Rotary International is the world's first service-club organization. With more than 1.2 million members, Rotarians serve their communities through volunteer efforts. Its members are a network of business and professional leaders are devoted to the Rotary's motto, "Service Above Self." Prospective members can apply through a local Rotary Club or can be invited to join by a current member.
Becoming a Member
New Rotary members must be sponsored or invited to join by a current member. The Rotary website has a prospective-member form available, which once completed, will be forwarded to a local club. Contacting a local club directly is another option to be considered as a member. A club locator is available on the Rotary website.
According to the Rotary, prospective members must hold (or be retired from) a professional, proprietary, executive, managerial, or community position; have demonstrated a commitment to service through personal involvement; be able to meet the club's weekly attendance or community project-participation requirements, and live or work within the vicinity of the club or surrounding area. Rotary Clubs also seek to promote diversity in their membership by seeking out members from a variety of races, professions and ages.
Responsibilities of Members
Rotarians must, as of 2010, pay annual dues of $24.50 every six months ($49 per year) to Rotary International as well as any dues required by their local club and club district. Members are expected to attend weekly club meetings, activities and projects. Members are required to attend at least 50 percent of the weekly meetings to remain an active member. Rotary Clubs offer opportunities for members to attend other events in lieu of the weekly meeting should scheduling conflicts arise.
Rotary Clubs do not specify an age requirement, although members must have established careers. Members must also have the time and financial resources to meet Rotary's requirements. College students are not able to join because they have not achieved the career levels expected of members. Students, including high school and college students, can take part in Rotary's youth and student programs, such as Rotaract and Interact.
Rotary members are expected and encouraged to recruit new members to join as a way to keep their Rotary Club strong and active. Members can bring guests to meetings and service projects as a way to introduce Rotary activities to new people.
Becky Salmela Haase has written professionally for newspapers, magazines and websites since 2004. She began her career writing for the University of Wisconsin-Madison "Daily Cardinal," the "Oregon Observer" and "ANEW/Brava" magazine. Haase has a bachelor's degree in international relations from the George Washington University, and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.