Tuesday, October 8, 2013

PR CPR



Get your club back into rhythm.



Just a few thoughts stemming from a district meeting I had last night in King of Prussia....

Public relations and communications are an important part of any successful company or organization and Rotary is no different. Too often, this is something that is overlooked both at the club and on the district level but that perspective is slowly changing and those of us in District 7450 are doing our part by encouraging our fellow Rotarians to make that mental transition. However, this is a transition that is going to take a lot of time and a lot of energy.

The mentality that exists within most clubs, particularly smaller ones, is that the focus needs to be entirely on the service side of things. Those items or tasks that are necessary to promote the club itself are secondary. This is why many of us struggle with both membership and fundraising.

Unfortunately, there is also the generational and technological disconnect that exists in the membership which hinders the adoption both of methods and strategies essential for growth. Obviously, things need to change and they need to do so in a big way. The question is how do we implement such change into a system and a population that is hesitant to embrace a new way of holistic service to the community, club, district, and one another?

Change needs to be a step by step process not a mandate. A perfect example is social media. Many members are uninterested in having a Facebook profile and don’t see the need for one. The task then becomes to create the need. Show them why it would be a good thing to have in their lives both personally and regarding their Rotary involvement.

Maybe they want to see all the pictures of their grandkids, maybe they want to meet new people, maybe they want to get more involved in their service but are unable to make a regular time commitment. Demonstrate the value it can have in their own lives and they will better understand the need for the club to have a presence as well. It is not a guarantee but you will, most likely, reach at least a few members with this approach.

Traditional media is also something that needs to be high on the priority list and while it may take greater effort it can also carry with it a greater impact on your club’s exposure. Most clubs, large and small, promote large events and service projects to the local main stream media but that is only part of the story. Clubs need to write about and disseminate information regarding the weekly guest speakers as well as the induction of new members at the very least. Remember, if your club’s name is seen one time it’s a good thing but when people see your club regularly then you are entering into the realm of PR. This is when you are seen as an integral part of the community.

There are numerous other topics and details that can be discussed around the subject of PR and communications and many of them I have either already covered (here and here) or will be covering in the future. But, for now, I will leave you with the above topics for consideration and I encourage you to get involved by finding new ways to promote your club and to promote Rotary. There is no question that we do great work as Rotarians but sometimes they can go by the wayside if no one knows about them so let your voice and your club’s voice be heard.