Community Service

Statement on Community Service is Rotary's third Avenue of Service.

Rotary Community Service encourages and fosters the application of the ideal of service to the personal, business, and community life of every Rotarian.

In carrying out this application of the ideal of service, a variety of activities developed by Rotary clubs have afforded significant opportunities for service by their members.

For the guidance of Rotarians and to formulate a policy for Rotary toward community service activities, the following principles are recognized:

Community Service is an opportunity for every Rotarian to exemplify “Service Above Self.” It is the commitment and social responsibility of every Rotarian and Rotary club to improve the quality of life for those who live in the community and to serve the public interest.

In this spirit, clubs are encouraged to:
    1) review regularly service opportunities within their communities and involve each club member in an assessment of community needs;
    2) capitalize on the unique vocational and avocational talents of members in implementing their community service projects;
    3) initiate projects in accordance with the needs of the community and commensurate with the club’s standing and potential in the community, recognizing that every community service activity, however small, is important;
    4) work closely with the Interact clubs, Rotaract clubs, and Rotary Community Corps and other groups which they sponsor, in order to coordinate community service efforts;
    5) identify opportunities to enhance community service projects through Rotary programs and activities at the international level;
    6) involve the community, when desirable and feasible, in implementing community service projects, including the provision of required resources;
    7) cooperate with other organizations in accordance with RI policy to achieve community service objectives;
    8) achieve proper public recognition for their community service projects;
    9) act as catalysts to encourage other organizations to work together in community service efforts;
  10) transfer responsibility for continuing projects, when appropriate, to community, service, or other organizations, so that the Rotary club can become involved in new projects.

As an association of clubs, RI has the responsibility to communicate news of community service needs and activities, and from time to time suggest programs or projects which advance the Object of Rotary and which would benefit
from the concerted efforts of Rotarians, clubs, and districts who wish to participate.

The following statement was adopted at the 1923 convention and amended at subsequent conventions:
   In Rotary, Community Service is to encourage and foster the application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life.
   In carrying out this application of the ideal of service many clubs have developed various community service activities as affording opportunities for service by their members. For the guidance of Rotarians and Rotary clubs and to formulate a policy for Rotary toward community service activities, the following principles are recognized and accepted as sound and controlling:
   1) Fundamentally, Rotary is a philosophy of life that undertakes to reconcile the ever present conflict between the desire to profit for one’s self and the duty and consequent impulse to serve others. This philosophy is the philosophy of service — “Service Above Self” and is based on the practical ethical principle that “He Profits Most Who Serves Best.”*

   2) Primarily, a Rotary club and Rotary E-club is a group of representative business and professional people who have accepted the Rotary philosophy of service and are seeking:

     First, to study collectively the theory of service as the true basis of success and happiness in business and in life; and
     Second, to give, collectively, practical demonstrations of it to themselves and their community; and
     Third, each as an individual, to translate its theory into practice in business and in everyday life; and
     Fourth, individually and collectively, by active precept and example, to stimulate its acceptance both in theory and practice by
                  all non-Rotarians as well as by all Rotarians.

