Rotary Terms

Rotary uses a number of terms and abbreviations which may be confusing to visitors and new members. This page has therefore been put together as a reference which we hope you will find useful in understanding more of what Rotary is about.


This stands for Rotary International, of which all Rotary Clubs throughout the world are members. R.I. Headquarters are in Evanston, Ilinois, USA and R.I. is an association of over 29,000 autonomous clubs in 162 countries.

Rotary is an international humanitarian service organization, the men and women of Rotary consisting of business and professional people who volunteer their time and resources to help others in their local communities and throughout the world.

Rotary members meet weekly to plan service activities. Rotary clubs determine their own service projects based on local needs and the interests and abilities of members.

Rotary clubs are non-religious, non-governmental and open to every race, culture and creed.


This stands for Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland. The Headquarters of RIBI are in Alcester, Warwickshire, and provide an administrative organisation for all British and Irish Rotary Clubs.


Virtually all membership in Rotary is based upon a classification. Basically a classification describes the distinct and recognised business or professional service that the Rotarian renders to society. The classification principle is a necessary concept in assuring that each Rotary Club represents a cross section of the business and professional service of the community.

In 1995 the Council on Legislation permitted the admission of retired people who had never been in Rotary but would have been qualified. These individuals can be admitted as past service members and are the only Rotarians without a current or former classification.


This is the administrative team of the Rotary club. Council members are elected annually and the Club President chairs the council meetings which are held monthly.

Part of the Council consists of the Club officers who are the Secretary, Treasurer and Senior Vice President. The remainder of the Council is made up of Committee Chairmen comprising Membership Services, Community Services, New Generation, International & Foundation and Communication.


The Club