Rotary Basics

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service:

  • FIRST – development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.
  • SECOND – high ethical standards in business and professions, recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society.
  • THIRD – application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life.
  • FOURTH: – advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

Rotary was founded on the basis of promoting high ethical standards in the professional lives of all members. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The Four-Way Test. It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor when he took charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. The survival of the company is credited to this simple 24-word test for employees to follow as a guide to all their business dealings from production to all relations with both dealers and customers.

Rotary adopted The Four-Way Test in 1943 as a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. Since that time it has been translated into more than a hundred languages. The test is stated as follows:

Rotarians channel their commitment to service at home and abroad through five Avenues of Service, which are the foundation of club activity:

  • Club Service focuses on making our club strong. A thriving club is anchored by strong relationships and an active membership development plan.
  • Vocational Service calls on every Rotarian to work with integrity and contribute their expertise to the problems and needs of society.
  • Community Service encourages every Rotarian to find ways to improve the quality of life for people in their communities and to serve the public interest.
  • International Service exemplifies our global reach in promoting peace and understanding. We support this service avenue by sponsoring or volunteering on international projects, seeking partners abroad, and more.
  • Youth Service recognizes the importance of empowering youth and young professionals through leadership development programs such as Interact, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), Rotary Youth Exchange and Rotaract,
  • Act with integrity and high ethical standards in both personal and professional life.
  • Deal fairly with others and treat them and their occupations with respect.
  • Use professional skills through Rotary to mentor young people, help those with special needs, and improve people’s quality of life in the local community and in the world.
  • Avoid behavior that reflects adversely on Rotary or other Rotarians.