Posted on Mar 25, 2021
Vocational Service is at the core of Rotary’s objectives, and calls upon Rotarians to encourage and foster high ethical standards in business and professions, recognizing the worthiness of all useful occupations, and dignifying each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society.

Whether your club has a Club Vocational Service Chair or someone else overseeing current and new initiatives for Vocational Service, here are five easy and free to implement ideas to consider acting on to help grow your club’s vocational service.

1: Setup a Recognition Program for Local Business Owners
Consider creating a recognition program that recognizes local business owners for pledging to commit to practicing the Four-Way Test, and for committing a small portion of their time to have their employees do community service during the year. Part of Vocational Service is spreading the ideals of the Four-Way Test in business. Consider awarding these local businesses who qualify for your own recognition program with a framed certificate, and with a placement in a list of locally recognized businesses that your club shares. Bonus: Create a sticker they can stick on their place of business, or a digital sticker graphic they can place on their business website.

2: Create a “Rotarian-owned” Business List
Both during and outside of pandemics, Rotarians love supporting each other. As our members do well in their businesses, we often see incredible dividends that help with the health of our clubs. An easy idea to implement is to create a list of Rotarian-owned businesses, and to share that with your local Rotary Area Club Presidents, your own club members, and to the Rotary District. Participation to be listed is recommended as an opt-in, and members may enjoy knowing the club is trying to help their livelihood. Once the list is shared, your membership committee may also decide that being listed may be considered a perk of membership.

3: Host a Small Business Owner Virtual Meeting Huddle
Every savvy business owner knows that keeping in touch with local business owners helps fosters success. During the pandemic, business owners may be experiencing hardships that other owners are experiencing, but may not know who to discuss these with. Considering hosting a virtual Zoom Meeting to invite local business owners to discuss relevant current issues they’re facing. Some topics to consider are Tips for Successful Online Sales, Tips for Receiving COVID19 Aid, etc. Ask one of your members who is a small business owner to host this session.

4: Set up an Interclub “Coffee with a Rotarian” Program based on Affinity
Rotarians love meeting other, especially when they find common shared interests and hobbies to discuss. Consider fostering mentorship and friendships between your members, and members of another Rotary Club by creating an opt-in Coffee with a Rotarian program, where members share what their hobbies and interests are from a list of affinity choices you create. Then setup “Coffee Sessions” per affinity by pairing individuals with another Rotarian from another club who shares that affinity. It will be up to each pair of Rotarians to find a time to meet on Zoom to talk. There’s no commitment needed past the first coffee session. If they want to stay in touch, they should organically setup their own follow-ups.

5: Create a Professional Development Recognition Program
We want our members to be better versions of themselves year-after-year. Consider creating a recognition program within your club that recognizes members who complete a certain number of hours per year for professional development. The recognition could be a printed certificate, or even a digital slide during a club meeting that recognizes them. With this program, members are encouraged to consider learning new skills or improving on existing skills through e-learning platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, Udemy, IDEOU, or through an accredited credential program. Consider providing additional recognition points for members willing to learn skills in areas that your club needs, such as website management or social media marketing.

Follow-up: These are just five ideas to get you started. There are an endless amount of old and new ideas that work. At the end of the day, it will be up to you to find the right idea that works with your club. If you think you have a good idea, try running an experiment with just a handful of people to see if it gains traction. If there is some success, consider bringing it to your club’s board for formal adoption. An experiment is a great, quick way to test ideas and gather facts.

Article byL Rotarian Mitty Chang