By Jessie Harman, chair of the Rotary International Membership Committee and a member of the Rotary Club of Wendouree Breakfast, Victoria, Australia
Rotary’s new strategic plan is underpinned by four key priorities – to increase our impact, expand our reach, enhance participant engagement, and increase our ability to adapt. The emergence of new club models is evidence that Rotary clubs and districts are working actively to advance these priorities.
These new club models represent an opportunity to connect with a more diverse group of individuals – particularly those who are unable or unwilling to join our traditional clubs. While new club models have been emerging for some time, the 2016 Council on Legislation decision to promote flexibility and innovation has arguably accelerated their development.
At the present time, it’s possible to recognize at least seven different types of clubs:
- Traditional clubs – at the heart of Rotary: a group of professionals and aspiring leaders who meet regularly for service, connections and personal growth
- Satellite clubs – sponsored by a traditional club, but with their own meetings, projects, bylaws and board
- E-Clubs – that meet exclusively online
- Passport clubs – that allow members to attend other Rotary club meetings and service projects, so long as they attend a specified number of meetings in their own club
- Corporate clubs – whose members are employed by the same employer, but who have different roles in their workplace
- Cause-based clubs – whose members share a passion for a particular cause and whose service projects and activities center around that cause, and
- Rotaract clubs – sponsored by Rotary clubs, whose members are aged between 18 and 30 and who meet together for service, friendship, and connections
Amid this landscape there are also hybrids of these types – adding further to the diversity of Rotary, and there can be little doubt that new club models will continue to emerge – including the possibility of a model of participation which is not club-based.
Development of new club models and new ways to engage with Rotary is a healthy sign – indeed some would say a critical ingredient – of our ongoing sustainability and success. Our challenge is to continue to evolve – to meet the needs of our members and our communities and to ensure Rotary stays relevant, innovative,and engaging long into the future.