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A District 5470 Guide
for establishing Satellite Groups
 
Introduction
This guide for Satellite Groups is a collection of ideas, concepts, and suggestions for Rotary clubs thinking about establishing a Satellite Group.   It may also be helpful for clubs with an existing Satellite Group. This is NOT a policy document.  Rotary clubs and Satellite Groups are encouraged to work closely together to determine their own policies, procedures, and guidelines.
 
How is a Satellite Group different from a Satellite Club?
Rotary clubs have options in establishing a Satellite. Our concept of a Satellite Group is a group under the umbrella of the sponsor Rotary club. A Satellite Club, on the other hand, is a more formal entity with its own board, officers and bylaws. Both the Satellite Group and Satellite Club's members are members of the sponsoring Rotary club, however. Satellite Clubs require at least 8 members initially. When the Satellite Club membership reaches 20, they may choose to become their own Rotary club.  This Road Map addresses only Satellite Groups. More information on Satellite Clubs can be found by searching "Satellite Club FAQ" at myrotary.org.
                  
Purpose of a Satellite Group
A Satellite Group is an alternate way for Rotary clubs to foster Rotary membership growth through flexibility in meeting time and place, club activity participation, time and financial commitment while being true to Rotary values. This flexibility can attract members that may not join a traditional Rotary club. A Satellite Group operates independently of the, sponsor club, however, Satellite Group members are members of the sponsor club. Satellite Groups operate under the sponsor club bylaws. The Satellite Group can provide a sponsor Rotary club with a new and creative strategy to grow and offer Rotary membership to those who are not able to fit into the traditional model of Rotary clubs.  A Satellite Group will also provide an opportunity for a group of Rotarians to develop their own initiatives with a new approach of flexibility in meeting time and place, amount of time commitment, and dues structure. All of these things must be done in coordination with the sponsor club.
 
 
Suggested Routes for Establishing a Satellite Group
Considerations for Establishing a Satellite Group
If a Rotary club is considering establishing a Satellite group, the club board and club members should investigate the merits of starting a Satellite Group and determine if a Satellite Group is desirable. The Satellite Group option may not be the right answer for every club. Satellite Group formation, management, and support require a significant amount of time and ongoing effort by the sponsor club and is not a "quick fix" to growing membership. The sponsor club should allow the Satellite Group to find its own place and set its own rhythm, traditions, and procedures. Is there a need in the community for another Rotary Group that could meet at a different time? Are there certain demographic groups that would make a Satellite Group desirable in the community? Are there individuals in the community that are unable to join Rotary because of a required financial commitment? Regardless of whether a Rotarian's membership is in a traditional Rotary club or a Satellite Group, the focus should always be on "Service Above Self," Rotary International's guiding principles, Avenues of Service, Areas of Focus, and personal and professional networking.
 
Potential Road Blocks
The Satellite Group option may not be the right answer for every club.  
Club members that oppose a Satellite Group may require a cautionary approach. 
Lack of communication between the committee formed to establish a Satellite
Group and the sponsor club board as well as club members may result in an unwanted detour.
A lack of cooperation between the sponsor club and Satellite Group may result in challenges.
 
Form a Satellite Group Committee
If the sponsor Rotary club is dedicated to establishing a Satellite group, it should appoint a champion and committee to do the research and follow a logical process to establish a Satellite. This process might take several months. The sponsor club should inform the District Governor that the club intends to form a Satellite group.
 
Do the Research 
A Satellite Group is under the umbrella of the sponsor club and its members are members of the sponsor club. The sponsor club board and sponsor club members should be kept informed of the progress of the committee. Satellite Groups are new to Rotary and the sponsor club board and members should be informed as to the structure of a Satellite Group. A program or club assembly early in the process might be helpful to educate sponsor club members about Satellite Groups. Members sometimes believe the Satellite Group must do all the things that the sponsor Rotary club does, but this is not the case.
 
