A New Kind of Rotary Club

From 1 July 2010 a new kind of Rotary club was accepted world-wide.

Rotary e-clubs do not gather for a typical Rotary meal, business meeting and guest speaker. Instead, they meet on-line with all their operations supported by web technologies and electronic communications. The concept has been tested in a proof-of-concept pilot that commenced on January 4, 2002. On that day, Rotary E-Club One was launched in Colorado, USA. Later, thirteen additional Rotary e-clubs were launched and added to the pilot study. (our Club,Rotary eClub NY1) was the 2nd e-Club launched in 2002)

The study revealed two viable models for web-based Rotary clubs. The first model is a "pure" Rotary e-club that conducts 100% of its Rotary business on the Internet. Typically, members have one face-to-face dinner meeting per year, usually at the RI Convention. Members are likely to come from a wide geographic area which may be global. Rotary service is undertaken in the community where a member lives, or groups of members collaborate and work together as teams on service projects in needy communities where no member resides. Rotary E-Club One of Colorado, USA is a good example of a pure Rotary e-club.

The second model is a "hybrid" Rotary e-club that conducts most of its Rotary business on the Internet, but meets face-to-face once a month for a dinner meeting. A hybrid Rotary e-club is a good option when all the members live within a relatively compact geographic area that enables them to travel to the monthly face-to-face meeting. Rotary service projects are undertaken within the geographic area and beyond. Rotary E-Club of Singapore is a good example of a hybrid Rotary e-club.

According to Chris Joscelyne, a Past President of Rotary E-Club One of Colorado, the purpose of a Rotary e-club is to extend Rotary to business, professional and community leaders in any Rotary district who are unable to meet traditional attendance requirements. Inability to attend a traditional Rotary club could be the result of demanding business or professional commitments, extensive travel, confinement due to ill health or disability, or residence beyond reasonable distance from an existing Rotary club.

"Rotary E-Club One is just like any traditional Rotary club", said Gerry Roberts of Wyoming USA, a Past District Governor of Rotary who is also a Past President of Rotary E-Club One. "The only difference is that members meet on-line to coordinate service projects and enjoy fellowship with like-minded Rotarians."

Over 500 Rotary districts throughout the world will be able to establish a maximum of two Rotary e-clubs per district, following a successful vote at the Rotary International 2010 Council on Legislation (Rotary's "parliament") in Chicago, USA.

The Rotary E-Clubs website has been established to provide information and resources for the establishment and operation of successful Rotary e-clubs.

Rotary is a not-for-profit service organization with over 33,000 Rotary clubs worldwide and a total of 1.2 million members.

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