Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and around the globe. The 1.2 million Rotarians who make up more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in nearly every country in the world share a dedication to the ideal of Service Above Self.
Rotary clubs are open to people of all cultures and ethnicities and are not affiliated with any political or religious organizations.
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
For years, Rotary’s commitment to Service Above Self has been channeled through the Avenues of Service, which form the foundation of club activity.
- Club Service focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the effective functioning of the club. Learn about effective club service in Membership and Training .
- Vocational Service encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations and to practice high ethical standards. Observed each October, Vocational Service Month spotlights Rotary club projects related to this avenue, offering opportunity for clubs and districts to use their professional skills in service projects.
- An Introduction to Vocational Service
- Model Project Submission Form
- Vocational Service PowerPoint presentation
- Rotary Code of Conduct (formerly called: Declaration of Rotarians in Business and Professions
- Vocational Service Speeches – International Assembly 2003-2011
- 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. Rotarians can support International Service by sponsoring a project in another country, seeking international project partners to support projects in their own communities, or by personally volunteering at an international project site. Visit the ProjectLINK database to post a project in need of assistance, find projects to support, or learn about successfully completed projects to replicate.
- New Generations Service recognizes the positive change implemented by youth and young adults through leadership development activities as RYLA , Rotaract and Interact , service projects, and creating international understanding with Rotary Youth Exchange .
The Four-Way Test
The test, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks the following questions:
Of the things we think, say or do
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
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.
The RI Strategic Plan
In 2001-02, as Rotary International entered its second century of service, it began developing a strategic plan to guide the organization. The plan has been reviewed and updated periodically since.
In 2009, the Board conducted an extensive review of the RI Strategic Plan. This review included surveying 14,000 Rotarians worldwide about the organization’s priorities, conducting focus groups to assess Rotary’s image in different countries, and analyzing other data and research. The revised plan, effective 1 July 2010, reflects the results of this research and also unifies the strategic direction of RI and The Rotary Foundation.
A worldwide network of inspired individuals who translate their passions into relevant social causes to change lives in communities.
We provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.
The programs of Rotary International
Rotary International’s programs and service opportunities, listed below, are designed to help Rotarians meet the needs of their own communities and assist people worldwide.
Global Networking Groups encompass Rotary Fellowships (vocational and recreational interest groups) and Rotarian Action Groups (groups focused on service activities). There are about 70 Global Networking Groups, and they are open to all Rotarians, spouses of Rotarians, and Rotaractors.
Interact is a service organization organized and sponsored by Rotary clubs for youth ages 12-18. It has more than 12,300 clubs in 133 countries.
Rotaract is organized by Rotary clubs to promote leadership, professional development, and service among young adults ages 18-30. There are more than 8,000 clubs in 167 countries.
Rotary Community Corps (RCC) are groups of non-Rotarians who work to improve their communities. There are more than 6,800 RCCs in 78 countries, all organized and sponsored by Rotary clubs.
Rotary Friendship Exchange encourages Rotarians and their families to make reciprocal visits to other countries, staying in each other’s homes and learning about different cultures firsthand.
Rotary Youth Exchange offers students ages 15-19 the chance to travel abroad for cultural exchanges of one week to a full academic year. Rotary clubs and districts sponsor and host more than 8,000 Youth Exchange students a year.
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) are seminars sponsored by clubs and districts to encourage and recognize the leadership abilities of youth and young adults ages 14-30.
The Rotary Foundation also offers several programs, such as PolioPlus .
Learn more in Rotary Basics.
Who we work with
Rotary’s work with other organizations
Rotary International works with many leading organizations and educational institutions in carrying out its worldwide humanitarian efforts.
Polio eradication partnerships
Rotary International is a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative along with:
Rotary International appoints representatives to work with the several United Nations agencies and international organizations. Learn more about the UN representative network.
Under the Future Vision Plan, The Rotary Foundation Trustees have formed strategic partnerships with the following organizations to offer service opportunities for Rotarians through packaged global grants:
The following Rotary club and district affiliated organizations provide service opportunities to Rotarians worldwide:
These external organizations support club activities and offer opportunities for collaboration on local Rotary projects:
- Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library
- The Global FoodBanking Network
- Goodwill Industries International
- International Reading Association
- YSA (Youth Service America)
Rotary Peace Centers
The Rotary Foundation partners with the following universities to offer fellowships leading to degrees or certificates in areas of study related to conflict prevention and resolution:
- Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand (professional development center)
- Duke University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
- International Christian University, Tokyo, Japan
- Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
- University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
- Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
Learn more about the Rotary Peace Centers.
At a glance
- Members: 1,214,714
- Clubs: 34,216
- Districts: 538
- Members: 204,102*
- Clubs: 8,874*
- Members: 315,836*
- Clubs: 13,732*
- Members: 165,807*
- Corps: 7,209*
See more statistics and membership resources
Source: Rotary International