Rotary Has Heart kicks off in Zone 33

Rotary's six areas of focus.Again this year, Zones 33-34 Director Robert Hall has asked clubs to designate one of their first quarter 2016 events (because Valentine’s Day fits into this period) as a Rotary Has Heart project and seek significant community awareness from the event. Clubs may choose any of their projects that fit within one of the six areas of focus:

• Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
• Disease prevention and treatment
• Water and sanitation
• Maternal and child health
• Basic education and literacy
• Economic and community development

One club in each district will be recognized at the Zone level for its efforts. Each Governor (or designee) will select what he or she considers to be the best Rotary Has Heart club community service project with related publicity in his or her district. This club president will receive a painting by George Lewis “The Waterman,” and 1,000 Paul Harris recognition points. The club president can use the painting and/or recognition points to honor a Rotarian or non-Rotarian who has made a significant contribution to their local community or use for fundraising for PolioPlus.

Here are three logo options, a press release, and proclamation to help you publicize your event:

Rotary Has Heart Logo
Logo with Areas of Focus


Sample Press Release

Sample Proclamation

Of course you will want to take photos at the event, post to Facebook and Twitter, try to get local media coverage and use all of your traditional resources to make your community aware of what Rotary does.

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Use your website as a recruiting tool

The website of the Raleigh Midtown Rotary Club is a good example of current information with nice photos.

The website of the Raleigh Midtown Rotary Club in District 7710 is a good example of current information with nice photos.

Most of our clubs have a website. But are you using it most effectively, especially to attract and retain members; and make information available to local media outlets?

Be sure your site is current. Information about club officers  or projects from three years ago probably will not be helpful to attract new members.

Your website could be a place to list upcoming speakers (your Facebook page is another option), or to show photos of your most recent service projects. Both members and prospects like to know who’s speaking at the club.

Prospects might find they like the service projects you’re doing and want to know more about your club. The community groups with which you worked on a project might send their visitors to your club’s site for additional information, and if your site is engaging, they might become prospective members.

Include photos of your current members. When you write a caption for the photo, identify the members in the picture and the business where they work. Potential members might know either the member or the business, which instantly creates a connection between your club and a prospect.

And, of course, remember to update your website with Rotary’s new branding to bring consistency to our public image.

These are just a couple of ideas on how your website can help you find prospective members. If you’ve used your site in other ways to increase your membership, please share.

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7630 Rotary ad wins competition

A District 7630 Rotary radio advertisement, featuring the warm, smooth voice of Wilmington, Delaware, Rotarian Pete Booker, won first place in Radio Advertising Category of the National Federation of Press Women Contest.

The Rotary Radio Advertisement was entered in the national contest after garnering first place honors in the Delaware Press Association contest. The advertisement was entered by 2014-15 District Public Image Chair Roxanne Ferguson and was created as part of the 2013-14 District 7630 Public Image Grant funded by Rotary International.

Congratulations to immediate past governor Jen Reider, now an assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator for Zone 33, and her team, especially PI chair Roxanne.

Click below to listen to the PSA.

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Media experts give their advice

Clarissa, Annette, Sandra, Bob and Tiffany, media professionals with good tips to get your news out.

Clarissa, Annette, Sandra, Bob and Tiffany, media professionals with good tips to get your news out.

A panel of seven media experts led two breakout sessions at our Zone 33 Training session May 29-30. The panel had lots of suggestions on how Rotary clubs could get their news out. Making personal contact and building relationships with individual members of the media was the number one suggestion from all of the panelists.

Other key suggestions

If your club wants coverage in advance of an event, don’t wait until the last minute to contact the media. Several weeks out, call to find out what the deadlines are and meet them.

Don’t write an epistle about your event. Stick to the main facts. Make it easy for an editor to grasp what you are asking for. Write a strong and catchy headline that tells the editor immediately what your release is about.

Don’t expect a lot of response if you send a press release with grammatical or spelling errors. If you’re not a good writer, find someone in your club that can at least proofread your release before you send it.

The panelists included:

Annette Bryant, owner of a radio station in Marion, NC.
Angela Bensdorf Jamison. a PR professional in Raleigh, NC
Sandra Smith, manager of a television station in Rocky Mount, NC
Sandra McKinney, a newspaper editor in Rocky Mount, NC
Clarissa Harris, a PR professional in Washington, DC
Tiffany Ervin, a television personality in Hendersonville, NC
Bob Manning, owner of several radio stations in New Bern, NC

Angela Jamison’s Tips
Read a summation of tips for working with the media

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Publicizing Your Rotary Club From Media Insiders-Series Wrap-Up

We have talked about PSAs, press releases, advertising, and production as I’ve tried to help you understand televisions (and radio somewhat) from a media insider. Now to wrap it all up.

By Constance H. Knox
General Manager of CBS10WILM (Wilmington) and 2014-15 President of the Wilmington (NC) Cape Fear Rotary Club

I have concluded the on Publicizing Your Rotary Club from Industry Insiders. I hope it has helped you to understand how the various departments within the stations work, interact and how you can maximize your efforts with the media.

My best advice is to create a list of media outlets, keep separate list for the different needs such as PSA Directors, Sales Managers, Creative Services and Newsrooms. While they all work together they also work independently and you’ll have some of your campaigns that will only apply to one area and others that appeal to all of the departments of a station. Keep your lists up to date and pass them on to your successors when you step down.

Have many Rotarians working on your publicity committees with one person in charge. This is really a big team effort. Football games are not won by a couple of people; it takes many coaches and players to make a winning team.

