The Object of Rotary is a philosophical statement of Rotary’s purpose and the responsibilities of Rotarians.

The concept of vocational service is rooted in the second object, which calls on Rotarians to encourage and foster: 

• High ethical standards in business and professions

• The recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations

• The dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society


As a Rotarian, how can you put these ideals into action?


Consider these suggestions:

• Talk about your profession in your club, and take time to learn about fellow members’ occupations.

• Use your skills and expertise to serve a community.

• Practice your profession with integrity, and inspire others to behave ethically through your words and actions.

• Help young people achieve their career goals.

• Guide and encourage others in their professional development.


By undertaking these activities, you bring vocational service to life. Vocational service is the essence of Rotary and serves as the foundation from which we serve our communities around the world.


Rotary emphasizes integrity and high ethical standards.

Two standards developed by Rotarians

— The Four-Way Test and the Rotarian Code of Conduct — provide a road map for ethical behavior in the workplace and other areas of life.



Of the things we think, say or do:

1. Is it the TRUTH?

2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?


4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


The Four-Way Test was conceived in 1932 by businessman Herbert J. Taylor, a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA, who served as Rotary International president in 1954-55. Having taken on the task of saving a company from bankruptcy, Taylor developed the test as an ethical guide to follow in all business matters. The company’s survival was credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary International in 1934, The Four-Way Test remains an essential standard against which Rotarians measure ethical behavior. It has been translated into dozens of languages and promoted by Rotarians worldwide.



As a Rotarian, I will

1. Act with integrity and high ethical standards in my personal and professional life

2. Deal fairly with others and treat them and their occupations with respect

3. Use my professional skills through Rotary to mentor young people, help those with special needs, and improve people’s quality of life in my community and in the world

4. Avoid behavior that reflects adversely on Rotary or other Rotarians  

The Rotarian Code of Conduct provides a framework for ethical behavior that all Rotarians can use, together with The Four-Way Test, in their business and professional activities. As part of Rotary’s guiding principles and the Avenues of Service, Vocational Service calls on Rotarians to empower others by using their unique skills and expertise to address community needs and help others discover new professional opportunities and interests. This handbook can help you gain a better understanding of vocational service and provide you with ideas to practice it through your service activities, in your personal life, and in your career.



By including men and women from diverse professions and backgrounds, Rotary recognizes the importance of all skills and occupations. A vibrant Rotary club reflects the businesses, organizations, and professions in its community, embracing diversity in experiences and perspectives. Your professional life and vocational service go together. Rotarians have a dual responsibility: to represent their occupations within their club and to exemplify the ideals of Rotary in their places of work.



As leaders in their businesses and professions, Rotarians can advance high ethical standards by setting a positive example among colleagues and in their community.

Here are a few specific ways Rotarians integrate ethics into their daily work life:

• Discuss and emphasize honesty, accountability, fairness, integrity, and respect when hiring, training, and supervising employees

• Praise and encourage the exemplary behavior of colleagues

• Demonstrate personal commitment to high ethical standards in relations with customers, vendors, and business associates, treating each business interaction with care and consideration

• Promote socially and environmentally responsible practices in your businesses and organizations



Founded as a business networking organization, Rotary emphasizes the importance of bringing together business and professional leaders for the purposes of exchanging ideas, developing relationships, and improving communities. Rotary members are committed to professional development and advancing their skills. Rotarians can pursue this commitment through activities that increase their knowledge, and by guiding and training others to find gainful, fulfilling employment



A vocational training team (VTT) offers a hands-on approach to vocational service.

In VTTs, groups of professionals travel either to learn more about their vocation or to teach local professionals about a particular field. A VTT helps create sustainable change by strengthening the knowledge and skills of individuals and communities, thereby improving their capacity to serve. In addition to experiencing a new culture and fostering global connections, Rotarians participating in a vocational training team have the opportunity to make an impact long after their travels end.

Teams can qualify for a global grant through The Rotary Foundation so long as they address one of Rotary’s six areas of focus and follow certain specific guidelines for scope, sustainability, and measurability. Funded teams must consist of at least one Rotarian team leader with general Rotary knowledge, leadership skills, international experience, and expertise in the area of focus; and at least two other participants (Rotarians or non-Rotarians) with two years of work experience in the area of focus.

Learn more and see complete guidelines for global grant funded VTTs at




In Rotary’s Service,


                        Ian E. Lancaster  RN, CPN, CHPCN(C)

                        Chair, District Vocational Services