Why Rotary Needs eClubs, a Cyber Rotarian's View

APRIL 24, 2007 - Rotary e-clubs got a vote of confidence when a proposed resolution to request that the RI Board consider discontinuing e-clubs (07-36) failed. Numerous Rotarians argued that e-clubs continue to offer a way to attract younger members and flexibility for current members who have time constraints or live in remote rural areas. Enactments 07-22, 23 and 24 were all either soundly defeated or withdrawn. Here are the vote totals - 07-22: 371 No, 122 Yes, Enactment Failed; 07-23: 315 No, 168 Yes, Enactment Failed; 07-24 Withdrawn; 07-36: 341 No, 148 Yes, Resolution Failed.

There are so many reasons why Rotary needs eClubs and should even install more:

1st: eClubs are one tool to find new Rotarians.
Again and again very interesting individuals refuse invitations to Rotary for professional reasons: they e.g. cannot promise to be at the same place at the same weekday for lunch. It is sad to miss the opportunity to gain them as members.
=> eClubs offer them flexible presence requirements, so they can do make ups at their eClub and additionally join traditional club meetings at different times and places.

2nd: eClubs help keeping Rotarians.
There are many Rotarians who for professional reasons are not able to fulfil the presence requirements of traditional clubs any more.
=> Without eClubs, Rotary would loose some very active Rotarians.

3rd: eClubs are international.
By the most common definition, "Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world."
And one of the four avenues of service is the International Service.
=> eClubs have members worldwide. eClubs live the internationality.

4nd: eClubs are modern.
Today's world is different to the time when Paul Harris and his fellows found Rotary. The world changes, and so does Rotary.
The Rotary Constitution often has been changed within the last 102 years; we finally have female members; and so on.
=> And eClubs follow a new way of communication: As you can see at this forum here, the exchange of thoughts is far easier by using the internet than any other way of communication. People sit at home or at their office, charing their ideas. Without the internet, the only way of a worldwide exchange would be the international conventions. But they only take place once a year. And "only" about 30,000 Rotarians (out of about 1.2 million) take part each time.

eClubs and their members give their part to fulfil the Rotarian dreams and goals! Don't throw back Rotary by stopping eClubs! - Axel Brodehl, member of Rotary eClub NY1 of District 7150

From my point of view I’m pleased to have joined a Rotary eClub, because my current circumstances of being a PhD student don’t allow me to meet the attendance requirements of a traditional Rotary club. I see this as a great possibility to despite of this being able to contribute to the society and help others all over the world.

As young people, like me, tend to study longer and therefore also not settles down until being a bit older I think that Rotary eClubs could help them being engaged in something good. Probably the current form of eClubs is just the beginning and the aids of worldwide communication, such as in this forum, will evolve. I think that the eClubs are important to be able to successfully attract younger members, which will be the future of Rotary. - Marcus Andersson, member of Rotary eClub NY1 of District 7150




To request the RI Board to consider prominently linking eClubs to front page of Rotary International web page.

Proposed by District 7150, April 15, 2006

WHEREAS, Rotary eClubs provide an excellent opportunity for active Rotarians to makeup and maintain attendance requirements, and

WHEREAS, the utilization of Rotary eClubs provide a unique and educational forum for makeup purposes.

IT IS RESOLVED that Rotary International provide a prominently displayed link, off the front page, of the Rotary International website to the Rotary eClubs

Provide prominently displayed access to Rotary eClubs.

(End of Text)

To request the RI Board to consider providing Internet software and platforms to be used
by clubs

Proposed by the Rotary E-Club of Verkkorotary.fi, Finland
Endorsed by the Conference of District 1420, Ekenäs, Finland
May 2006

WHEREAS, the communication between people through various types of electronic meeting facilities on the web are offering new avenues also for Rotary, and WHEREAS, Rotary, to secure its future growth and membership, has to be able to offer interesting opportunities to the younger generation of already existing Rotarians, as well as potential new Rotarians who are used to and well-versed in the use of modern electronic communication methods and systems, and WHEREAS, the pilot Rotary clubs already working on the world wide web have proven that good and efficient Rotary work and creation of friendship is possible and that new modes of operation for Rotary clubs can be created in the spirit of Rotary by employing various types of electronic meeting techniques, and WHEREAS, in the various pilot projects, it has become obvious that, to acquire separate Internet meeting platforms is prohibitively expensive for single clubs, and WHEREAS, a single club needs such a meeting facility in general only for two hours a week and the same electronic facility can be shared, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, by a number of clubs having different meeting times in the same or different district or in the same or different time zone, and WHEREAS, the cost of meetings as well as the cost of travel to Rotary meetings, not only on the club level but also on a broader scope, such as districts, zones, and even RI, can be reduced and thereby also conserve the funds of Rotary International IT IS RESOLVED by Rotary International that the Board of Directors of Rotary International consider acquiring and opening an Internet-based meeting software and platform for use by clubs and Rotary as a whole.

(End of Text)

January 23, 2002 The World's first cyber Rotary club is chartered. Almost a century after Paul Harris founded the first Rotary club, a group of Rotarians from Colorado, USA, made history by forming a club that RI's founder could never have imagined. On 4 January, RI officially chartered its first-ever Internet-based Rotary club in the world, Rotary e-Club One of District 5450.

In June 2002, the 2001-02 RI Board of Directors, authorized by the 2001 Council on Legislation, agreed to implement a cyber Rotary clubs pilot project whereby up to 75 new clubs worldwide may operate online for a four-year trial. The clubs may either have membership residing or working within a Rotary zone or be open to any qualified members, regardless of geography.

In November 2002, the Board selected clubs for the pilot. District 7150's submission for a Rotary e-Club was 1 of 18 worldwide to be accepted. An RI director appointed by the president will liaise with and provide orientation for the cyber clubs. Rotary leaders hope the program will create different types of Rotary clubs to better meet the needs of Rotary in the 21st century, attract more young professionals, and increase membership. Marlene B. Brown, Past President of the Rotary Club of New Hartford, NY, appointed by the District Governor as the District 7150 Cyber Club Committee Chairperson, is heading up the new Club.

June 2003: Rotary cyber clubs are just like traditional Rotary clubs in many respects. However, rather than having a set meeting time and place, the club meets once a month at The Children's Museum in Utica, NY, and on the Internet, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Members log on to the Web site and review topics under discussion, and are expected to join a forum. The club's members will be expected to participate in at least 20 online meetings, asking questions, and sharing views and suggestions with other members. Attendance will be measured by a minimum average of 10 hours of hands-on community service per quarter in place of 'seat time' in a club, meaning the member determine the activity, time and place,

The original idea,a bold high-tech step for Rotary International, came out of the desire to reach out to those who, for a variety of legitimate reasons, cannot regularly attend meetings of a Rotary club that meets weekly at a physical location. Membership is open to individuals who cannot meet traditional attendance requirements due to travel or business restrictions or reside farther then 25 miles away from a traditional Rotary club, or whose personal mobility is limited.

Share your ideas on Why eClub Members believe Rotary eClubs are needed,
in approximately 100 words, and qualify for a makeup

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