Starting a new Rotaract Club

1. The "Starter" meeting:

This is a meeting between the person/people (the A-Team) who is/are championing the idea of having a Rotary Club officially sponsor a Rotaract Club in that community and at least 1 representative of that Rotary Club (preferably someone interested in being the Rotary Liaison).  The meeting is held in a relatively informal setting and is an opportunity for the A-Team to lay out the nuts and bolts of how to go about getting a club started.

The objectives for the meeting are to convince the Rotarian that his/her club should sponsor a Rotaract Club, an understanding of what that commitment will entail; identification of the Rotary/Rotaract liaison; and the identification of potential ´core´ leaders.  A positive outcome of this meeting will be an invitation to the A-Team to be the guest speakers at the next convenient regular Rotary meeting.

2. Rotary Program:

Ideally this should occur no more than 2 weeks after the "Starter" meeting. It is a ´selling´ opportunity in which the A-Team (and any ´core´ leaders already identified) and the Rotary Liaison gets the Rotary Club excited about the concept of their OWN Rotaract Club.  It should be professional, concise and very much a ´teaser´.  There is no need to detail the nuts and bolts - what is needed is to encourage ´buy in´.  The objectives are to convince enough of the club to agree to the idea that the Rotary Board can get approval to go ahead with the organizational plan and to get an undertaking from the Rotarians that they are individually going to support the fledgling club.  The ´stinger in the tail´ should be telling them once they indicate their agreement that every one of them is therefore responsible for providing their President with the names of at least two (2) people aged 18-30 who they know that will make good Rotaractors - and that it becomes their responsibility to ensure that at least one of the people they name becomes a member or to continue providing names until one does.

These names can be family members, friends, colleagues, employees etc.  A positive outcome will be a firm Rotary decision to charter and an agreement to provide the names within 2 weeks of this meeting.  NOTE:  Once the Board has approved the idea, the Liaison should immediately initiate the Charter Administration process and buy the manuals and badges for 15-20 members.

3. ´Gathering´ phase:

This is the period during which the Rotary Liaison (with decreasing levels of assistance from the A-Team) and any already-identified core leaders contact prospective members to invite them to an "info" gathering to learn more about the idea of Rotaract.  Apart from the names provided by the Rotary members, other sources of potential members are: returned exchange students; former RYLA students; former Interact members; friends; family; colleagues; employees; college student bodies; church groups etc.  Apart from the direct contacts this is also the phase at which flyers about the interest meeting can be posted on community boards; public places and announcements placed in the local media.  The date for the gathering should be no more than 2 weeks after the Rotary Board gives its approval.  A successful outcome of this phase will be to get undertakings from at least 20 potential members to attend the "info" gathering.  A secondary objective of this phase is to attempt to identify which of the prospective members may be willing/able to assume leadership roles within the Rotaract Club and to invite them to the ´core´ meeting.

4. ´Core´ meeting:

Normally held at the home or business of the Rotary Liaison one week prior to the "Info" meeting being held (or sometimes at the home of one of the ´core´).  This meeting is VERY informal and social - an opportunity for the Liaison and the ´core´ to get to know each other and plan the logistics of the remainder of the Charter process.  Objectives for this meeting are to get to know each other better; to plan a structured agenda for the "info" meeting and assign responsibilities for: setting up the meeting venue, snacks and drinks, welcoming the prospective members, and reminders to the prospective members about the meeting; decide on a regular meeting venue for the club; and decide tentatively on meeting frequency.  This discussion should be led by the Liaison.  Indications of success in this meeting include a decision to get together on a purely social basis between this meeting and the ´info´ one; an understanding of the way forward; and the emergence of leaders from within the ´core´.

5. ´Info´ gathering:

Normally held at a well-known central community location, the Liaison´s home/business; or the home/business of a ´core´ member this meeting should be held no more than 2 weeks after the Rotary Board gives its approval.  It is a gathering of all the interested prospective members and the liaison.

Although it should be relaxed and social there should be a structured part of the gathering where the liaison, the A-Team, visiting Rotaractors and even members of the ´core´ sell the concept of Rotaract to the prospective members.  Objectives at this meeting are to introduce them all to Rotaract and to get them excited enough about being members to commit to being inducted as Charter Members; to obtain ´buy-in´ on their part by having them agree to begin sourcing new potential members immediately; and to plan the Charter Meeting date and details.

6. The Charter meeting:

This should be a formal function (normally but not necessarily) held at the regular meeting venue.  All prospective members should be present with families etc, and the Rotarians and spouses should be on hand too.  The DRR if one exists in the district, the DG and the DRChair should also be on hand.  Members of the media should be invited and the meeting should be run by the Liaison.  The meeting should include a speech by the DG and also by the Rotary Club President; the formal induction of the members and the presentation of their Rotaract Badges; the "Official" handover of the Charter from the DG/Rotary President to the Liaison and new members; and group photographs.  It should not last long and should include snacks and drinks afterwards.

Thereafter the Club should meet and elect officer and begin projects!