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.  The strength of a Rotary Club depends on a diversity of experiences, skill sets, and viewpoints, so we institute guidelines to ensure people of any particular vocation do not predominate our club's membership.
Virtually all membership in Rotary is based upon a "classification." A classification describes the distinct and recognized business or professional service the Rotarian renders to society.

The principle of Rotary classification is somewhat more specific and precise. In determining the classification of a Rotarian, it is necessary to look at the "principal or recognized business or professional activity of the firm, company, or institution" with which an active member is connected or "that which covers the active member's principal and recognized business or professional activity."

It should be clearly understood that classifications are determined by activities or services to society rather than by the position held by a particular individual. In other words, if a person is the president of a bank, he or she is not classified as "bank president" but under the classification "banking."

The classification principle also separates businesses and industries into distinct functions such as manufacturing, distributing, retailing, and servicing. Classifications may also be specified as distinct and independent divisions of a large corporation or university within the club's territory, such as a business or engineering school.

A member is free to choose their own classification and change it as their career changes.  Revolutions in the twenty-first-century world of work made publishing a standard classification list for Rotarians too onerous and restrictive.  (Just think... who, twenty years ago, identified themselves as a Social Media Influencer, a Search Engine Optimization Specialist, or a Carbon Footprint Reduction Consultant?)  Recently, Rotary International changed the Standard Rotary Club Constitution that permits members to join without a classification.  

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RI Classification List

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