Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated human rights purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. It is a secular organization open to all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference. There are 34,282 member clubs worldwide. 1.2 million individuals called Rotarians have joined these clubs.
Rotarians usually gather weekly for breakfast, lunch, or dinner to fulfill their first guiding principle to develop friendships as an opportunity for service. "It is the duty of all Rotarians," states their Manual of Procedure, to be active as individuals in as many legally constituted groups and organizations as possible to promote, not only in words but through exemplary dedication, awareness of the dignity of all people and the respect of the consequent human rights of the individual. The Rotarian's primary motto is "Service Above Self"; its secondary motto is "One profits most who serves best."
The object of Rotary is to encourage & foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:
- The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service
- 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;
- The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life;
- The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
This objective is set against the "Rotary 4-way Test," used to see if a planned action is compatible with the Rotarian spirit. The test was developed by Rotarian and entrepreneur Herbert J. Taylor during the Great Depression as a set of guidelines for restoring faltering businesses and was adopted as the standard of ethics by Rotary in 1942. It is still seen as a standard for ethics in business management:
The 4-Way Test considers the following questions in respect to thinking, saying or doing:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?