The Object of Rotary

The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

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

Avenues of Service

Based on the Object of Rotary, the Avenues of Service are Rotary’s philosophical cornerstone and the foundation on which club activity is based:

  • Club Service focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the effective functioning of the club.
  • Vocational Service encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations and to practice high ethical standards.
  • Community Service covers the projects and activities the club undertakes to improve life in its community.
  • International Service encompasses actions taken to expand Rotary’s humanitarian reach around the globe and to promote world understanding and peace.
  • New Generations Service recognizes the positive change implemented by youth and young adults through leadership development activities, service projects, and exchange programs.

The Four-Way Test

From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world's most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The Four-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as RI president) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy.

This 24-word test for employees to follow in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, The Four-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four questions:

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?

  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?

  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?

  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? 

Mission

The mission of Rotary International is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. See the RI Strategic Plan.

Diversity and Rotary

Rotary International recognizes the value of diversity within individual clubs. Rotary encourages clubs to assess those in their communities who are eligible for membership, under existing membership guidelines, and to endeavor to include the appropriate range of individuals in their clubs. A club that reflects its community with regard to professional and business classification, gender, age, religion, and ethnicity is a club with the key to its future.

 

About The Rotary International Emblem

Rotary's early emblem was a simple wagon wheel (in motion with dust). It was designed in 1905 by Montague M. Bear, a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago who was an engraver. He designed the emblem to represent both civilization and movement. Most of the early Rotary clubs adopted the wheel in one form or another.

In 1922, the organization decided to create and preserve an emblem for the exclusive use of all Rotarians, and the following year, the present emblem, a gearwheel with 24 cogs and six spokes, was adopted. A keyway was added to signify the usefulness of the gearwheel.

An official description of the emblem was adopted at the 1929 International Convention. Royal blue and gold were chosen as the official Rotary colors and the flag of Rotary was designated as a white field with the emblem emblazoned in its center. The emblem, worn as a lapel pin, now identifies Rotarians around the world.