Becoming a Rotarian


Membership is vital to a Rotary club's operations, and an important component of club service is to enlarge the club with enthusiastic and service-minded new members.

Prospective members must actively hold — or be retired from — a professional, proprietary, executive or managerial position.
They must have the desire and ability to serve and to meet the club's attendance requirements for its weekly meetings.
In addition, a prospective member must either live or work within the territorial limits of the club or an adjoining club, or within the corporate limits of the city in which the club is located. A person whose business and residence are in communities not served by Rotary may be considered for membership by a club in an immediately adjacent community.

An important distinction between Rotary and other organizations is that membership in Rotary is by invitation. The club's classification committee maintains a list of the types of businesses and professions in its community and seeks candidates to fill classifications not already held by an active member of the club. (Examples of classifications: High Schools; Universities; Eye Surgery; Tires — Distributing; Tires — Retailing; Dramatic Arts; law — civil.) In this manner, a club is assured it includes a significant cross section of its community's vocational life, and has the widest possible resources and expertise for its service programs and projects.

The Membership Process

In most instances, a person being considered for membership is invited by a member/sponsor to attend one or more club meetings to learn more about Rotary. The sponsor may then submit the name of the candidate to the membership committee to begin the evaluation process. Others who are interested in membership, but don't know any Rotarians, can contact their local club directly.

If the local Rotary club maintains an office, it may be listed in the white pages of the telephone directory under "Rotary." Otherwise the local chamber of commerces should be able to provide information. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or similar organization. Often, there will be a Rotarian on staff. If not, the Chamber should be able to provide information about the local Rotary club.




Membership in a Rotary club is by invitation and was based on the founders' paradigm of choosing one representative of each business, profession and institution in the community. What is called the "classification principle" is used to ensure that the members of a club comprise a cross section of their community's business and professional life.

A Rotarian's classification describes either the principal business or professional service of the organization that he or she works for or the individual Rotarian's own activity within the organization. The classification is determined by activities or services to society rather than by the position held by the particular individual. In other words, if a person is president of a bank, he or she is not classified as "bank president" but under the classification "banking."..The classification principle fosters a fellowship for service based on diversity of interest, and seeks to prevent the predominance in the club of any one group.

When a person becomes an active member of a Rotary clubs, it is said that a the member has been "loaned" a classification. He or she may propose one additional active member in that classification. On completing five, ten or fifteen years of service, depending on the individual's age, he or she becomes a "senior active" member and their classification is released to enable another person to join the club.