Members' Newsletter
Council on Legislation 2016

On 1st January 2011, Rotary International (RI) wrote to every club offering the opportunity to test new models of Rotary club membership by participating in innovative pilot programmes authorised by the RI Board of Directors. Numbers of participating clubs were limited.

The programmes for this pilot scheme began on 1st July 2011 and were extended to run until 30th June 2017. In Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI), a number of clubs applied and a few were selected to take part.

However, the RIBI General Council 2011/12 decided that any club might, with the agreement of the District Governor, apply to run one of the models outside the official RI scheme and within an RIBI Pilot Programme. A number of clubs have been testing innovation and flexibility, Associate Membership and Corporate Membership. Satellite clubs, which initially were a pilot programme, became part of the RI constitution in 2013.

The Council on Legislation (CoL) met in April 2016 and a number of Rotary policies were revised. As a result of this, changes will be made to the RIBI Standard Club Constitution and the amended version will be available soon.

Over the past 15 years, Rotary has carried out pilot programmes which have explored innovations in membership, classification, and the club experience. Consistently, in research and in the experiences of members, RI has found that when clubs have more freedom to determine how they hold their meetings, who they invite to membership, and what defines engagement, the club is more vibrant and able to grow. Although the pilot programmes in RIBI have not been formally assessed, feedback confirms RI findings.

The purpose of the RIBI Pilot Programmes was to enable any club to try new ways of operating in relation to types of membership and ways of organising within the club.

As a result of the greater freedoms which the RI Board and CoL have agreed, RI concluded the use of pilots on 30th June 2016. It is, therefore, appropriate that RIBI concludes the use of pilot programmes as of the same date.

Most of the CoL 2016 enactments will be promulgated through changes to the RIBI Standard Club Constitution.

In addition, an Article will empower clubs to adopt by-laws not in the general constitutional rules, permitting them to:

• Determine when and how often the club meets, provided that it must meet twice per month.

• Choose to meet in person or online.

• Choose to replace a traditional meeting with a project or social event.

• Set their own attendance requirements.

• Modify or eliminate policies for non-attendance.

The modifications which clubs make may be more or less stringent than Rotary policies. If your club chooses to use this flexibility you must adopt your own specific rules by amending your club by-laws. There needs to be clarity for all members and prospective members about club meeting arrangements and membership requirements.

A further area where clubs will be empowered to adopt their own rules is the types of membership available within their own club. Rotary continues to recognise two types of membership; active and honorary. However, clubs may offer additional types of membership such as associate, corporate or family, creating alternative financial, attendance and service expectations.

However, for these people to be identified as members of Rotary, clubs need to record them as active members on the database and pay RIBI (RI) dues. If your club chooses to use this flexibility, you must adopt your own specific rules on membership types by amending your club by-laws.

Whilst it is for clubs to adopt the types of membership they wish, you may wish to consult district officials regarding district fee structure in relation to associate, corporate and family membership.

All clubs are free to adopt any of the options outlined in this paper, but clubs can choose to remain as they are.

If you have any queries please contact Cath Chorley, Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Membership Chair 2016/17

Telephone: 01383 823578
Mobile: 07976 888619


About this newsletter

This newsletter is sent to over 39,000 members, honorary members and Rotaract Club Presidents within Great Britain and Ireland who have a valid email address on the Rotary International (RI) database. If Club Secretaries are aware of members with an email address who are not on the RI database, please add their details.