Vocational Service in Rotary is a strand of service that stems from the second part of Rotary's Objective:
- [That Rotarians should observe] 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.
There are really three ways that Rotarians can deliver Vocational Service:
- By providing service to the Community, or within the club, using skills acquired from your profession, interests or hobbies and involving others from your network to help Rotary deliver projects professionally where you have a skills gap
- By adhering to strong business ethics, and encouraging others to do so
- By training others in Rotary in something that you are expert in that would benefit other members (eg chairing meetings, public presentations, facilitation or anything else that may be useful to the club internally or for delivering service)
Vocational Service can help your club to attract and retain members. If people feel that their skills are valued and are being used by the club and in service, they are more likely to be keen to contribute and stay as members. If people in the community know that the projects that you do are professional and well-run, others are likely to be attracted to join you.
Sakuji Tanaka (RI President 2012/13) said of Vocational Service:
"I am a charter member of my club, and I was invited to join by the charter president. I had never heard of Rotary, and at the time, I didn't really know what service meant. But I was new to Yashio..... I thought Rotary would be a good way to make friends and help my business....
But to be honest for the first two years, we didn't do much. Every week, I came to my meeting, I ate lunch and I listened to a speaker. I paid my dues, and I gave money to the Rotary Foundation. But I wasn't involved in any service. I didn't know what Rotary service was supposed to be.
That all changed one week, when we had a speaker who talked about vocational service. This was a new idea to me. Until then, I had never thought much about the purpose of my life, or why I was in business. I was too busy working. I was always focused on my business, and on how to make it larger and better. I never stopped to consider any deeper purpose of my life.
Understanding the idea of vocational service completely change my attitude toward my work, and toward my own purpose in life. I realised that the goal of a person doing business is not only to earn a living. The purpose is to be a contributing member of the community, to make the community stronger, and to help make other people's lives better. When I understood this, and understood the concept of Service Above Self, it changed my life - and set me firmly on the path to a life of Rotary service. That is my Rotary Moment."
Below are materials to help clubs develop Vocational Service projects and examples of projects done elsewhere