What are the benefits of membership in a Rotary club?

Membership in a Rotary club is typified by the motto “Service Above Self” but offers a number of benefits, including:

  • Effecting positive change within the community.
  • Developing community leadership skills.
  • Gaining a deeper understanding of local community issues and projects through weekly program presenters.
  • Gaining an understanding of—and having an impact on—community and international issues.
  • Developing relationships between community and business leaders.

Through Rotary’s various service programs, a Rotary club can have a significant effect on the quality of life in its community. If you are looking to promote your business or yourself, there are a number of other clubs that would better serve that need.

What are the requirements for membership in a Rotary club?

An important distinction between Rotary and other organizations is that membership in Rotary is by invitation. Prospective members must:

  • Hold—or be retired from—a professional, proprietary, executive, or managerial position, paid or voluntary.
  • Meet the dues and fundraising goals and obligations of the club.
  • Have the capacity to meet the club’s weekly attendance or community project participation requirements.
  • Have the desire and willingness to commit to represent Rotary in the standards identified in “Four-Way test” of Rotary.
  • Live or work within the locality of the club or the surrounding area and commit to fully participate in bettering the community through Rotary.

What is an “active” member?

The Rotary Club of Fairhope defines an active member as a Rotarian who:

  1. Attends meetings regularly, and
  2. Is in good financial standing with the club. This means having paid when due and payable:
    1. All meeting fees and membership dues including those assessed by RI as well as the club.
    2. All club commitments to fundraising projects such as reselling or gifting the member’s annual fundraiser tickets.
    3. All other assessed fees and obligations including PolioPlus, EREY, etc.
  3. Supports the club through the giving of time to club-sponsored community service projects and fundraisers.
  4. Supports the local Rotary Foundation whenever possible through work or individual donations.

What are the financial requirements of membership in the Rotary Club of Fairhope?

Currently, quarterly membership dues are $155. Over the course of the year, this includes RI, district, and club dues, a $100 contribution to The Rotary Foundation of R.I., $200 for tickets to the May steak cookoff, the club’s annual fundraiser, and $100 toward the Club Reserve Fund. This results in a total annual cost of $620, but if cookoff tickets are sold (rather than used or given away), the member can recover their $200 cost, reducing the financial commitment to $420, and the $100 donation to The Rotary Foundation is a tax-deductible expense. Meals are currently charged (in arrears) at a cost of $15. In addition, there is a weekly fundraising raffle to which most members “donate” at least $1 a week, and there are occasional voluntary collections for other causes. For more detail about dues amounts (which, for the first year of membership, vary depending on the time of joining), see this document.

What other requirements are there?

As noted above, each member is required to sell or buy five tickets to the club’s primary fundraiser, the Rotary Club of Fairhope International Steak Competition (“steak cookoff”), which is held annually on the second Friday in May. In addition, each member is expected to contribute to the fundraiser by helping to set up or break down for the event, serving food, taking tickets, or in some other capacity. Additional requirements of membership include the following:

  • Attendance: Traditionally, one of the few requirements imposed by Rotary International (not just the club) was 50% attendance. A member was required to attend or “make up” at least 50% of the regular weekly meetings in each six-month period. A missed meeting could be “made up” by attending a meeting of any other Rotary club anywhere in the world, by attending board or committee meetings or meetings of our Interact Club at Fairhope High School, or by participating in club-sponsored events. Makeups must be made within two weeks before or after the missed club meeting. For information on nearby makeup opportunities, see our Makeups page. In keeping with new RI policy, our club no longer has an attendance requirement, but many members still make an effort to maintain high (even 100%) attendance. Since regular attendance facilitates “the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service,” regular attendance is still strongly encouraged.
  • New Member Orientation: For 25 years the club had a unique and well-regarded orientation program for new members, commonly called the “College of Rotary Knowledge.” The “New Members Committee” met five times, usually at two-week intervals over the course of nine weeks. Meetings were typically held at 7 a.m. and lasted about an hour and a half. The class introduced new members to the history, principles, and activities of Rotary, including the special features of our club. All new members (even those who have previously belonged to other Rotary clubs) were required to attend. The content of these sessions can be found here. Beginning in 2017, the new member orientation was reduced to a single 90-minute session.
  • Club Service: Each member is expected to serve periodically as Greeter, Fund Raiser, or Speaker Host at a weekly meeting. Club Service assignments are rotated alphabetically, and each member will serve several times a year in various positions.
  • Other: Throughout the year there are numerous other opportunities for members to be involved in club projects, from traveling to Honduras on a mission trip to visiting Fairhope Elementary School to distribute dictionaries to third-graders. Participation is voluntary but can be very rewarding (and serves as a makeup).

What is the membership process?

As stated earlier, membership is by invitation only, so prospective members do not “apply” for membership but must be proposed by a current member. To be considered for membership, an individual must be invited by a member to attend several meetings. That member can then submit a membership proposal to the club board. Although the classification principle is not as strictly applied as it once was, clubs are limited in the number of members from any single career field, with the goal of having a broad representation of all vocations represented within the club. For this reason, clubs are sometimes very selective in approving new members. Once a proposal is approved, the prospect is advertised to the club, and if no objection is made, the prospect will be invited to join.

I’m interested in joining Rotary. What do I do now?

If you’re interested in joining the Rotary Club of Fairhope, tell us a little about yourself and one of our members will contact you. You may email the club at fairhoperotary@gmail.com or drop us a line at P.O. Box 741, Fairhope, AL 36533-0741