Rotary Abbreviations

Every lodge has a secret handshake or rituals that only initiates are privy to. Although Rotary isn’t intentionally secretive, outsiders and new members may be confused by the “alphabet soup” that is used in some Rotary communications. How mature do you have to be to be RIPE, and does RIP mean you’re a dead letter? Here are a few of the abbreviations you may run across:


Rtn: Although the Rotary Club of Fairhope doesn’t use this abbreviation, you may see it in the signatures of members of other clubs. It just means “Rotarian.” That’s you if you don’t have any other title. Traditionally, Rotarians address each other by their first names and don’t use courtesy titles such as Dr. or Prof. When you are referred to in a Rotary context, only your Rotary title will be used.

RI: Rotary International

PE: President Elect. In our club, the PE is also the VP.

PP: Past President. Once you have served as president of a Rotary club, you have the right to use the title PP in perpetuity. Rotary also uses the title iPP to designate the Immediate Past President (the Rotarian who served as club president the previous year).

DG: District Governor. The Rotarian who is the titular head of a district, a subdivision of RI that encompasses all the Rotary clubs in a geographic area. Our district, 6880, which stretches from Montgomery, Alabama, south to the Gulf, shares the state of Alabama with District 6860 in the northern part of the state, but some districts are much larger: District 5010 includes seventy clubs in the Yukon Territory of Canada, Alaska, U.S.A., and all of Russia east of the Ural Mountains. Geographically, the District encompasses eleven time zones and stretches more than 8,500 kilometers (5,000 miles). The Rotarians in District 5010 speak three languages: English, French, and Russian.

DGE: District Governor Elect. This Rotarian will become district governor next year, that is, next July, since the Rotary year runs from July 1 through June 30.

DGN: District Governor Nominee. This is the Rotarian who will become the district governor in two years.

DGND: District Governor Nominee Designate. The Rotarian (who must be a PP) who will become the DGN on July 1. In our district, the Nominating Committee interviews candidates at the Midyear Conference in January and announces the name of the DGND at the District Conference in May, so the DGND has this title for only about two months.

PDG: Past District Governor. A Rotarian who has served as the governor of any district. Again, the iPDG is the Immediate Past District Governor.

AG: Assistant Governor. Formerly called Area Representative, this officer (usually a PP) serves as a liaison between the DG and the clubs in a specified area. Our district has ten areas, each with four or five clubs. Our club is in Area 6, along with Daphne–Spanish Fort, Fairhope Sunset, and Robertsdale. Area 6 used to also include Point Clear, Foley, and Gulf Shores–Orange Beach, but these were split off into the newly formed Area 10 along with the new Central Baldwin Sunset club.

RIPE: Rotary International President Elect

RIP: Rotary International President

PRIP: Past Rotary International President

RID: Rotary International Director

RIDE: Rotary International Director Elect

Programs and Entities

TRF: The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, a not-for-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs. The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.

EREY: “Every Rotarian Every Year,” a campaign begun in 2007 to encourage every Rotarian to make a personal contribution (of any size) to the Rotary Foundation every year. The recommended donation is $100, which makes the Rotarian a Sustaining Member (SM).

SHARE: It doesn’t really stand for anything, but through the SHARE system, contributions to The Rotary Foundation are transformed into grants that fund local and international humanitarian projects, scholarships, and activities, such as vocational training teams. At the end of every Rotary year, contributions directed to the Annual Fund-SHARE from all Rotary clubs in the district are divided between the World Fund and the District Designated Fund, or DDF.

DDF: District Designated Fund, the funds that the TRF returns to a district: 50% of the donations made by Rotarians and clubs in the district three years earlier.

DSG: District Simplified Grant, a grant made by a district to a club out of SHARE funds. Under the new Future Vision grants model, this is just called a “district grant.” Grants are used by clubs for community projects.

PHF: Paul Harris Fellow. Paul Harris Fellow Recognition is presented to a Rotarian (or non-Rotarian) who makes a donation (or in whose name a donation is made) of $1,000 or more. EREY donations can be accrued over time to earn this recognition. After a Rotarian becomes a PHF, additional contributions accrue toward Multiple Paul Harris Fellow (MPHF) status.

PHS: Paul Harris Society, membership in which is granted to those who make a commitment to donate $1,000 a year (when they are able) to the Rotary Foundation.

GSE: Group Study Exchange, a cultural and vocational exchange program between districts in two countries. Although this program has now been phased out, it is still fresh in the memory of many Rotarians, and you may meet Rotarians who have participated, either as the Rotarian leader of a GSE team or as a non-Rotarian member. GSE teams, composed of a Rotarian leader (of any age) and (ideally) four non-Rotarians aged 25 to 40, traveled, at the expense of Rotary (using SHARE funds provided by TRF), to another country for four to eight weeks to stay in the homes of Rotarians and visit not only the most notable cultural sites in the area but also businesses and industries in their vocation. This program has been replaced by Vocational Training Teams (VTT) and Rotary Friendship Exchange (RFE), which divide the vocational and cultural aspects of GSE.

RYE: Rotary Youth Exchange, a program sanctioned by Rotary but operated by independent regional organizations (ours is SCRYE, South Central Rotary Youth Exchange). Exchange students (aged 15–19) travel at their own expense but are hosted by families in the foreign country. Although the exchanges are arranged by Rotary clubs, the host families do not have to be families of Rotarians, though they often are.

RYLA: Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, a weekend retreat/seminar for selected high school students (usually juniors). The RYLA program for Districts 6860 and 6880 is held at Camp ASCCA in Jacksons Gap, Alabama, and includes Rotary information as well as leadership and teambuilding exercises.

PETS: President Elect Training Seminar, a weekend leadership retreat for presidents elect, held annually in March. PEs in our district attend MidSouth PETS in Nashville, Tennessee, which serves several districts. Training for AGs is also provided at this time.

SETS/TETS: Secretary Elect/Treasurer Elect Training Seminar.

RLI: Rotary Leadership Institute, training for would-be Rotary leaders that is conducted at various levels once or twice a year in various locations throughout the district.

RLA: Rotary Leadership Academy, online training program for any interested Rotarian, pursued at the participant’s own pace.

NID: National Immunization Day, a PolioPlus activity in which Rotarians, accompanying in-country health officials and other volunteers, fan out over a geographic area in an attempt to find and administer polio vaccine to all unimmunized children.

RCF: This one is our club, the Rotary Club of Fairhope. It is club number 4077 and is a member of District 6880.

Other Lists

Needless to say, this is not an exhaustive list. For other lists of abbreviations and glossaries of Rotary terms, see “Acronyms Used in Rotary,” “Rotary Abbreviations and Acronyms,” and “Rotary A to Z.”