Rotary e-clubs are clubs that meet online. For many members, this new way of experiencing Rotary offers the benefits of a Rotary club, with added flexibility.
Other than meeting online to conduct club business, Rotary e-clubs are essentially the same as any other Rotary club: club members carry out service projects, support The Rotary Foundation, and socialize and network with each other. The main difference? E-clubs are accessible 24/7.
Although each e-club is based in a specific district, its membership can be drawn from anywhere in the world. Other e-clubs may choose to focus their membership on a particular region or community. View a list of current Rotary e-clubs.[pullquote3]Rotary e-clubs are essentially the same as any other Rotary club: club members carry out service projects, support The Rotary Foundation, and socialize and network with each other. The main difference? E-clubs are accessible 24/7.[/pullquote3]
E-clubs became official in July 2010. Club members range from young professionals to retirees E-clubs attract members who live in different places throughout the year, have family or work commitments, travel frequently, or have limited mobility. Also, any Rotarian can make up a missed meeting by participating in an e-club online meeting. The addition of Rotary e-clubs reflects the growth of online communities and the sheer number of Rotarians — and potential new members –who are already meeting and interacting online.
Rotary e-clubs offer a variety of meeting formats such as webinars, videoconferencing, message boards, instant messaging, or Skype to facilitate either simultaneous or asynchronous communication. Before an e-club meeting, a club representative posts content for that week’s meeting. Club members then attend the meeting online to discuss topics and plan projects. Some Rotary e-clubs even supplement their meetings with in-person meetings.
E-clubs facilitate international service by initiating projects or collaborating with other Rotary clubs around the world. At the same time, an e-club might focus on a particular geographic region with local community service projects where members participate in person.
How E-Club’s Came to be……
While the idea of an eClub may seem new to most Rotarians, RI recognized the potential for Rotarians meeting in an online environment quite some time ago; 2002 to be exact, when Rotary International launched a proof-of-concept pilot project including 14 pilot clubs. After more than an hour of debate, district representatives at the 2010 Council on Legislation voted to make e clubs a permanent part of Rotary International. The measure was by passed by an overwhelming 430 to 85 vote.
Rotary E-Club of the West was chartered in January 2012. The founding members celebrate below at DG Greg Owen’s home.
Another important outcome of the 2010 Council on Legislation was the decision to allow not one, but two e clubs per district. This way districts have the ability to offer both internationally and locally based e clubs. Or, they can decide to form eClubs that satisfy the passions and skills of different age groups. With over 500 Districts worldwide the potential to connect, inspire and retain Rotarians through successful eClubs is seemingly infinite.
Out of the study emerged the two most successful e club formats: “pure” and “hybrid.” RI defines a pure eClub as one that conducts 100% of its business online. This format is typically adopted by e clubs seeking geographically boundless reach. E Club One, based in Colorado, is an excellent example of a pure Rotary eClub. Its members span the globe from Italy to North Carolina! Service projects are performed on an individual basis and through member collaboration all over the world.
Rotary eClubs that choose to operate as a hybrid meet primarily online, but incorporate a face-to-face meeting once a month. This format is ideal for eClubs whose members are resident within a close geographic region. An example is the Rotary E-Club of Singapore. Both formats have clear advantages that any forming eClub should give full consideration.