The "image" of a Rotary Club

The image of a Rotary Club is the coordinate of many factors. Namely : Members of Quality. Motivation and action. Leaders of quality, within the frame of Rotary's ideals. Implementing quality programs. Attractive meeting place and last but not least communication and public relations.

Hereunder you will find an imaginary interview on the subject "communication and public relations". What you will read are common things, well known
to the Rotarians and their leaders, yet to my opinion a review is always useful.

1) Q. How the proper "image" of a Rotary Club is created?

A. The degree up to which the society is informed about our Rotary Club and the degree of acceptance of the activities and ideals of our R.C. and the Rotary in general among the local society will provide a clear indication of the positive or negative "image" of our Club in our community. And it is well understood that a positive IMAGE is raising the esteem and the recognition of our Club. This may result in the desire of well known persons in our community to become members of our R.C. Hence communication and public relations are indispensable in the case of any R.C, the district, and why not the R.I itself.

2) Q. Why communication and public relations are indispensable in the case of Rotary?

A. To keep informed Rotarians of happenings and developments in the world of Rotary and on the other hand to inform our community and the other Rotary Clubs, the District and Rotary International of whatever activities and achievements of our R.C.

3) Q. In other words as a result of communication and consequent information we start a kind of competition among the R.Clubs for better results.

A. Not exactly. Communication and information are means to enhance action and service in Rotary Clubs. On the other hand it is important to let others know about the activities of our Club, its achievements as well as eventual original, ideas which may assist other R.Cs to discover and or improve ways of approach and service. In other words a R.C. is "sender" and "receiver" of messages.

4. Q. What exactly should our message contain?

A. When we refer to a message it should correspond with facts. At this point we may add that the purpose of communication and public relations if they are used properly is not to present characteristics that do not exist. They should project effectively the actual image of our R.C.

5. Q.Which is the role of public relations in Rotary?

A. A Rotary Club that operates in a favorable climate and has been acknowledged by the community as successful, has much better chances to accomplish and succeed with its programs because of the support of the community. In this respect public relations play an important role.

6) Q. Explain how the use of public relations turns the community to support R.C. programs and services.

A. It is important for a R.C. to make well known to a wide circle the ideals of Rotary and its aspirations. However, we should not forget another important factor. That is to say that a R.C. has to provide proof of action within the frame of Rotary's ideals and at the same time maintain a high ethical standard.

7) Q. Tell me about the role of the "media" in relation to our desire to promote the ideals of Rotary and hence give an improved "image" of our Club.

A. What we call "media" - press, TV, Radio etc- are playing a decisive role in our lives. They use their power to shape pictures, create impressions, even build rules of behavior. It is desirable if not indispensable for all R.Cs to have good, I rather say excellent, relations with the "media" and to solicit the projection of Rotary's important activities and/or manifestations. Also it is strongly recommended to introduce in our Club reporters or journalists, generally speaking people working and/or having access to the local "media". Rotary's column in a newspaper of wide circulation, with news from our R.C. as well as from Rotary in general, is a suggestion. A Club's website would be also advisable.

8) Q. Is the Club bulletin necessary?

A. Certainly yes. Because our bulletin, is not only intended for distribution among the Rotarians of our Club. It is addressed also to our local environment, the authorities, the representatives of professional and scientific organizations, etc... And of course it is to be sent to all R.Cs of our district, the DG, and so on, so that they may acquire information about our R.C's activities, our targets, and aspirations. Thus they obtain a true picture of our R.C.

9) Q. What else will contribute to create the right image of our R.C?

A. We have dealt already with communication and public relations, in the case of Rotary and our R.C. In ultimate analysis, however "senders" and "receivers" of messages are the Rotarians themselves. Every single Rotarian of a R.C. Therefore having Rotarians well informed about Rotary's ideals and targets, our R.C's program, our aspirations etc is a SINE QUA NON. Because the role of the Rotarian as individual is very important. That is why keeping the members of a R.C well informed and up to date, so as to be able to present and explain the targets and activities of Rotary at all levels ( RI, RF, District, RC), to their family, their friends professional partners or collaborators, to their clients and to their personal social environment. One should emphasize among others the impact of Rotary International and its programs, the unequaled contribution of RF and the emblem of Rotary "service above self". We should be able to explain the practical meaning of the Theme of President R. King
"Mankind is our business".
Rotary depends on the individual Rotarian, informed and well educated, the Rotarian who is willing to contribute for a better world. Because he is shaping the IMAGE of Rotary.

George Sotiropoulos

2470 PDG