide. Rotary District 7610 also maintains a list of club meeting times and places on this web site, under the “Clubs” navigation link.But Rotarians often ask what options exist if there is not a club in the area of travel, or if the member is home but an emergency causes him or her to miss a meeting.One option is to attend a regular meeting of a local Rotaract or Interact club, Rotary Community Corps, or Rotary Fellowship. Attending one of these meetings counts as a make-up.
Another option is to spend time participating in an interactive activity on a Rotary e-club Web site. Rotary International has approved the request for a limited number of clubs to form with virtual or electronic locations. A visit to one of these e-clubs satisfies a club member’s make-up requirement. Please visit our Rotary eClub NOVA or Rotary eClub One for more information.
Additionally, members may make-up by attending a meeting of the board of directors of their club, or by attending a District meeting, such as District Conference, District Assembly/Club Leadership Training Seminar, Presidents Elect Training Seminar, Foundation Seminar, Membership Seminar, or District Installation. Attendance at a Rotary International meeting, such as the International Conference, also counts for make-up credit.For extended absences and for good cause, a member may request a leave of absence from the club’s board of directors. Members whose combined age and years in Rotary total 85 or more, referred to as the “Rule of 85,” may request an exemption from attendance from the club’s board of directors.
Each Active Member not on a leave of absence or whose attendance is not excused should attend or make up at least fifty percent of club’s regular meetings in each half of the Rotary year (July 1 to December 31, and January 1 to June 30), of which half must be at the member’s home club’s meetings. Members should avoid missing more than three consecutive absences without a make up. For a make up meeting to count for an absence, a member must attend the make up within 14 days before or 14 days after the missed meeting and report the make up to the club secretary or attendance officer.
Did you ever wonder why Rotary has classifications? What are classifications supposed to represent? Who and what factors determine what classifications a club may have? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that arise regarding classifications, taken from the most authoritative, written sources available from Rotary International.
Why does Rotary have classifications?
Rotary uses a classification system to establish and maintain a vibrant cross-section or representation of the community’s business, vocational, and professional interests among members and to develop a pool of resources and expertise to successfully implement service projects. This system is based on the founders’ paradigm of choosing cross-representation of each business, profession, and institution within a community. A classification describes either the principal business or the professional service of the organization that the Rotarian works for or the Rotarian’s own activity within the organization.
Does Rotary International maintain a list of classifications?
RI does not maintain a general list of classifications. Due to the ever-changing landscape of professional work and the unique commercial environments in which Rotary clubs are located, Rotary no longer keeps a standard list of classifications on file. Clubs are encouraged to create their own classification lists by using their local Yellow Pages, chamber of commerce, or other business directories. Classifications aren’t rigid and can reflect the many different types of professions and positions that exist in industries. One example would be the classification of lawyer/barrister; this standard classification can be broken down into criminal law, tax law, or intellectual property law.
What are the occupational codes, and how do they differ from classifications?
Rotary International’s occupational codes were created some years ago in the event that Rotary found reason to research the industries represented in its membership. These industries are also used when determining the makeup of RI committees. These broad industry titles should in no way be confused with classifications. Rotary International no longer tracks occupational codes.
Should a club deny membership to a transferring or former Rotary based on a classification limitation?
The classification of a transferring or former member of a club shall not preclude election to active membership even if the election results in club membership temporarily exceeding the classification limits.
What limitations, if any, exist on the election of a member to a classification that is already held by another member?
The club shall not elect a person to active membership from a classification if the club already has five or more members from that classification, unless the club has more than 50 members, in which case the club may elect a person to active membership in a classification so long as it will not result in the classification making up more than 10 percent of the club’s active membership.
What classification does a retired person hold?
Retired persons inducted into active membership in a Rotary club shall use their former profession as their classification, but this will not be counted towards the club’s limit of members in a single classification. Club classification rosters shall not include retired Rotarians.
Do Honorary Members hold classifications?
Honorary members do not hold classifications, but shall be entitled to attend all meetings and enjoy all the other privileges of the club.
How broadly are clubs encouraged to interpret classifications?
While adherence to the classification system is desirable, the Rotary International Board of Directors has agreed that each Rotary club should consider carefully the classification practice and broaden the interpretation of classifications where necessary to meet the modern business and professional environment.
What is a classification survey, and how can I find out what classifications are “open” in the club?
A systematically prepared list of classifications is the logical basis for club growth. RI does not maintain a general list of classifications. To identify relevant business and professional practices within a community, clubs are encouraged to conduct a thorough classification survey. Surveys act as a basis for developing and aggressively undertaking specific, ongoing plans for building and strengthening club membership in order to serve more effectively in all areas of activity. The classification committee of the club is responsible for developing and maintaining an up-to-date classification survey of the community in which the Rotary club is located. Clubs should maintain and use up-to-date classification surveys to develop and strengthen club membership by identifying and recruiting qualified members to classifications that are open. While the club’s classification committee compiles the classification survey, it is the club’s membership committee and board that reviews and determines the classification of all prospective members.
What should the classification survey and the membership of the club reflect?
A club should have in its membership a representative of every recognized business or professional activity in the community insofar as it is possible to obtain such representation in conformity with the principles laid down in the RI constitution, article 5 and the standard Rotary club constitution, article 6. Clubs are encouraged to review the demographics of an area to verify that all respective segments of the population are represented within its membership.