Public Image Committee
The District Public Image Committee is responsible for building and maintaining a positive public image of Rotary, among members and the general public.
The committee offers training so clubs can communicate clearly and effectively with internal (Rotarians) and external (prospective members, community leaders and general public) audiences.
Want to tell the media about a Rotary event you’re planning? Create and e-mail a Media Advisory (at least one week in advance when possible.) It should include the who, what, when, where, and why details.
A sample Media Advisory template is:
WHAT: One paragraph description of event. Help the media visualize what they will see so they deem it worthy of sending a videographer or photographer. For example: “Hundreds of people will converge on downtown Toms River to sample small cups of chili in the 10th annual Chili Cook-Off. Main Street’s street lamps will be adorned with decorative chili peppers and 3 live bands will provide entertainment, playing Oldies music all afternoon. “ Or “dozens of volunteers will unload boxes of donated food as Philabundance trucks pull into the parking lot.”
WHO: Names and titles of significant speakers, organizers, and/or beneficiaries.
WHEN: Date and Time. Be specific when you can, i.e. 10:00 am National Anthem/ 10:05 Welcome and Sponsor Thanks/ 10:15 Cook-Off Voting Instructions/ 10:30 Mayor Speaks.
Media often just show up for some quick camera shots and crowd footage. They appreciate knowing specific times so they can determine when would be the best time to show up. i.e. they’d rather come when the Mayor is speaking than when housekeeping or sponsor announcements are being made.
WHERE: Details of location; address and any helpful info about where to park, what color tent to look for, which door to go into, etc.
WHY: Why should viewers/listeners at home care about your event? Does it tie into a current news topic? Will it help people in need? Will it foster a sense of community? Does it encourage children to read? Remember, media folks get bombarded with requests for coverage all day every day. This is your chance to convince them that your Rotary event is worth covering.
DETAILS: Mention how the public can purchase tickets and where they can get more information. Note any deadlines or early-bird pricing. Note any safety regulations such as “masks are required.”
(Here’s where you insert a “Boilerplate” explaining a bit about your Rotary club, its mission,
and the geographic area it serves.)
CONTACT: List the name of the person who can answer questions and/or set up interviews (before or during the event.). Provide cell phone number. Also provide your club’s website or Facebook page so reporter can get additional information. It’s good to list the name and number of a backup person as well.
(This indicates the end of the Media Advisory)
- Put contact name and number in the upper right corner. This should be a person who will be easily reachable. Reporters often work on tight deadlines and need to reach people right away.
- Start first paragraph with Location and Date in bold type.
- The first body paragraph should answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the news item. Its purpose is to help the media decide whether or not to do anything with the Rotary story. Be factual and objective. Don’t “sell” but do mention the angle that makes your announcement newsworthy.
- Additional paragraphs should be short, approximately two to four sentences. Feel free to include any statistics or images if they support your story.
- Some small media outlets print press releases “as-is,” so it’s good to add quotes from organizers, club or community leaders. This helps give a “human perspective” to the story.
- Provide a photo or photos if you can. You can use pictures of last year’s event if this year’s event is likely to look about the same or will capture the same type of activity. If you’re promoting a story honoring one person or a group of people, include photos of those people.
- The final paragraph of your press release is called a boilerplate. It is your club’s “About” section that appears at the very bottom of your press release. This is where you can write about your club’s mission and accomplishments. Include your club’s website and/or social media handles here. Your boilerplate should be less than 100 words.
- The final page should end with some hashtags, centered, like this: ###. This tells the media that they have accessed the entire document.
Social Media Tips & Tricks
5 General Rules of Thumb
- Pick one or two platforms and use them well. Don’t feel the need to be present on every social media platform. Facebook is a good place to reach people born before 1990. Instagram is a better place to reach people born after 1990. Twitter moves quickly. LinkedIn can be saturated with professional organization promotion. Know your audience and where your best chances of being seen are.
