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Clubs reap benefits from flexibility options

2019-20 Rotary International President Mark Daniel Maloney is urging leaders to grow Rotary by creating new Rotary and Rotaract clubs that take advantage of innovative membership models.

In his speech to incoming leaders at the annual training event in San Diego, California, USA, Monday, Maloney said “The first emphasis is to grow Rotary — to grow our service, to grow the impact of our projects, but most importantly, to grow our membership so that we can achieve more."

During the 2016 Council on Legislation, delegates voted to give Rotary clubs more freedom to decide when, where, and how they meet and the types of membership they offer. Clubs that have taken advantage of the new club flexibility options have reported increased membership; greater diversity in age, professions, and experience; and more engaged members. 

Here are some of the ways clubs are staying relevant in their communities. 

  1. Flexible meetings

    Rotary Club of Singapore East, Singapore)

    The Rotary Club of Singapore East replaced two of its monthly meetings with less formal gatherings focusing on service projects and fellowship. 

    These new meetings give Rotaractors and family members the chance to get involved while keeping costs down for the club’s younger members. 

  2. Reduced dues

    (Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., USA)

    Quentin Wodon, president of the club, helped double its membership in six months by adopting a number of changes. One involved adding two new membership categories: one for young professionals, 35 and under, at half the regular dues, and one for spouses or partners, at one-third the cost.

    The club grew from 18 to 36 members and has since reduced its regular dues as well, says Wodon, author of the Rotarian Economist blog.

  3. Corporate membership

    (Rotary Club of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

    Corporate memberships give busy executives the chance to get involved in club projects and activities without committing to regular weekly meetings. The club has 17 corporate members, from six businesses, who take turns attending the club’s meetings. 

    Robert Fisher, the club’s corporate membership chair, says corporate members have given the club access to professional networks and helped expand its expertise. “We believe we can have a significantly greater impact with their involvement,” says Fisher.