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There have been many changes to Rotary policies and procedures since your leadership manuals were written, including some from the 2016 Council on Legislation. Here is a summary of those changes, which override entries in the Lead Your Club manuals. The most recent versions of the club constitution and bylaws are available on Rotary.org.


The following changes to the Bylaws of Rotary International, effective 1 July 2016, apply to all Rotarians:

Becoming a Rotarian

Clubs may determine their own rules for transferring members, dual membership, and honorary members. They’re also free to continue following the traditional provisions for these members. The only mandatory qualifications for membership are that Rotarians must be adults who have demonstrated good character, integrity and leadership; have a good reputation in their business, profession and community; and be willing to serve in their community and around the world.

Potential members who owe money to a Rotary club aren’t eligible for membership. Clubs must confirm that transferring or former Rotarians seeking membership don’t have any outstanding debt to their previous club. (For complete details, see the RI Bylaws, section 4.030.)

Flexibility in meeting frequency, format, and attendance

Council on Legislation representatives voted overwhelmingly to eliminate limitations on how Rotary clubs conduct their meetings, and recognized the fact that a club’s health is not determined by attendance alone. With the RI Board’s endorsement of the Council’s changes, clubs now can:

  • Determine the best day and time for their meetings
  • Change or cancel a meeting
  • Count service projects or social events as meetings
  • Choose whether to meet in person or online, to alternate between online and in-person meetings, or even to use both formats at the same time (for example, a member could participate in an in-person meeting through a video chat)
  • Amend their bylaws to change attendance requirements and termination policies involving members with poor attendance

Rotary clubs now can reduce their meeting frequency, as long as they meet in some way at least twice a month. They are still expected to forward attendance reports to the district governor within 15 days of the last meeting of each month.

Flexibility in membership types

Rotary has two types of membership: active and honorary. Clubs can now offer additional types, such as associate, corporate, and family, as long as they report these individuals as active members and collect RI membership dues from them.

Rule of 85

Rotarians can be excused from attendance if two conditions are met: They have been a member of one or more Rotary clubs for at least 20 years, and their years of club membership plus their age equals at least 85.

E-clubs and Rotary clubs

Given the new flexibility granted to all Rotary clubs, Rotary is no longer making a distinction between e-clubs and traditional clubs. References to e-clubs have been removed from the RI Bylaws and the Standard Rotary Club Constitution, but clubs may continue to designate themselves as e-clubs to emphasize that they meet exclusively or primarily online.

Dual membership for Rotaractors

In order to facilitate the transition from Rotaract to Rotary, the RI Bylaws now permit Rotaractors who meet the qualifications for membership to join a Rotary club while remaining Rotaract members.


Clubs may now suspend a member for a maximum of 90 days. At the end of that time, they must terminate or reinstate the member. A suspended member has the right to appeal the suspension or request mediation or arbitration.

Click image to download the Secretary 2016-19 Edition:

thumbnail of 229en-Club Secretary

Where can I find more downloads?

On the RI website here.