What is Rotary?

Rotary International is an association of Rotary clubs worldwide. It’s made up of more than 33,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. The members of these autonomous clubs are called Rotarians, and they form a global network of 1.2 million business and professional leaders, all volunteering their time and talents to serve their communities and the world. Individual Rotary clubs, in turn, belong to the global association called Rotary International. Find out more about Rotary’s history and structure.

How do I become a member of Rotary?

If you’re interested in joining a local Rotary club, submit a Prospective Member Form, though individuals must be sponsored or proposed for membership into a club. Rotary International staff will process your information and forward it to local Rotary club leaders. You can also contact a local Rotary club directly. Use the Club Locator to find clubs in your area.

Often, a person being considered for membership is invited by a club member, or sponsor, to attend one or more club meetings to learn more about Rotary. In this case, the sponsor submits the candidate’s name to the club's membership committee.

Find out more about becoming a Rotarian and the responsibilities of membership
Please note that membership in a Rotary club is by invitation only.

What are the qualifications for membership?

Prospective members must

  • Hold (or be retired from) a professional, proprietary, executive, managerial, or community position
  • Be able to meet the club's weekly attendance or community project participation requirements
  • Have demonstrated a commitment to service through personal involvement
  • Live or work within the vicinity of the club or surrounding area
What are the responsibilities of membership?

Members are expected to attend weekly club meetings. They must pay annual dues to their clubs, their Rotary district, and Rotary International, and they’re expected to participate in local or international Rotary club activities or projects. Clubs encourage members to aspire to club leadership or committee roles.

What are the attendance requirements?

An attendance record of 50 percent is required to remain an active Rotarian. Any missed meeting must be made up within 14 days before or after the regular meeting. To accommodate busy schedules, there are various opportunities to make up missed meetings.

For additional attendance information, see article 9 of the Standard Rotary Club Constitution.

How much are dues to Rotary International?

Dues to Rotary International are currently US$25 per half year.

Although we don’t collect information on individual club fees, it’s entirely appropriate to ask about the cost of membership. If you’re interested in joining a particular club, attend a weekly meeting and ask this question. Read more information about dues.

What is the minimum age to be in Rotary?

There is no minimum age to join Rotary. You may be invited to join at any age after you become established in a career and have the time and financial resources to meet all Rotary club membership requirements. If you’re interested in joining a Rotary club, ask members about the time and financial commitments necessary to fulfill membership requirements, and consider whether you can make those commitments.

Are college students eligible for membership?

No. Rotarians have achieved a level of career experience that enables them to bring a specialization to their club, and students haven’t yet reached a level in their professional and personal lives that allows them to fulfill all aspects of Rotary club membership. But undergraduate and graduate students, as well as young adults, may become members of Rotaract clubs.

Is there a way for high school students to get involved?

Yes. Interact is a Rotary-sponsored service club for those ages 12 to 18. Interact clubs give young people an opportunity to participate in fun, meaningful service projects while developing leadership skills and meeting new friends.

How do I locate a club in my area?

Use the Club Locator to search by city or district number.

What is a Rotary e-club?

Rotary e-clubs are Rotary clubs that meet electronically. Like all Rotary clubs, e-clubs meet weekly, perform service projects in local and international communities, support The Rotary Foundation, and enjoy fellowship among members. The key distinction is that an e-club conducts its weekly meetings on a dedicated website. Because e-clubs meet online, members can access the site at their convenience at any point during the week. The flexibility in meeting times offers members with hectic business schedules, physical disabilities, or location constraints the opportunity to be part of a Rotary club. In addition, Rotary e-clubs offer an opportunity for all Rotarians to make up a missed meeting online.

How do I start a new club?

Before trying to start a new club, check the Club Locator to find out whether there are any clubs in your area. If there aren’t, contact your district governor. (For contact information, ask your Club and District Support representative). The district governor decides whether a new club can be created and, if organizing a new club is feasible, can start the process.

Read more about organizing new clubs.

How do I switch to senior active status?

Rotary no longer has a senior active classification. As of the 2001 Council on Legislation, only two membership categories exist: active and honorary. Rotarians who have retired may retain the same classification, but they aren’t counted in the total number of members in a classification.

How do I recommend someone for membership in another club?

If you’re an active member of a Rotary club that is in good standing and know someone suited to Rotary, complete the Membership Referral Form.

I’m moving. How do I transfer my membership to a club in my new area?

All relocating Rotarians are encouraged to seek out clubs in their new location. Because each Rotary club is self-governing, however, membership isn’t transferable. Once you’ve been accepted for membership in a new club, you should resign your membership in your former club, as of your admittance date to your new club. Be sure to use your former membership number so your membership history is retained.

If you’re moving more than 20 miles away and will no longer be a member of your current Rotary club, you can either complete the Rotarian Relocation Formor ask your club secretary to submit the  Membership Referral Form on your behalf.

