The Rotary Club is the basic unit of Rotary activity, and each club determines its own membership. Clubs are limited to a single club per city, municipality or town. Rotary Clubs are known as Rotarians. Each club meets weekly, usually at a mealtime on a weekday in a regular location, when Rotarians can discuss club business and hear from guest speakers. Each club also conducts various service projects within its local community, and participates in special projects involving other clubs in the local district.
Rotary International (also known as the Rotary Club) is an international service club whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. It is a secular organization open to all persons regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference.
Rotary’s primary motto is “Service above Self”.
The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise:
1. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
2. High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
3. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business and community life;
4. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
This objective is set against the “Rotary 4-Way Test”, used to see if a planned action is compatible with the Rotarian spirit.
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Each club elects its own president and officers among its active members for a one year term. The governing body of the club is the Club Board, consisting of the club president (who serves as the Board chairman), a president-elect, club secretary, club treasurer, and several Club Board directors. In the majority of clubs, the immediate past president is also a member of the Board. The president usually appoints the directors to serve as chairs of the major club committees, including those responsible for club service, vocational service, community service, youth service, and international service.
According to its constitutions (“Charters”), Rotary defines itself as a non-partisan, non-sectarian organization. It is open to business and professional leaders of all ages (18 and upwards) and economic status.
One can contact a Rotary club to inquire about membership but can join a rotary club only if invited; there is no provisional to join without an invitation as each prospective Rotarian requires a sponsor who is an existing Rotarian. Some clubs, though not all, have exclusivist membership criteria: reputation and business or professional leadership may be a specific evaluation criterion for issuing invitations to join, and representation from a specific profession or business may be limited to a percentage of a specific club’s membership.
For more information, go to www.rotary.org.