January is Rotary Awareness
Month. Effective public relations strategies can contribute to membership
development efforts in Rotary Club’s.
Club Public Relations
Because every Rotary club is unique, it's important to share your
club's story with the local community to raise awareness of what Rotary
is and does. An active public relations program not only enhances
Rotary's image but can also help gain support for projects and attract
and retain high quality members, which ultimately improves the quality
of service that Rotarians provide. Consider the following PR strategies
for your club:
· Display the Rotary emblem at the gateways of your community.
· Display Rotary banners and signage at all events and project
· Develop a club fact sheet and distribute it in addition to
the brochure This is Rotary (001-EN)
at events and to visitors at club meetings.
· Leave copies of The Rotarian or your regional magazine where
people will read them.
· Encourage club members to always wear their Rotary pins,
not just on meeting days or during projects.
· Utilize Rotary public service announcements (PSAs) and other
outreach tools prepared for clubs and districts by Rotary's Public
· Develop a comprehensive list of media outlets and key media
contacts in your community. Find out if any of your club members know
them or have other contacts at an area newspaper, radio/TV station,
or cable/satellite provider who can put you in touch with reporters
· Build a PR component into every event or project by appointing
a group from your club to plan publicity and promotion for each of
your club's events.
· Prepare and dispatch a news release when your club has an
event, community project, or interesting speaker. About three to seven
days before the event, distribute the news release to all of your
media outlets. Follow up with a phone call one to two days ahead of
the event to gauge the level of interest in your story and pitch a
current news angle.
· Write a letter to the editor of a local newspaper or magazine
in which you profile your club's annual accomplishments and thank
the community for supporting Rotary events and programs.
· Place a newspaper supplement focusing on your club's projects
and programs. If the cost is prohibitive, consider asking corporate
sponsors to pay for the space or partner with another Rotary club
in your region.
· Solicit media sponsorship of your projects or events. Sponsorship
will ensure increased coverage of your event or activity. When using
a sponsor be sure to follow guidelines regarding signage by consulting
Rotary's Visual Style Identity Manual (547-EN).
· Invite prominent media personalities to serve as master of
ceremonies at your events or speak at one of your Rotary meetings.
Also consider asking them to be honorary members of your club.
Working with the Media
To reap the benefits of your PR initiatives, Rotary news must be presented
properly. Consider the following tips for effectively promoting Rotary
in the media:
Appoint qualified club and district public relations chairs.
Attracting media attention requires hard work and research. A significant
advantage is gained by appointing club and district PR chairs who
work in the communications field and understand the media in your
Approach the media strategically.
Link your story to a larger trend or current news events. When presenting
a story idea to the media, make sure it is brief and to the point.
Consider the busy schedules of your media contacts and think of how
to best present Rotary in 30 seconds. Tailor your idea to a specific
journalist, publication, or broadcast program, such as an international
news program or a health segment on a local news channel.
Offer knowledgeable Rotary spokespeople.
When suggesting a story to the media, make sure you can offer articulate
local spokespeople who are actively involved in Rotary and able to
inform others. Beneficiaries of Rotary service can also make excellent
Identify newsworthy story angles.
Every Rotary story must have significant news value. Rotary's strongest
message is effective service. How Rotary addresses real needs in the
community is the kind of story that interests journalists. Support
your story idea with background materials, such as fact sheets or
Global Public Image
Campaign: Peace through Education
Rotary International has produced a new public relations CD-ROM to
continue the global public image campaign initiated during 2004-05.
It contains public service announcements (PSAs) that focus on Rotary's
work to advance peace through its educational programs. The disc includes
production-quality copies of print, Internet, and billboard PSAs,
as well as sample television PSAs. These materials offer a high-quality
and eye-catching way to share Rotary with your community.
This disc, produced in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese,
Spanish, and Swedish, will be mailed to all clubs and districts in
February. Clubs and districts are encouraged to pursue local media
contacts to obtain free or low-cost placements.
Five Easy Steps to
The Public Image Resource Group appointed by RI President Carl-Wilhelm
Stenhammar has prepared a PR project kit with practical and useful
suggestions for your club to promote Rotary in your community. The
kit focuses on four primary techniques to expand Rotary's image:
· Radio Messages
To download the items in this kit, go to the Public
Image Resource Group Web page and click on the PDF documents on
the right side of the page.
Other Public Relations Resources
If you're interested in additional PR ideas, visit the Effective
Public Relations page in the Club-District Support section of
For more information on the correlation between public relations efforts
and recruitment, download the Report
on Public Relations and Membership Recruitment. Learn more about