Read about membership provisions for special leaves of absence in Article 12, Section 2(a)(1) of the Standard Rotary Club Constitution.

Club presidents and secretaries:When processing the Membership Data Form for a transferring member, use the member’s existing membership identification number to retain membership history and avoid duplicate records.

Please be advised that membership is by invitation only and at the discretion of the local Rotary club. Notified clubs are under no obligation to consider any person for membership.

What are my options for making up missed meetings?

Rotarians have various opportunities to make up a missed meeting. Find out more.

Where can I find a new-member induction ceremony?

You can use or adapt any of these induction ceremonies (PDF), submitted by Rotary clubs around the world.

Where can I find officer installation ceremonies?

You can use or adapt any of these sample officer installation ceremonies (PDF).

How do I order membership publications?

You have three ways to get RI publications:

Shop online.

Download free PDF versions. Many membership materials, as well as other RI publications and resources, are offered as free downloads in the download library.

Call or fax Publications Order Services (phone: +1-847-866-4600; fax: +1-847-866-3276). Check the RI Catalog for publication names and item numbers.

Where do I find a list of Rotary classifications?

Because of the ever-changing landscape of professional work and the unique commercial environments in which Rotary clubs are located, Rotary no longer keeps a standard list of classifications on file. Clubs are encouraged to create their own classification lists by using their local phone books, chambers of commerce, or other business directories. Classifications aren’t rigid and can reflect the many types of professions and positions that exist in particular industries. The law classification, for example, canbebroken down into criminal law, tax law, intellectual property law, and other fields.

How I can I get my membership number?

Club members have three ways to get their membership identification number:

Check the address label of your copy of The Rotarianor official Rotary regional magazine. The identification number appearsdirectly above your name.

E-mail RI’s Data Services Department, and ask to have this information faxed or mailed to you.

Ask your club president or secretary.

Please note that RI prohibits giving membership identification numbers over the phone or e-mail.
Club presidents and secretaries: You can get club members’ identification numbers through Member Access. If you’re not already registered, be sure to have your district, club, and membership identification numbers ready. Once you’ve registered, you’ll be able to view your club’s membership records. If you need help, try using the Member Access tutorials.

How do I add or terminate club members?

If you’re a club president or secretary, you can add or terminate members through Member Access. (If you’re not already registered, be sure to have your district, club, and membership identification numbers ready.) Choose the Update Membership Data option. For security and privacy reasons, only club presidents and secretaries (as listed in official RI records) may update club records.

How can I obtain my Rotary Foundation giving history?

You can view your contribution history and make donations to The Rotary Foundation in Member Access. If you’re not already registered with Member Access, it takes only a few minutes. Be sure to have your membership, club, and district identification numbers ready.

How can I track Paul Harris Fellow or Sustaining Member contributions?

If you’re a club president or secretary, you can track contributions through Member Access. (If you’re not already registered, be sure to have your district, club, and membership identification numbers ready.) Choose the View Contributions option. For security and privacy reasons, only district governors and club presidents and secretaries (as listed in official RI records) may update club records.

How do I delete duplicate membership records?

Only RI Data Services can delete duplicate membership records. If someone in your club has a duplicate record, e-mail that person’s full name and membership ID number, along with your club name and ID number, to Data Services and ask to have the duplicate record deleted. You can do this for duplicated member additions or terminations.

I accidentally terminated a member. How do I cancel that action?

You’ll need to reinstate the member’s active status as of the date it was terminated. If that date doesn’t work, enter the next calendar day. Be sure to use the member’s existing membership ID number.
Please be advised that even after you reinstate the member, the termination will appear in your club’s termination list. (Because of database constraints, no record can be deleted from the system.)

Where can I get ideas for strengthening my club’s membership development?

The membership development best practices web page is updated regularly and contains successful ideas submitted by Rotary clubs and districts around the world.The Membership Minute, a bimonthly newsletter, offers ideas for revitalizing club activities and making successful activities even better.

How do I sign up for the Membership Minute newsletter?

Visit the The Membership Minute page and enter your e-mail address in the "Subscribe" box to the left of the page.

How do I apply for a scholarship?

Since 1947, Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships have given more than 41,000 men and womenthe opportunity to study abroad. Although the program will come to an end in 2013, new scholarship opportunities through the Foundation’s district and global grants will give Rotarians greater flexibility to sponsor scholars. Want to learn more? Contact your local Rotary club.

If I’m not a Rotary club member, can I still help out with service projects?

Yes! You can offer to assist any Rotary club with its local service projects. Use our Club Locator to find a club in your area.

How many clubs are there in Rotary?

Rotary more than33,000 Rotary clubs worldwide.

How many members are there worldwide?

There are more than 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide.

Where can I get the most up-to-date membership information?

Rotary International posts monthly membership figureson the Membership Resources page.

E-mail us with questions about retention and recruitment techniques. If you need additional information, contact your Club and District Support representative.