   3) RI is an organization that exists
     a) for the protection, development, and worldwide propagation of the Rotary ideal of service;
     b) for the establishment, encouragement, assistance, and administrative supervision of Rotary clubs;
     c) as a clearing house for the study of their problems and, by helpful suggestion but not compulsion, for the standardization of their practices and of such community service activities, and only such community service activities, as have already been widely demonstrated by many clubs as worthwhile and as are within, and will not tend to obscure, the Object of Rotary as set out in the RI constitution.
   4) Because they who serve must act, Rotary is not merely a state of mind, nor Rotary philosophy merely subjective, but must translate itself into objective activity; and the individual Rotarian and the Rotary club must put the theory of service into practice. Accordingly, corporate action by Rotary clubs is recommended under the safeguards provided herein. It is desirable that every Rotary club sponsor a major community service activity each fiscal year, varied from year to year if possible, and to be completed if possible before the end of the fiscal year. This activity is to be based upon a real community need and should require the collective cooperation of all its members. This is to be in addition to the club’s continuing its program
for the stimulation of the club members to individual service within the community.
   5) Each individual Rotary club or Rotary E-club has absolute autonomy in the selection of such community service activities as appeal to it and as are suited to its community; but no club should allow any community service activity to obscure the Object of Rotary or jeopardize the primary purpose for which a Rotary club is organized; and RI, although it may study, standardize, and develop such activities as are general and make helpful suggestions regarding them, should never prescribe nor proscribe any community service activity for any club.
   6) Although regulations are not prescribed for an individual Rotary club in the selection of community service activities, the following rules are suggested for its guidance:
     a) Because of the limited membership of Rotary, only in a community where there is no adequate civic or other organization in a position to speak and act for the whole community should a Rotary club engage in a general community service activity that requires for its success the active support of the entire citizenship of the community, and, where a chamber of commerce exists, a Rotary club should not trespass upon nor assume its functions, but Rotarians, as individuals committed
to and trained in the principle of service, should be members of and active in their chambers of commerce and as citizens of their community should, along with all other good citizens, be interested in every general community service activity, and, as far as their abilities permit,
do their part in money and service;
     b) As a general thing, no Rotary club should endorse any project, no matter how meritorious, unless the club is prepared and willing to assume all or part of the responsibility for the accomplishment of that which it endorses;
     c) While publicity should not be the primary goal of a Rotary club in selecting an activity, as a means of extending Rotary’s influence, proper publicity should be given to a worthwhile club project well carried out;
     d) A Rotary club or Rotary E-club should avoid duplication of effort and in general should not engage in an activity that is already being well handled by some other agency;
     e) A Rotary club or Rotary E-club in its activities should preferably cooperate with existing agencies, but where necessary may create new agencies where the facilities of the existing agencies are insufficient to accomplish its purpose. It is better for a Rotary club to improve an existing agency than to create a new and duplicative agency;
      f) In all its activities a Rotary club acts best and is most successful as a propagandist. A Rotary club or Rotary E-club discovers a need but, where the responsibility is that of the entire community, does not seek alone to remedy it but to awaken others to the necessity of the remedy, seeking to arouse the community to its responsibility so that this responsibility may be placed not on Rotary alone but on the entire community where it belongs; and while Rotary may initiate and lead in the work, it should endeavor to secure the cooperation of all other organizations that ought to be interested and should seek to give them full credit, even minimizing the credit to which the Rotary club itself is entitled;
     g) Activities which enlist the individual efforts of all Rotarians generally are more in accord with the genius of Rotary than those requiring only the mass action of the club, because the community service activities of the Rotary club or Rotary E-club should be regarded only as laboratory experiments designed to train members of a Rotary club or Rotary E-club in service.

Rotary Community Corps (RCC)
A Rotary Community Corps, or RCC, is a group of non-Rotarian men and women who share Rotary’s commitment to service. Under the guidance of a sponsoring Rotary club or Rotary E-club, dedicated RCC members put their own skills to work to improve the quality of life in their communities.
The goals of the RCC program are
1) To encourage individuals to take responsibility for the improvement of their village, neighborhood, or community
2) To recognize the dignity and value of all useful occupations
3) To mobilize self-help activities and collective work to improve the quality of life
4) To encourage the development of human potential to its fullest, within the context of the local culture and community. The membership of each corps consists of adults with good character and leadership potential. Membership is open to men and women who live, work, or study in or near the corps’ community.

An RCC can only be formed in a Rotary country or geographical area, and the sponsoring Rotary club must be in the same country or geographical area as the RCC. A corps is organized, sponsored, and counseled by a Rotary club (or clubs) and is established following the endorsement of the governor on certification and recognition by RI. Its continued existence depends on the continued sponsorship of its sponsoring Rotary club(s) and continued recognition by RI.

Key Messages for the Rotary Community Corps Program
Rotary clubs and districts should implement the following strategies in their support of Rotary Community Corps:
• Promote Rotary Community Corps as a viable service program that can positively impact communities. Use publications, video, the Internet, club presentations, and other methods.
• Suggest and encourage the formation of Rotary Community Corps in underrepresented areas to expand the scope of the RCC program.
• Establish strong relationships between Rotary Community Corps and their sponsor Rotary clubs. Suggest that Rotary clubs appoint a Rotary Community Corps committee.
• Advise Rotary Community Corps to select sustainable activities and projects that are based on thorough assessment of the community’s specific needs and utilize the skills of the corps members.
• Encourage Rotary Community Corps to practice good project management to ensure long-term project success.
• Encourage Rotary Community Corps to develop relationships with nongovernmental organizations, community organizations, and local government for collaboration and support on community development initiatives when appropriate.

Detailed RCC information can be found in the Rotary Community Corps Handbook (770-EN) and at

Family Month
Rotarians, clubs, and districts worldwide are encouraged to demonstrate their commitment to family and community through projects, activities, and events in celebration of Family Month each December.