Club flexibility FAQ

Does our club have to make these changes?

No. Any Rotary club wishing to take advantage of the flexibility that the Council on Legislation approved can do so by amending its bylaws as permitted by the Standard Rotary Club Constitution. But clubs can also continue to follow their current requirements for meetings, attendance, structure, and categories of membership.

Is it a problem that revising our club's bylaws results in contradictions of the Rotary International Bylaws and the Standard Rotary Club Constitution?

No. Typically, a club's bylaws cannot supersede the Rotary International Bylaws or the Standard Rotary Club Constitution, but provisions were added to both documents at the 2016 Council to allow clubs to do just that for certain sections. A club must approve the exceptions to those specific sections and include them in its bylaws.

How do corporate memberships work?

Your club is free to offer alternative membership types of any kind, as long as new members are counted as individuals — corporate members in this case — rather than the corporations that sponsor their membership. If the members pay RI dues, they will be included in your club's official membership count and receive all the benefits that other active, dues-paying members enjoy.

Your club can have different policies for these members' other financial obligations (club and district dues, meal costs, etc.), attendance requirements, or service expectations, as long as these policies are reflected in the club bylaws.

How do associate memberships work?

Your club can define associate membership as it wishes. Some clubs use associate membership as a trial period to engage interested people. If the associate members see value in the experience, they can join the club. In such cases, the club would report them as active members once they've joined, and the members would then receive all the benefits that other active, dues-paying members enjoy and would be included in the club's membership count.

What's the difference between active and honorary members?

Rotary International defines active members as those who meet the requirements for membership, pay RI dues, are eligible to vote on district matters, and are eligible to hold a club officer position. Honorary membership is used to recognize people who have distinguished themselves by meritorious service and embody Rotary ideals, or those considered friends of Rotary for their support of Rotary's causes. They are exempt from paying RI dues, have no vote in Rotary matters, are not eligible to hold any club office, and are not included in a club's membership numbers. Active members are called Rotarians, while honorary members are called honorary Rotarians.

What are the official requirements for membership?

The only mandatory qualifications for membership are that Rotarians must be adults who have demonstrated good character, integrity, and leadership; have a good reputation in their business, profession, and community; and are willing to make a positive difference in their community and around the world.

Now that Rotary no longer distinguishes between e-clubs and other clubs, are clubs that meet primarily online still called e-clubs?

Yes and no. Rotary no longer distinguishes between clubs that hold face-to-face meetings and clubs that meet online. That's because all clubs now have the option of meeting in person or online, allowing members to attend in-person meetings using applications such as Skype or FaceTime, or switching between any of these formats. However, clubs that identify themselves as e-clubs may keep that word in their names and continue to brand themselves as e-clubs to emphasize that they meet exclusively or primarily online.

Are current Rotaract and Interact e-clubs still considered e-clubs?

The Rotaract and Interact standard club constitutions and bylaws already permit these clubs to meet in person, online, or a combination of both, with the approval of their sponsor Rotary club or clubs. Rotaract and Interact clubs' official names do not include "e-club," but clubs may name and brand themselves as e-clubs to emphasize that they meet exclusively or primarily online.

Because of the age of Interact members, all online activities, such as the club website and social media pages, must be operated in accordance with applicable law and regulations, and sponsor Rotary clubs must obtain written consent of Interactors' parents or legal guardians in advance of Interact participation as necessary.

How could my club benefit from creating a satellite club?

Some clubs create a satellite club to accommodate members' differing schedules. This allows some members of the club to meet at a different time and place than the rest of the club. The benefit is that the club doesn't lose members because of scheduling conflicts. Satellite club members are officially members of their sponsor club, but if membership grows enough, the satellite club can break off and charter as a new club.

Does our club secretary still need to send monthly attendance reports to the district governor?

Although the recent policy changes allow clubs to focus less on attendance and more on engagement, clubs are still required to provide some kind of attendance report to the district governor. The form that report takes will differ from club to club, depending on their attendance rules. It may be more useful for district governors to receive a report that indicates how engaged your members are.

Are we allowed to charge an admission fee for new members?

Yes. However, new members can also be admitted without paying admission fees. Whatever your policy is, be sure your bylaws document it.

If I'm a Rotaract member and a Rotary member, do I have to pay dues to both clubs?

Yes. You would pay the required club or district dues for both clubs and annual Rotary member dues to Rotary International. Rotaract member dues are collected only at the club or district level, not by Rotary International. However, your club has the flexibility to create different membership types for Rotaract members and young professionals. This could include reduced club or district dues for members who belong to both Rotaract and Rotary, as long as the club subsidizes the RI dues for the member.