Develop Draft "Procedures" for the Satellite Group
Locate procedures that currently exist from other established Satellite Groups. Tailor these procedures to the sponsor club Satellite Group by working closely with the sponsor club board with this development.
 
Develop a List of Potential Satellite Members
The committee and other club members may know many people that are potential Satellite Group members. Consider Rotarians that have dropped out of the sponsor club and other local service clubs as well as people that the committee and club members know. Ask the sponsor club members to give the committee names of potential members. Contact other local Rotary clubs, community leaders, and community groups. Are there specific target areas or community populations that would benefit from being a Satellite member?  Young professionals, recently retired professionals, companies or organizations, and individuals who find the financial requirements of a traditional Rotary club challenging may all be prospective members.
 
Consider an Informational Meeting for Potential Satellite Members
The committee will invite its list of potential Satellite Group members to an informational meeting to provide information about Rotary and the Satellite Group. Follow up with the attendees after the meeting to determine their interest. Some of the attendees may be interested in the sponsor club rather than the Satellite group. 
 
Consider the meeting time and location for the Satellite Group.
The committee might have had input from the sponsor club members or potential members as to when and where the Satellite Group could meet. The meeting time should be different from the sponsor club meetings. This provides potential members an option for a meeting time. Satellite Groups have flexibility in the time commitment for its members. They may meet in person once or twice per month and work on community projects or have a social event at other times. Ask prospective Satellite Group members about their suggestions for meeting time and place.
 
Financial Structure
One purpose of a Satellite Group is to create less of a financial burden as a way to attract more community members to Rotary. The Satellite Group members must be able to pay the per capita dues to RI, District, and perhaps other commitments to the sponsor club. Satellite Group member dues can be potentially less than the sponsor club dues as a way to lower the cost barrier for entry into Rotary. The financial structure of the Satellite Group should be a joint decision between the Satellite Group and the sponsor club board.
The sponsor club board should approve the procedures for the Satellite Group.  This will help prevent future issues between the sponsor club and the Satellite Group
.
Officially, Establish the Satellite Group
Make this a major event by celebrating the sponsor club and its new Satellite Group. The event should be meaningful by having the sponsor club president. board members, and club members present. The District Governor, Assistant District Governor, and other District leaders should be invited to attend. If Satellite Group members are not current Rotarians, induct them with a meaningful ceremony and new member packets. Take pictures and get press in the local paper, District newsletter, club website and social media sites.
 
Considerations for the New Satellite Group
 
Options for a Satellite Group
A Satellite Group can choose to remain a Satellite group forever as part of the sponsor club or it may decide later to apply for its own charter as a new Rotary club once it has at least 20 members. A Satellite Group should have no minimum or maximum number of members, but should be capable of operating independently.
 
Satellite Board
For the day-to-day governance of the Satellite Group, it should have its own annually elected officers. The leading officer of the Satellite Group should be the chairperson and other officers could include the immediate past chairperson, and chairperson-elect.  While the sponsor club could provide the services of a secretary and treasurer, the Satellite Group could include their own secretary and treasurer as part of the board.
 
New Member Orientation
The Satellite Group and sponsor club should provide an orientation program for all new members to ensure appropriate education about the history and function of Rotary, Rotary International, The Rotary Foundation, and programs of the sponsor club.
 
Satellite Group Member on Sponsor Club Board
The sponsor club board should provide for the Satellite Group chairperson or other Satellite Group member to be a member of the sponsor club board.
 
Continuing Sponsor Club Responsibilities
The sponsor club should continue to support the Satellite group in several ways:
1)    Assist in planning and organizing the administrative processes of the new Satellite Group.
2)    Advise and mentor the Satellite Group.
3)    Familiarize the Satellite Group members with Rotary's programs and procedures.
4)    Work with the Satellite Group on joint fundraisers and projects.
5)    Designate one of its members to serve as a liaison to the Satellite.
6)    Be encouraged to attend Satellite meetings, service projects, and fellowship events.
 
 
 
This document was adapted from a document created for and provided by Rotary District 5440.