Extending the Rotary Footprint

As with all RIBI Districts, the ability to maintain our service activities faces the challenge of a membership defined by its older age demographic and a rapidly changing world of increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. The question for all clubs is to be innovative and flexible in meeting the challenges they face. Recruiting a younger demographic is obstructed by the 20th Century organisational structures and operational processes that importantly define ‘Rotary’ for much of its current membership. All clubs will change, whether they promote that change or simply continue as they are: options exist however that allow all clubs to extend the Rotary Footprint and create new membership models more appropriate to a mid-21st Century organisation.

Given the demographics of current membership, increasing the number of active and involved Rotarians in existing clubs will not alone achieve the necessary increase in overall membership. To meet this challenge a number of flexible approaches have been developed:

  • New Club Formation. The traditional route to extend membership and our reach into the community is by creating a completely new club under the sponsorship of a parent club.
  • Satellite Group. A group of new or existing members of a club meeting at a different place and time and in a different style but in every other respect remaining an integral part of the parent club.
  • Virtual Attendance. Where technology permits members can attend meeting using virtual links. This type of attendance can be when the whole membership meets on-line (formerly known as an E-Club) or where just one or 2 members join a meeting from a remote location
  • Meeting Frequency. Whereas previously constitutionally clubs were required to meet weekly at a fixed time and place, there is now flexibility for clubs to vary their meeting schedule provided there are 2 meeting in a month.
  • Contemporary Rotaract. Acknowledging the challenges of maintaining the traditionally high level of Rotary service to 2030 and beyond contemporary Rotaract is designed to recruit a new generation of Rotarians. 18-30 Year old Rotaractors integrated with, and working alongside, Rotarians are prepared for transfer into Rotary. Contemporary Rotaract provides its members with Rotary and vocational training and encourages its future Rotarians to embrace a more fluid organisational structure with proactive collaboration linked to image and appropriate for a 21st Century service organisation.

Rotaract should continue the experience of giving service gained from the progression of young people through RotaKids and Interact. With the flexibility now available, sponsor clubs can facilitate the transition from Rotaract into full membership by providing attractive membership options to Rotaractors as they approach the leaving age of 30.

Rotary Alumni. A fruitful source of member attraction should be from those who have gained knowledge of Rotary through participation in our programme and activities or by observing others taking part. Thus, the many young people involved in our activities, their parents, grandparents and teachers could all be potential members. They do need to be asked.

For support in any of these areas please contact the appropriate specialist as indicated in the Members Handbook, Your Area’s Membership Support or Graham Martin (details in handbook).  Or you can contact us at membership@rotary1070.org.