How can you make your Rotary club multi-dimensional?

Multi-lifestyle club diagram

A model of the Multi-Lifestyle club approach adopted by the Rotary Club of Harrogate Brigantes’

By Richard Bosworth, a member of the Rotary Club of Harrogate Brigantes, North Yorkshire, England

At the beginning of 2013, I was serving as membership chair of my club when I realized that we needed to do something to slow the loss of membership. Three years later, we have a vibrant and growing multi-dimensional club – we use the term Multi-lifestyle Rotary Club – that is making full use of the digital age and is discovering smarter ways of operating to secure our long-term future. How did we do it, and what do we mean by a multi-lifestyle club?

What I mean is a club that appeals to and is comprised of members of more than one distinct group, who work “together, yet apart.” Currently, we operate two groups, a traditional evening group and a new business development group. The latter meets over breakfast and appeals to younger, enterprising, entrepreneurs and business executives.

Sun and planets model
Each group operates and manages itself to suit its members: the traditional group with a council and committees, the business development group with a small executive team, using smart technology and social media to connect. The two groups are bonded together by their common belief in and practice of the aims, objectives, and values of Rotary, along with a willingness to collaborate.

That is when the real magic happens. You’ll often find members at each other’s meetings.

Having investigated various models of governance, we are now considering a “sun and planets” approach. The “sun” at the center of the club is the board comprising an elected president, secretary, and treasurer, chosen by all the members of the club, plus the chair of each group. The groups themselves are the planets.

How it works
In this model the role of the board is to lead the club and provide strategic direction, strategic leadership, standards, and accountability. In keeping with Rotary International practices, two full club assemblies are planned for each year. The board is charged with creating the conditions for a growing, vibrant, diverse club where both groups operate within the requirements of RI and collaborate to the mutual benefit of all members, their families, and the local community.

What next? This year’s president is from the business development group and more groups are planned.

Do you like our model? What would you think of becoming a multi-lifestyle club?

Join Rotary International President John Germ and Vice-President Jennifer Jones for a Facebook Live chat on 11 August, 10:00 Chicago time, as they discuss club flexibility and what they are excited about this Rotary year.  

8 thoughts on “How can you make your Rotary club multi-dimensional?

  1. A great idea! Our club has ‘reinvented’ itself by reducing meetings to 2 per month with an Eminent Speaker program for the first meeting and a business mentoring session for the second. This has attracted some younger members, but I still feel we need to embrace another dimension to give the younger ones something to ‘sink their teeth into’, rather than expecting them to ‘fit in to the old fellas’ modus operandi. Board meeting tonight – guess what they’re going to hear about!


  2. In November 2014 we started an evening meeting to accommodate prospective members that are unable to attend our regular Lunch meeting. We had difficulty growing our Lunch meeting and with 60% of the Lunch membership Rule of 65 the future was obvious. Thus far we are still experiencing the pains of change. Some Lunch members are resistant to the change but the Sunset meeting is growing and both meeting groups are involved in our Club activities with full cooperation. Life is about change and the secret is to adapt to change in a positive and supporting manner.


    • Hi William,
      Keep the faith, the doubters will eventually come round.

      The key is to keep spelling out the vision and remind everyone about the legacy that is being built on the current one and what it will mean to the next generations.




    • Fair comment Robert however, our goal is not to create another club but breath life into the existing Club. If the original evening group carries on as it is it will no longer be around in about ten years time.

      With our multidimensional club approach we know that the focus/momentum of the Club will swing towards the new group/s and the legacy of the founding members will be sustained plus we will have a bigger stronger club able to have a much great impact in the local community.

      Thanks a for your feed back




  3. Pingback: How can you make your Rotary club multi-dimensional? | The Rotary Club of Carteret

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