Information for Prospective Members

Rotarians are business and professional leaders who take an active role in their communities while greatly enriching their personal and professional lives. A Rotary club contains a diverse group of professional leaders from the community that the club serves.

Rotary membership is by invitation only. If you would like to learn more about the Rotary club in your community and its various service projects, contact Willoughby Rotary.

Membership in a Rotary club offers a number of benefits, including:

  • effecting change within the community;
  • advancing business and professional contacts;
  • developing leadership skills;
  • gaining an understanding of – and having an impact on – international humanitarian issues.

Through Rotary International's service programs, a Rotary club can have a significant effect on the quality of life in its community. Rotary Foundation programs offer opportunities to form international partnerships that help people in need worldwide. Some 1.2 million Rotarians in 30,000 clubs in more than 160 countries make significant contributions to the quality of life at home and around the globe.

How to Propose a Member

Do not inform the prospective member of the proposal until after the board approves it.

In brief, the membership proposal process is:

  1. Submit a candidate using the Online Membership Proposal Form.
  2. Upon board approval, arrange an information session for the proposed member with the membership chair person.
  3. At that session, ask the proposed member to complete and sign Part B of the proposal form. Return the form to the club secretary.
  4. Publish the proposed member's name and classification to the club. (The Recommended Rotary Club Bylaws allow seven days for club members to consider and file objections, if any.)
  5. If no objections are received, the proposed member pays the admission fee and becomes a Rotarian.
  6. The club secretary or president immediately reports the new member to Rotary International via Member Access at
Beginning Steps for New Members

The new member shall be welcomed into the club with a brief swearing in ceremony by the President at the earliest possible date. We also ask that the sponsor act as a "host" and introduce the new member to others in the club. We want them to feel welcome.

The new member will also be asked to give a brief classification speech (date to be arranged with the program chairperson). These typically cover the person's profession, background, and general family information--they can be quite informal (and often are among the best talks the club hears).

Membership Provisions for New Members

General Qualifications – Rotarians are adults of good character and good business or professional reputation, who hold or have held an executive position with discretionary authority in any worthy and recognized business or profession.

Active Membership – Active members must meet the above qualifications, as well as live or work within the club's locality or surrounding area.

Honorary Membership– People who have distinguished themselves by meritorious service in the furtherance of Rotary ideals may be elected to honorary membership.

Classification – Each active member of a Rotary club is classified in accordance with the member's business or profession. A classification describes the principal and recognized activity of the firm with which an active member is connected or the member's principal and recognized business or professional activity.

The club shall not elect a person to active membership from a classification if the club already has five or more members from that classification, unless the club has more than 50 members, in which case, the club may elect a person to active membership in a classification so long as it will not result in the classification making up more than 10% of the club's active membership. Retired members require a classification but are not included in a club's total number for each classification.

NOTE – Holders of public office. Persons elected or appointed to public office for a specified time are not eligible for active membership under the classification of such office, except persons elected or appointed to the judiciary or educational offices.

The Rotary Classification Principle

A unique feature of Rotary, the classification ensures that the members of a club comprise a cross section of their community’s business and professional life. There are now two types of classifications, namely:

  • Active member, the person currently “loaned” the classification. This member has full rights to vote on club matters, hold office, and all other rights of a Rotarian.
  • Honorary member, granted to deserving individuals who have distinguished themselves by meritorious service in the furtherance of Rotary ideals, but are not able to maintain active membership in a club. Honorary members do not vote on club matters and cannot hold office.

Under changes to the Rotary Constitution in 2001, a minimum of five people may share the same classification. In larger clubs, 10% of active members can share a classification.

There is no “transfer” provision in Rotary, so a Rotarian who relocates is not automatically eligible for membership in another club. However, that person can be elected in the usual fashion, even if the classification is full, with the approval of the present classification holders.

Meeting Information
All meetings are cancelled through April 2019 due to the Governor's stay at home order
12:00 pm Monday, La-Vera Party Center, 32200 Chardon Rd., Willoughby Hills