Term definition: member, guest, visitor, prospect etc. (e03)

Friday, February 19, 2021

Jan Trnka, Polaris-Team

Within Polaris, these terms are used as follows:

The general understanding of these terms may differ from these definitions.

Members, gusts, etc.

Members = active members + guests + prospects + other contacts
Active member

Rotarian or Rotaractor in his own club. One person can be member in only one club (his home unit). The home unit is highlighted in blue.

When transferring membership from abroad, the NICO must first be contacted at nico@rotary.ch

Guest member (guest)

Rotarian or Rotaractor who has been invited as a guest in another club, district organization, committee or special club. Guest members participate in the life of the club, can be members of a commitee, but cannot serve in the board. You can be a guest in as many clubs as you like. Being a guest is not a state, but a relationship with another organisation. Guest organisations have yellow background color. (see picture on the right)

When accepting a guest member from abroad, NICO must be contacted first at nico@rotary.ch


Member of a club before definitive admission. The membership of a prospect should not lasts for a more then of one year. Prospect cannot not have a function in the board or in a commission.

Other contact

A person who is not a member of the Rotary community (not a Rotarian or Rotaractor). For example, a widow, an interested person, the reponsible person of the restaurant where the club meets, a member's assistant who helps to carry out the member's duties (secretary), etc. This person cannot have any function in the board or commission, but may have administrator roles.


A person visiting a club lunch or action.. Unlike a guest, the visitor has no relationship with the club.

Honorary membership

According to the Manual of Procedure 2016 Art 4.010 and Art 4.050, Honorary Member can only be a Rotarian guest from another Club, or a non-Rotarian. In other words: an active member cannot be an honorary member in his own club!

In Switzerland and Liechtenstein, many clubs have a different approach and grant honorary membership also to active members. To make this possible, Polaris has two types of honorary membership.

  1. Honorary membership according to RI rules
    A club can award a guest or other contact by granting him/her RI honorary membership.
  2. Local Honorary Membership
    When a club gives a member this honorary membership, his honorary membership will only be shown in Polaris. He cannot be reported to RI as an honorary member because it violates RI rules.

Many Rotarians do not understand this rule. However, it is not in our power to change these rules. We can only refer to the Manual of Procedure.