Posted by Charles Pretto, Incoming Governor of District 5340 in California

Charles Pretto, incoming governor of District 5340 in California, is getting asked about Rotary everywhere he goes, from his dental hygienist to grocery store clerks. He credits the lapel pin he started wearing that features the modern Rotary logo. Pretto explains how the logo, which has the word Rotary big next to the wheel, makes our organization more identifiable. Read Pretto's post in Rotary Voices. ........

I like the Rotary logo — the one with the wheel and the word “Rotary” next to it. It’s not always a popular opinion though. Some members prefer the old Rotary wheel and continue to use it, even though it was retired nearly a decade ago. In some ways, I get it. We Rotary members can be traditionalists.

The modern Rotary logo has something that the old one doesn’t though: name recognition — literally. The word “Rotary” (or Rotaract) is in big letters. It’s easy to read and most importantly, it’s easy to identify. I experienced that difference first-hand when I started wearing the modern Rotary logo on my lapel pin.

From my dental hygienist to the person bagging my groceries, I was getting asked about Rotary everywhere. I never had this level of engagement before! You know why? Because we aren’t a big corporation like Starbucks with a logo you just know. The wheel doesn’t mean anything to the public. By adding “Rotary” to the wheel, our logo becomes much more identifiable. And because of that, I’ve had many delightful conversations with people. Some have even joined our club meetings to learn more about Rotary. It’s been a great recruitment tool.

Official Rotary logo

Recently, the RI Board of Directors began asking Rotary and Rotaract clubs to update their club logo to include the Rotary logo and their club name. I realized that if every club did this, it would tie us all together as one global Rotary network.

When I begin my term as district governor, my goal is to get all 60 clubs in my district to update their club logos. I’ve already started talking about it with my district public image chair and presidents-elect.   

I know public image can’t be a priority for every club — they have other issues and challenges to focus on. So for those clubs who need additional assistance, but lack the resources to do it, I am starting a program in my district that will connect Rotaract members who are studying marketing or a related field with clubs that needs help with their branding and public image. It’s a win-win situation! Rotaract members who need real world experience will get it by using their talents to help clubs increase their public image in the community.

If your club wants to update their logo but you don’t know where to start, I recommend reaching out to your district public image coordinator to see what resources might be available from your district.

When we all use the Rotary logo, it really pops! And the awareness of our logo can help engage more individuals, welcome more people into Rotary, and do good in the world.

About the author: Charles Pretto is a member of the Rotary Club of San Diego, California (USA). He’s a big believer in the power of the Rotary logo. So much so, Charles plans to give every member in his district a Rotary pin. He hopes it will help start more conversations between members and the next generation of Rotary and Rotaract members.