Rotary is organized at club, district, and international levels to carry out its program of service. Rotarians are members of their clubs, and the clubs are members of the global association known as Rotary International. Each club elects its own officers and board of directors and enjoys considerable autonomy within the framework of its constitution and the constitution and bylaws of Rotary International.

Clubs are grouped into districts, each led by a district governor who is an officer of Rotary International and represents the RI board of directors in the field. Though selected by the clubs of the district, a governor is elected by all of the clubs worldwide at the annual RI convention.

A 19-member board of directors, which includes the international president and president-elect, administers Rotary International. These officers are also elected at the convention. The selection process for choosing directors and the nominating committee for president are based on zones, each of which comprises approximately 15 districts. The board meets quarterly to establish policies.

While the Rotary International president is the highest officer of RI, the chief administrative officer is the general secretary, who heads a staff of about 600 people working at the international headquarters is Evanston, Illinois, USA, or one of seven international offices.