Membership development is comprised of three components: recruitment of new members, retention of existing members, and the organization of new clubs (extension). To attract more qualified persons to accept membership in clubs and reduce losses in club membership, clubs should make full and purposeful use of the existing provisions for internal extension; maintain and enhance the services to their communities; and take action which will effectively involve and hold the interest of individual members.

The following are considered major factors in achieving positive growth in membership:

1.        pre-eminently, strong sustained presidential encouragement and support;

2.        a well-designed program for new members that includes orientation, induction and, most important, assimilation into or involvement in club activities;

3.        suitable competition among and recognition for sponsors of new members;

4.        retention of existing members with suitable recognition of growing clubs and growth within districts by the president and governors each year;

5.        reasonable costs of membership; and adequate and attractive publicity for Rotary that stresses both Rotaryís service to the community and the benefits of Rotary club membership to Rotarians and their families.

As a means of attracting additional qualified persons to accept membership in Rotary clubs and of reducing losses in membership, clubs should:

1.        make full and purposeful use of the existing provisions for membership growth;

2.        keep their services to their communities fully attuned to their needs, and strive constantly to make them more meaningful;

3.        take club action which will effectively involve and hold the interest of each individual member.


1.        each club needs to examine its membership growth patterns, consider whether it is satisfied with its achievements, then take steps to achieve sound growth;

2.        governors and others should work with clubs that need assistance in achieving better growth and address the reasons for lack of membership growth;

3.        when a Rotarian resigns from a club due to a change in residence or employment, the former club may recommend such person for membership in one or more clubs in the new community. Clubs in the new community should take the initiative to contact such former Rotarian and assess whether such former member is interested in club membership.

In order for a club to be fully relevant and responsive to its community, it is important and necessary that the club include in its membership all fully qualified prospective members located within its locality. It is inappropriate and inconsistent with the principles of Rotary for any club to establish arbitrary limits on the number of members in the club or to fail to increase its membership as a result of apathy or lack of information or understanding as to the pattern of growth in the club or the procedures for proposing and assimilating new members.

Clubs should continue to be encouraged to maintain and use up-to-date classification  surveys  as  a  basis for developing and aggressively undertaking plans to build and strengthen club membership to serve more effectively in all areas of activity.

Clubs should conduct frequent surveys of worthwhile services in the community which should be represented in the club, and develop in conjunction therewith a permanent and current record of classifications. Surveys act as a basis for developing and aggressively undertaking specific, continuing plans for building and strengthening club membership in order to serve more effectively in all areas of activity.

It is important that each club establish and maintain a membership growth pattern which will result in an appropriate net growth in the number of members. Each club should have a positive attitude toward membership growth, recognizing that an increase in membership should not decrease the quality of membership in the club. Membership growth should always be the result of a club electing fully qualified members who can be expected to contribute to the furtherance of the program of Rotary.

Inherent in the purpose of Rotary is the acceptance by individuals of their responsibility for the personal application of the ideal of service. It is important that individual Rotarians recognize that this responsibility includes an obligation on their parts to share Rotary with others and to help extend Rotary through proposing qualified persons for membership.

Each club is encouraged to adhere to the classification and membership principles of Rotary to correct, as opportunities permit, any irregular classification or membership that may exist in the club. Each club is further encouraged to discover ways and means of strengthening the club through projects which attract new members and which help current members become better Rotarians.

Balanced Membership

Classifications and Balanced Membership

It is vital that a club have a well-balanced membership in which no business or professional group predominates. The number of active members in the same classification should not exceed 10 percent of the total number of active members in the club. Unusual conditions within the locality in which the club is located may warrant a larger percentage, but the principle of a well-balanced membership should be maintained. In older clubs where the existing filled classifications are not in balance, an effort should be made to achieve a well-balanced membership.

Diversified Membership

Clubs are encouraged to develop a membership that is fully reflective of the business and professional community it serves. Clubs shall be formed only where the membership can be principally composed of business or professional persons who are indigenous to the locality or who represent the permanent, established residential, business or professional life of the community concerned.

Membership of Younger Persons

Clubs should remember the importance of seeking out younger persons, including past Rotaractors, who are qualified for membership. Clubs are also encouraged to find ways and means of increasing the appeal of membership to the growing number of young men and women who are occupying positions of responsibility in businesses and professions.

Rotary International Membership Coordinators

The purpose of the Rotary International Membership Coordinator program is to provide a viable, long-term, strategic approach to promoting membership development by establishing a network of well-trained Rotarians who are knowledgeable about membership development strategies and techniques, to support districts and clubs in achieving membership growth.

Prohibition of Mandatory Contributions to The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation was developed on the basis of voluntary contributions. Reference to contributions to the Foundation as a condition of membership, or any reference implying such condition of membership, shall not appear on the membership application card. Any club bylaw that makes contributions to the Foundation a condition of membership is prohibited. Any reference to such contributions on membership identification cards is not authorized.

Attracting New Members to Rotary Through Public Relations

Public relations is important in attracting new members to Rotary and in retaining present members. Effective public relations should be emphasized to Rotary clubs and, in particular, to club membership development committees.

Rotary clubs should:

1.        utilize public relations to increase the appeal of Rotary to the growing number of young persons who are occupying positions of responsibility in businesses and professions;

2.        publicize appropriate weekly club programs that demonstrate the Object of Rotary;

3.        adopt more sharply focused activities that will have a greater public relations impact.

 Prospective Membersí Attendance at Club Meetings

 Clubs should invite a prospective member to several regular meetings before the prospective member is asked to sign an application card.

 Induction of New Members

 Clubs are encouraged to hold a ceremony of induction for new members. It is recommended that each club develop its own procedures for a dignified and meaningful induction ceremony since there is no standard or uniform induction program.

 Clubs are also encouraged to develop a strong membership information program that educates the prospective Rotarian on the benefits and responsibilities of being a Rotarian before the member is inducted. RIís Web site ( provides more information on the three new member stages: information, invitation, and induction.