Article by RC PDG John Prendergast 
We regularly seem to hear the complaint that Rotary is too expensive, and that this cost is a deterrent to attracting new members. 
So, what does Rotary cost us each year? I reckon about $1,680.32. 
My Club subscriptions are a very low $200 per year – consciously kept low because we have a number of members on fixed incomes. We are able to have a low sub because every year we deliver telephone books around our city, and the funds we earn from that project are used to offset some of the costs of running our Club. 
So, $200 a year doesn’t seem like a deterrent to attracting new members. 

Article by RC PDG John Prendergast 
Every week when we meet we have a meal. This costs me $20, which includes a ticket in our weekly raffle - but given that I never win, I look on the $20 as the cost of my meal. I also have a beer each week, another $5.50. And at every one of our meetings a bed pan (unused), donated about 40 years ago by a former member who was a Doctor, gets passed around and we each put in $2, our contribution towards the Rotary Foundation. 
We have a Sergeant’s session and - for reasons that escape me - every week I seem to get hammered by the sergeant, so $3 to $5 every week goes out of my pocket and into his or hers. Those funds ultimately get given to charitable purposes though, so I don’t mind that too much. 
So, each weekly attendance at my Club costs me around $31.50 i.e.: 
  • Meal
  • Beer
  • Sergeant
  • Rotary foundation $2.00
Total $31.50 
Our Club meets 48 times a year – so the total annual cost for me is $1,712, being my $200 sub, plus $31.50 every week for 48 weeks. I get 33% of my $96 annual contribution to the Rotary Foundation back from the IRD (Inland Revenue Department), so their refund cheque of $31.68 is gratefully received each year – but that still means just belonging to and attending my Club meetings comes at an annual cost of $1,680.32. 
Does my Club offer value in return that is worth $1,680.32 or more?
Fortunately, I belong to a Club that I think does offer good value – we have a lot of fun, we do a good number of projects each year, there are plenty of opportunities for personal development and growth, and we are a positive contributor to our local community. So that’s why I stay. 
But I do wonder if an outsider looking at that $1,680.32 annual cost might simply dismiss Rotary as an option, on the basis that they don’t see from the outside the value? How many potential members might we unknowingly be discouraging from joining, simply because our Club is operating the traditional Rotary Club model of a weekly meeting, meal, beer, sergeant session, and a guest speaker? 
The 2016 Council on Legislation gave us all a free pass to change the way we operate our Clubs, so why not think about moving from a very meeting-centric traditional Rotary Club model, with its attendant significant cost for members, and change it up a bit? – so spice up the annual diet of 48 traditional weekly meetings by adding in some with project meetings, some visits to members’ workplaces, or some visits to local places of interest. Why not have some meetings without a meal? 
Not only will that help reduce any cost disincentive for new or existing members, but it will also likely liven up your Club. Both will make your Club more relevant and more attractive.