, , ,

Eight Rotary Policies that Shape Club Public Relations

In the past year I have discovered two important facts of Rotary Public Relations.  The first fact is that all Public Relations is local.  Simply put, Rotary’s public image will always be determined by the actions of the club and member, and not by billboards and radio spots.  That is a two-edged sword, because the acts of individual members can either make Rotary look great, or not so great.  The second fact is that Public Relations is a function of Membership.  For Public Relations to be a success it should benefit membership retention and recruitment.  If Public Relations does not assist the efforts of Membership it is failing to meet its primary objective.

Recently I reviewed Rotary’s Manuel of Procedure and the Rotary Code of Policies to research a Public Relations question and was reminded that many of our policies reinforce and guide clubs to improve membership goals and address Public Relations at the local (club and member) level.  Here are eight Rotary policies that can help clubs focus on membership and improve club Public Relations:

1.  Policy on including the Family in Rotary – Manual of Procedure page 14

“All Rotary clubs and Rotarians should take into account the spouses and families of Rotary club members when planning activities.”

2.  Policy on including Recruiting Young Professionals – Manual of Procedure page 12

“Clubs should remember the importance of seeking out younger persons…who are qualified for membership. Clubs should find methods of increasing the appeal of membership to the growing number of young men and women who are occupying positions of responsibility in businesses and professions.”

3.  Policy on including Invocations – Manual of Procedure page 16

“Rotary clubs throughout the world include members who have many religious beliefs and values and are united in service to humanity. Each Rotary club…conducting its meetings in a manner that reflects Rotary’s basic principle of tolerance….”

4.  Policy on Membership Growth – Manual of Procedure page 19

“…It is inappropriate and inconsistent with the principles of Rotary for any club to establish arbitrary limits on the number of members in the club or to fail to increase its membership…”

5.  Policy on Individual PR Responsibility – Manual of Procedure page 21

“Rotarians are urged to help their clubs become more identifiable in their communities by personally informing others about what Rotary is and does, in order to improve and expand Rotary growth and service.”

6.  Policy Prohibiting Partisan Politics – Manual of Procedure page 24

“…clubs must refrain from issuing partisan political statements.  Rotarians are prohibited from adopting statements with a view to exerting any corporate pressure on governments or political authorities…”

7.  Policy on Diversification of Membership – Manual of Procedure page 20

“A club’s membership should fully reflect the community it serves.”

8.  Policy Prohibiting Offensive Jokes – Code of Policies 7.020.1

“No story, stunt, joke or entertainment is proper or fit to be placed before any Rotarian or any gathering of Rotarians which would not be perfectly proper and fit to place before such Rotarians if each one were accompanied by one’s parents, spouse or children. No story or joke is fit to be told or repeated by any individual Rotarian unless such joke or story might properly be repeated before such Rotarian’s family.”

It is important that we keep aware that public image is not what Rotarians think about Rotary, but what non-Rotarians think about Rotary.  People who visit the club meeting and observe actions that violate Rotary policies will judge all members by the act of one member; therefore, it is critical that all members fully understand Rotary policies and address situations that negatively impact the Club’s public image.

By Paul Kiser
District Public Relations Chair
Rotary District 5190 NE California/No. Nevada