The purpose of the District Public Image committee is to support clubs in their own public relations, by providing resources and information. In addition to running a sessions at the District Assemblies and District Conferences and in The Rotary Leadership Institute Part III, we hope that this website will help to educate interested Rotarians about the resources available to them through the internet and to teach some basic techniques for on-line newsletters and press releases.
For ideas and materials to use in your club's public relations efforts, visit the links on this page to various Rotary websites.
HOW DO I PROMOTE MY CLUB’S PROJECT?
Including a public relations component in your project plan will help ensure your club’s projects and events get the attention and support they deserve. The following ideas can help you create a successful campaign.
KNOW YOUR LOCAL MEDIA
Before sending stories to a journalist, get to know your audience. Read your local newspaper, listen to the evening news, and follow Facebook and Twitter to identify where a Rotary story might fit. Consider inviting a local journalist to speak to your club about how to work with the media or invite them to join a service project so they can see firsthand how your club is improving your community. You could also:
- Develop a media list and keep it current.
- Get to know local journalists by inviting them to learn more about Rotary, your club, or a specific project.
- Contact the media with newsworthy story ideas, being sure to:
- Know your story and anticipate questions.
- Send background materials immediately following contact.
- Be persuasive, persistent, and friendly, but not aggressive.
WRITE A PRESS RELEASE THAT JOURNALISTS WANT TO READ
Once you've developed a relationship with your local reporter, help them remember you through regular contact. Share news about your club projects, fundraising events, or the arrival of Youth Exchange students with a press release. You should:
- Develop your “news hook,” a persuasive reason for the news media to pursue a story
- Include the five Ws in the opening paragraph of your press release: who, what, where, when, and why
- Keep it concise; limit the press release to one page and paste into the body of your email rather than sending it as an attachment
- Decide who will respond to media inquiries and include their contact information
- Include visuals when you send to TV stations
MORE IDEAS FOR PROMOTING ROTARY
There are many ways to promote Rotary. You can hold a special event, start a Facebook page, or place a billboard ad.
You could also:
- Advertise on cable and public access TV
- Create a public service announcement
- Write op-eds and letters to the editor
- Distribute club brochures, media kits, and fact sheets
- Post on your club website and social media outlets, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more
WHAT DO I DO NEXT?
It is exciting to see your club mentioned in the newspaper or see Rotary featured on a billboard. Keep track of your public relations efforts by watching for Rotary-related news clippings in the papers you have contacted. Remember to send a thank you note to those who helped you along the way.
HOW DO I HANDLE A MEDIA CRISIS?
Despite our best efforts, problems can arise that are sensitive in nature. Be honest and forthcoming if a reporter calls. Do not speculate. Try to shift the conversation to a more neutral or positive message. You can find more ideas for handling crisis communications in our Media Crisis Handbook.
For situations that need immediate attention, contact Rotary at +1-847-866-3237 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RESOURCES & REFERENCE
- Rotary fact sheet
- RI Visual Identity Guide
- "Global Outlook: A Rotarian’s Guide to Advocacy for Polio Eradication"
- End Polio Now website
- Find promotional ads in the Rotary Brand Center
- Download a template:
- Get the Rotary Marks
- Register for a webinar
- Watch the video This Is Rotary and Doing Good in the World