Every so often, the question of using Rotary as a means for personal business surfaces at meetings and on Rotary’s social media pages. If a dedicated Rotarian sees a new business opportunity which primarily profits off Rotarian customers or clients, is it ethical for the Rotarian to pursue the endeavor?
What do you think?
20 thoughts on “Ethical dilemma discussion: what do you think about Rotary as a means for business?”
The obvious answer would be that Rotarians should follow the four way test in conducting their business. When looking for a vendor, I look at fellow Rotarians first. As a printer, I do business for many of my fellow members and hope that they but from me primarily because of the attributes I have demonstrated as a Rotarian an not solely because I am a Rotarian.
I agree with your position on following the four way test and certainly in doing business with fellow Rotarians. Please tell me you are a licensed vendor of the Rotarian Brand!
I am not licensed, but was referring to doing business for my fellow Rotarian’s businesses.
One of the benefits of joining Rotary is networking. As long as the business deal is conducted professionally and ethically, I do not see a problem for the Rotarian to pursue the opportunity.
Rotary Code of Conduct states
As a Rotarian ,I will …………..
8. Not seek from a fellow Rotarian privilege or advantage not normally accorded others in a business or professional relationship
I agree and follow ……..
Business Networking is one of the reasons that many join Rotary Clubs. It is certainly proper for Rotarians to use those contacts for business dealings so long as no privilege or advantage not available to non-Rotarians is practiced.
What would be an example of privilege or advantage? Business is about relationships. People do business with people they trust and like.
I agree with your question and comment.
I ,as a Rotarian Professional ( or Business Person) would not expect to receive or give service (or goods ) at a more advantageous term ,compared with my standing in the business or profession, just because I am also a Rotarian………..
Of course it is a matter of judgement -we wil be guided by the Four Way test.
Agreed. In doing business with a Rotarian one should be able to trust that the business arrangement is guided by the four way test; that terms and cost are fair. In a perfect world my expectation is that a Rotarian is providing me with full, honest disclosure of service and cost.
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Interesting question, that popped up in our meeting last night about recruiting new members. According to the pro’s and con’s it’s a hot topic and worth a debate. I’m in favour of business relationships and networking with Rotary when appropriate. The guidance of the 4 questions (4 way test) will help every Rotarian to evaluate threads and opportunities when networking. However it should be crystal clear that the purpose of Rotary is not a business network as such. It’s an organization with valuable people in their community, often peers in their businesses, dedicating time and effort to create a better world. These shared values can create friendship and trust, which can lead to business.
Lets ask this question differently: As business people, the element of trust is key. However, trust of a product/service/person generally comes from the knowledge and experience of working with that product/service/person over time. So in a situation in which two people (one Rotarian, the other a non Rotarian) are bidding for a contract in your office (you are also a Rotarian), Both bidders product/service have passed successfully through the bidding process and their cost and anticipated benefits to be derived by your office are generally the same. Now you cannot afford to fail in executing the project for which the contract is being issued. Do you select the Rotarian whom you know upholds the 4 way test and you trust from your previous relationship with him/her or do you choose the non Rotarian because you are a Rotarian and should be seem as favorably towards your fellow Rotarian . Who will you choose? and why?
correction:….or do you choose the non Rotarian because you are a Rotarian and should not be seen as favorable towards your fellow Rotarian
I quite agree with the idea that the Four test should be our guiding principle when we are dealing with others Rotarians in business.
Doing business with Rotarians, should be a by-product of the trust and character one demonstrats in the relationship building, while living out the Four-Way-Test.
No one should pressured to buy products or services.
Given equal business opportunities, my first choice would be to give the business to a fellow Rotarian. Why?
All Rotarians should abide by the ‘reworded’ Rotary Code of Conduct, especially, point #5… “Not seek special business or professional advantages from other Rotarians.”
Rotarians represent the hallmark of ethical standards. All things being equal, I would prefer to give the business to a fellow Rotarian. It is a judgmental call. 🙂
If such a business deal is fair and will not be overly profiting beyond the obvious, a Rotarian should pursue it, my take
We are Rotarians to serve the community. We don’t have to serve ourselves within Rotary. For those who are in Rotary to do business, sorry but they can go to Freemasonry where they can be served and they served other Freemasons without restrictions. Rotary is not as used by some “Club members” for business networking as to send mass mail for their profit of their own business. We have the Code of Conduct [new format reduced to 5 items instead of 8], please read it , especially the item 5: “Not seek special business or professional advantages from other Rotarians.”