October – November 2023 | Features

Membership Q&A

Membership Q&A

In my role as Rotary Specialist Adviser Team Lead for Membership, I come across many questions which are repeated many times. Here are just a few.

Why do we need 20 members to start a new club when there are plenty of clubs already with less than that?

A club needs 20 to charter, if it drops below that then it can continue to operate. However, in Rotary Great Britain & Ireland, we are able to charter with less than 20. There are certain criteria to fulfil, and clubs are monitored. More details can be obtained from the Specialist Adviser Team.

Are children allowed at Rotary meetings?

There is no reason whatsoever why children cannot be involved in club meetings. Clubs should make sure they have all correct safeguarding in place and their risk assessment is up to date. There are many examples of children attending Rotary clubs. Family involvement is encouraged.

Is it true we can no longer have associated members in our club?

Associated membership was a pilot which has now ended. Some clubs found this to be a useful tool, but some clubs sadly abused the system and it was stopped. However, clubs can make their own rules to have associate members, but they will just not be recorded on a Rotary system at this time. Friends of Rotary is an equally good option.

Can we offer free membership to those in our community who would like to get involved but cannot afford to be a full Rotary member?

To be a member of Rotary International you must pay a subscription. We are a membership organisation of volunteers. There are of course lots of ways that people from our community can get involved in our projects without being full members and this is to be encouraged.

Can members of a passport club carry out events or projects in our club’s area?

Rotarians do good in the world and where they come from should not matter. If something needs doing and a Rotarian steps forward to do it, as fellow Rotarians we should stand by them and ensure the job gets done. Of course, there is an etiquette which should be kept. If a Passport Club wants to do something in a particular area, they should contact the local club, advise them AND ask if they would like to be involved. Territorial Rotary clubs should never stop a project in a local community from being done. Our four-way test is always a great guide for these situations.

Why can’t Rotary recognise that raising subs is making it more difficult to attract people to the organisation?

Rotary is not just another ‘community group’, it is a huge worldwide humanitarian organisation. Many Rotarians are not fully aware of what Rotary does around the world or the amazing opportunities it offers members. All members should explore Rotary fully to engage in the Rotary adventure. If our clubs are an attractive place to be, then £2 per week will seem reasonable payment to new members. That is where we must start; more attractive clubs with a welcoming culture.

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