The bylaws of Rotary clearly outline the procedure for a prospective member to be proposed for Rotary club membership. The "proposer" is the key person in the growth and advancement of Rotary. Without a sponsor, an individual will never have the opportunity to become a Rotarian. The task of the proposer should not end merely by submitting a name to the club secretary or membership committee. Rotary has not established formal responsibilities for proposers or sponsors, however, by custom and tradition these procedures are recommended in many clubs. The sponsor should:

1.  Invite a prospective member to several meetings prior to proposing the individual for membership. 

2.  Accompany the prospective new member to one or more orientation/informational meetings.

3.  Introduce the new member to other club members each week for the first month.

4.  Invite the new member to accompany the sponsor to neighboring clubs for the first make-up meeting to learn the process and observe the spirit of fellowship.

5.  Ask the new member and spouse to accompany the sponsor to the club's social activities, dinners or other special occasions.

6.  Urge the new member and spouse to attend the district conference with the sponsor.

7.  Serve as a special friend to assure that the new member becomes an active Rotarian. When the proposer follows these guidelines, Rotary becomes stronger with each new member.

Meeting Potential New Members

How do people meet new members? We usually meet potential members through someone else, normally a person who is not himself “zapped” with the spirit of Rotary. These potential members have already started their journey through Service Above Self, or they would not have been suggested to you. They are already extraordinary people, imbued with the right attitude, just looking for a place to concentrate and refine their energies aimed at helping others.

We are ambassadors to our communities. We already see what Rotary is, but it’s probably true to say that most of us didn’t really see Rotary until after we started in it. That’s the way it is with the potential members—mostly, they know what Rotary is; they aren’t caught by surprise. It’s just that they can’t pay a lot of attention to us while they’re on the outside looking in.

These potentials are out there in the world, and they’re mostly doing their share of volunteering already. But the world doesn’t recognize individual effort, mostly. Mostly, what people notice are the coordinated actions of organizations, because it’s only then that enough of a stir can be engendered that might get someone’s attention. Yet, to everyone who is the recipient of individual attention, a public-spirited citizen is just as important as a large, seemingly important organization.

Our potential members are heroes already; and they aren’t recognized for what they do. These people are already “zapped;” they just don’t know it. Through Rotary, these people can know true clarity of purpose. They can gain relationships with Rotarians who share their values and who will appreciate their efforts.

But potential members and Rotarians will never meet if not for others we know in our daily activities. It’s not a big step to say to friends, “Let me know if you ever spot someone you think might make a good Rotarian.”