Public Relations & Rotary
Rotary Clubs play an integral role in community service projects.  Operating under the motto, Service above Self, Rotary members spend countless hours working towards improving the lives of the less fortunate, combating issues such as world hunger, poverty, illnesses, etc. As an organization that gives back to the community at every step, it becomes imperative for Rotary Clubs to be able to maintain a positive image in society such that people are attracted to become Rotarians.
Public Relations is a concept that can be heavily utilized in Rotary. As Rotary Clubs are always looking for ways to retain and recruit new members, it becomes important to think of your Rotary Club as a brand. Each brand has a certain image that it must uphold. The goal of every club should be to create and maintain brand awareness within their community.  The following are some tips that can be applied in order to create brand awareness and evoke a certain brand image in people’s minds.
Brand Positioning
The first step in creating a brand image is being able to define how you want to position your brand in the publics’ mind. What do you want people to think of when they think about your Rotary Club? Try and brainstorm some words that describe your club and its’ goals and then try to incorporate them in one sentence.  Keep it simple and succinct yet detailed enough to be able to define your brand. Being able to effectively position your brand will create a solid foundation which you can then build your brand on.  Perhaps you want to position your club as an “exciting organization that provides effective solutions to eradicate issues such as world hunger” or perhaps you’d rather position your club as a “powerful force improving society”. You now have a simple sentence or two that your Rotary members can use to define the club and promote it.
Achieving Objectives 
Effective Public Relation tactics will ensure that your club has been able to meet its various objectives, such as generating publicity. Now that you are able to define your club and its activities such that the public can relate to it, it becomes easier to generate publicity. There are many things that you can do in order to generate publicity such as writing a press release, interacting with the media, utilizing online tools and even sponsoring small events.
Press Release
Rotary members put a lot of effort in their community service projects but their work is often only recognized by a handful of people. The next time your club accomplishes a task such as meeting or exceeding an amount for a fundraiser, write a press release and circulate it among the members of the community. Promote your good deed such other people are motivated to do the same. You can display your press release on various websites along with your own such that you reach the maximum amount of people.
Media Interaction
Invite your local newspaper journalist or local television channel to come cover your next event such that you are able to generate brand awareness. Media interaction does not have to be limited to covering your events only. In fact, many local television channels offer a free advertising space or segment on certain channels. Some television channels and radio stations have a certain segment for community announcements which are often free. The next time your club is hosting an event or engaging in a task, announce it to your community members.
Online Tools
Apart from engaging with traditional media networks, utilize the Internet to build brand awareness. In today’s society, it is imperative for any organization to have an online presence as we have transformed into a digital society. Apart from having your own website as a tool to create and increase brand awareness, one should also start participating in social media as a means of generating publicity. Think about whom you want to target and create your messaging accordingly.
Another great way to generate publicity is to go out to where your target audience is. Think about who you are trying to reach with your messaging. Whom in particular do you want your announcements to be heard by? A great way to generate publicity for your club is to sponsor local events such as your local community football games, for example.  By doing so, you are ensuring that your Rotary Club is recognized by the public.
In order to continue to flourish, it is important for Rotary Clubs to maintain a certain level of brand awareness, as is the case with any organization. If people are not aware of the work that Rotary Clubs do, then they will not be motivated to join nor discuss their work. In order for any brand to be successfully recognized, it is important that people talk about the brand. So if you are able to think of your Rotary Club as a brand, define it and then generate publicity for all the work that it does, your Public Relations objectives will definitely be met.
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