- If you struggle to come up with content to publish, consider sharing photos of your club’s service projects, events, or new members; content to recognize Rotary themes and important dates (World Polio Day, New Membership Month, Literacy Month, etc.); content from RI (blog posts, news, videos, online articles from the Rotary Magazine). Remember, Rotary is bigger than just our clubs, so it’s nice to show people what Rotary is doing in other parts of the country and the world.
- Make sure that the person who is making your club’s social media posts is a good writer! This is important to making sure that your club puts its best face forward.
- Have some personality! Give your pages and posts some character and have fun with your social media.
Facebook Tips & Tricks
- Aim to post at least once a week.
- Use images, videos, or links as often as you can in your posts. Facebook gives a higher preference to posts that contain additional media than it does to plain text posts.
- Hashtags never really took off on Facebook. If you decide to use them, use just one or two at most.
- Consider using the profile picture and cover photo for your club’s page to share some images that are specific to your club. You can use People of Action templates or photos of your club banner.
- When you mention other clubs or organizations, tag them in your Facebook posts. With any luck, they will see that tag and share the post if they’re involved (think joint projects, check presentations, service events, etc.), it will get more eyes on your content and help to spread the word about Rotary.
Instagram Tips & Tricks
- You can use your regular feed to showcase events and club news. You can use your stories (quick videos that disappear after 24 hours) to post about the day-to-day Rotary life.
- Posts photos together. You can share up to ten photos/videos at a time in a single Instagram post. Group them together rather than making a series of individual posts. When you make too many posts in a short span of time, you run the risk of having your followers start ignoring your content or unfollowing you.
- DO use hashtags. Hashtags are a good way to find similar content on Instagram. For Rotary, consider using hashtags such as #serviceaboveself, #peopleofaction, #rotariansatwork, #rotary7450 or #<RotaryThemeOfTheYear>.
- Remember that you can’t add links in Instagram. It’s more a platform for photos and imagery. But you can have one link in your bio. Be sure to direct people there when it’s relevant, or use a site like LinkTree to organize multiple links under a single umbrella link.
- Choose clear images with good lighting. Because Instagram is so image-based, if you’re sharing blurry and/or dark photos, it’s more likely that people will just scroll on by.
Using Canva For Your Rotary Club
What is Canva?
Canva.com is a website where you can create all sorts of design materials for your club — and it’s completely free. Whether you start with a blank slate and create your designs from scratch or you use one of Canva’s many templates, truly anyone can use this site. Consider using Canva to make your Social Media posts.
Canva Premium for Nonprofits
If your club’s foundation is registered as a 501(c)3, you can sign up for Canva’s premium features for free. This will give you access to more design elements that the basic version doesn’t have, plus it will allow you to create a brand kit — meaning that you can add the Rotary palette colors from RI’s Brand Guidelines to be sure that your material is always on-brand.
When you create a Canva account, you may wish to start with a blank document (you can choose a custom size or from one of their template defaults) in order to play around with some of the design elements. This is a much more powerful graphic design tool than creating images in your office suite software, but not as complicated and complex as something like Photoshop, Quark, or Adobe Illustrator.
Additionally, all of the templates are fully customizable. If you see something and you like the basic design, you can change the colors, pictures, fonts, wording, etc. There is a wide range of templates to choose from for just about all of your needs. Below are just some of the templates Canva offers.
The social media templates are particularly helpful because then you always have the correct sizing and never have to worry about image distortion or images getting cropped in Instagram.
Saving and Sharing Your Graphics
You can save all of your graphics as .JPG, .PNG, or .PDF documents. When sharing to social media, .PNG is typically the best to use because they do not experience the same level of compression that .JPG images do, meaning that they’ll look crisper and neater once they’re published on your social media pages. You cannot upload PDF documents as images on social media or on your website.
If you are designing a document for printing, such as a flyer or newsletter, you will want to save your design as a PDF.
All of your designs will be saved in your Canva account, as well, and you can edit, revise, make copies, and download them again as many times as you need to. If you register for the Canva Premium for Nonprofits, you can create a team and add other members so that you can collaborate on designs for your club.
There is a little bit of a learning curve to Canva, but it’s doable for anyone. It’s a game-changer!