New Rotary club models enhance connections

Munkhtuul Nyamdorf, from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, checks out the four priorities of Rotary’s new strategic plan in the Future of Rotary Booth during the 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

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.

Learn more about Rotary’s strategic plan

10 thoughts on “New Rotary club models enhance connections

  1. Innovation and flexibility has managed to address some of the reasons directly related to loss of members in traditional clubs. Hopefully with all these changes and Rotaract becoming a full partner, we will start seeing more joining and less leaving. Some who are nostalgic may even start a new club model that goes back to the old days. Classification principle, 52 meetings in a year, regular meeting place with luncheon and formal dress code and emphasis on the 5 avenues of service. That will be interesting. For old time sake, we should have some clubs on that model. As they say, variety is the spice of life!!!


  2. Satellites club are meant for those who have no opportunity to become Rotarians, because they may not be having a rotary club within their vicinity. If at all there is a rotary club, certain individuals may not be able to fulfil their obligations up to the expectations of that particular club.
    To bring such socially responsible individuals into the fold of rotary, traditional clubs can sponsor satelite clubs with minimum 8 members or more. These members will be in the rolls of the sponsor club and their RI dues will be reflected in the SAR of the sponsor club. It is the duty of the sponsor club to collect the dues of the Satelite club members and pay to RI .
    Whenever a Satelite club and its members wishes to convert themselves to an individual rotary club, they are free to detach from the Satelite status of the sponsor club and become a rotary club.


  3. Just like any organization wanting to attract Rotary has to focus in being relevant.Today, wanting to attract a younger generation to take on the torch of “Service above Self” that would be a clear focus on sustainability and the ecological situation the world is in. This encompasses all the six causes that has been set in the past. With a clear focus on the climate and eco system Rotary could, together with the vast amount of insights from the present members, gain tremendous momentum and be a critical part in the solution for the future.


  4. In her interesting piece Jessie Harman draws attention to the changing face of Rotary and highlights differing club models that are emerging.

    However, including Rotaract a a new Rotary club model is misplaced. Although only formalized as a part of Rotary in recent times, Rotaract clubs have existed, operated and usually supported their local Rotary club(s), for many decades now.

    A development I have observed over the years is the decline in size and even the demise of some of the traditional clubs, who have modernize to rapidly Long serving members have felt out of place and then decided to withdraw. Anyway this is not to say that Rotary the world over must adapt to changing times, but often it might be wiser to get a new model club started afresh.


  5. I feel it important that Rotary Clubs partner with like-minded organizations for humanitarian actions, such as the Nobel Peace Prize winning (2017) International Campaign Against Nuclear weapons (ICAN) and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent organizations. We will have a greater impact when we work together. Our UN office needs to become more involved in working to prevent wars and supporting the excellent work of the UN. We can utilize Mediators Beyond Borders Inc. with which Rotary International is already a partner.


  6. My club hosted the district strategic planning training team earlier this year and came up with a plan of what we would do to improve our club in all “Avenues of Service”. The training team did an excellent job, but unfortunately stopped short of telling us “how to move off the dime and execute the changes”.
    Rotary faces the same challenge as all organizations in business today. How do you drive change; who comes up with the specific changes; who leads and drives the changes; who implements them?
    Change is implemented by beginning at the base level. In industry, you implement change by concentrating on the front line workers, who will be the ones to learn, adopt and successfully carry out the new methods and processes needed to successfully bring about the desired outcomes and benefits.
    In other words, focus on the “doers” – individual clubs and their members:
    Make them aware of the need for change – build their desire to bring change, teach them the knowledge of how a change will work, develop their skills and ability to implement the change.
    Organizations change one person at a time, Rotary changes one member at a time


  7. Why can’t we just have “Traditional Clubs” that actually do what Rotary is all about, SERVICE. No were have I seen that our aim is to meet weekly to eat and be entertained. (that is a Social Club) Sure, have a meeting, but only to organize a SERVICE project or discus it’s progress, then get on your bikes and help out at the hands on projects that the club are involved in. That to me is a service club. Emphases on SERVICE and not member entertainment or member meetup place.


  8. Can you share details of Satellite club. Their ruleand rights and more.. Member of
    Rotary club of Kankaria.. Membership no. 9580105


  9. Give specific examples that work.
    Award clubs or individuals that come up with ideas that lead us in service, getting new members, & fund raising


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