Have each of the people on your committee in charge of one or two areas. For example, have one person who writes press releases, one who writes stories, one who sends press releases to newsrooms, another sends information to PSA Directors, one in charge of social media postings, one in charge of your club newsletter, one in charge of publicity on your own website, one in charge of the creative content (creates the print ads, graphics etc.), one in charge of producing the video and radio spots and so on.

Divide up the tasks, each creates relationships in their given area, but have a synergistic messaging over the given flight so that all efforts and promotional campaigns spread like a spider web. All of this driven by a strong leader (Promotions Director at your club) but takes input from the entire team. You’ll also need great communications between the Club Board of Directors and the Promotions Team as together this larger team should be driving and solving the needs the messaging will provide.

In my opinion, the Promotions Team is probably the most important team in your club (after the Board of Directors). You can have a great club but if no one knows about it, what good is it? You can create a fundraiser but if no one knows about it, how much money will it raise? You can do great service projects, but without bragging about it, how much support will you get next time you ask for help?

A great promotions team provides extra icing on the cake. With an active promotions effort it shows the community and potential new members that you are an active vibrant club. It’s the “If you build it they will come” syndrome.

Throughout my Presidency at our club I’ve been professing that if we build a great club (and we already had one) and we let everyone know about it, membership will grow. People will want to be a part of a club that is active, doing things, making a difference and one that is being talked about on the street. But without great promotions and publicity, no one knows about it. If you build it – tell everyone about it… membership will grow! That’s the icing on the cake!

One parting shot… Promote the people in your club. These are the men and women who work tirelessly to do great things in the world. In your publicity efforts, give them a little recognition along the way while promoting your efforts whenever possible.

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Publicizing Your Rotary Club From Media Insiders: Part Four – Production – Producing Your PSA or Commercial Spo

In this section we’ll concentrate on Producing Your PSA or Commercial Spot. Here we’ll explore what you need to have in your message and how you can get it produced.

By Constance H. Knox
General Manager of CBS10WILM (Wilmington) and 2014-15 President of the Wilmington (NC) Cape Fear Rotary Club

There are really three types of messaging when thinking about promotions and advertising your Rotary club. There is promoting “name recognition or branding,” “reputation” and “events.” In some cases you’ll be hitting all three in one spot. But be mindful what you’re real motivation is for each spot you produce. For example if you’re promoting the annual fundraiser then that is your number one focus of the PSA. The name recognition and reputation are byproducts of your efforts and really don’t need to be talked about in your spot.

There’s a great spot that Rotary International produced that talks about how “Rotary was the original social network.” This is an example of branding (name recognition) and a reputation spot but does not promote a specific event. The “call to action” simply says “Come join us” and then visually you’ll see Rotary International. Here is the link to see how this is a Rotary “branding” spot.

This spot can be acquired from RI for your own club use as well as other generic spots. I downloaded this spot and customized it with our District “” (changing the call to action) in the end and we run it here in Wilmington, NC as a PSA. Note that you may need final approval from RI before airing your spot.

Let’s get started! You have three parts to producing a PSA or commercial. Preproduction (planning), Production (the shoot) and Post Production (the editing). All three are talked about simultaneously below as I’m focusing this discussion on the elements you need in a commercial more than the technical process.

You have a short period of time to be impactful (usually 30-60 seconds). So here’s what I’m always telling our advertising clients.

  • Are you promoting an event, name recognition or are you building a reputation?
  • Write down 10 things you’d like to say in your commercial. Then prioritize them and know that probably only the top five are going to fit in thirty seconds.
  • Plan a multi-platform campaign with a synergistic message using TV, radio, web, print and social media.
  • Think about the five W’s (Who, What, Where, When, Why and How). This is mostly for event driven promotions.
  • Plan your flight (dates you want this campaign to run).
  • Know your brand and or tag line. For example: Toyota is the brand and “Let’s go places!” is the tag line. Do you have one? If you’re promoting an event you may not need one, but a catchy tag line is always impactful and memorable.

So now you have some of the basic ideas that need to go into your commercial or PSA. Now what? You need to find someone to produce a quality spot fit for air.

Television stations have production departments for hire. Most TV stations will not produce your PSA for free. Some will, but don’t count on it. You might try aligning with an ad agency. They can be helpful too if they have a heart for your organization or mission. You can also try local production companies.

With all of the above suggestions you should expect to pay for your production,  but it shouldn’t break the bank. It’s worth your investment.

Lastly if you’re looking for free options and you’ve haven’t had any luck with the television stations, ad agencies or production companies, try your local colleges and universities. They might take it on as a student project. Most colleges have video production departments. Some of them have been turning out quality work. You might also try your local camera clubs. The latest generation of digital cameras (DSLRs) these days shoot broadcast quality video and many hobbyists are getting into shooting and editing video.

Scripting or An Outline – Assuming you’ve found someone who can help you produce your PSA or commercial (I’m going to refer to it as a “spot” from now on) now it’s time to script it. The easiest suggestion for this is to take the top five items you prioritized above and write it out like a narrator would say it. Then add a “call to action”.

Call to Action – A “call to action” is a web address or a phone number where the viewer can go for more information. Sometimes it can be a location and time but not usually. Remember that your spot is only thirty seconds long and is a fleeting moment. So the odds are most of the details in your spot will not be remembered. However, if your “Call to Action” is impactful (like a web address) they can learn more and or be reminded of the message. I highly recommend that you use a web address that is memorable. This could be at the end of your spot or throughout your spot graphically along the bottom. It’s best to do your “Call to Action” both visually and aurally. A “Call to Action might sound something like “To learn more go to Cape Fear Rotary Dot Com” and look like “”.


  • When using a web address do not include the “http://” or the “www.” By doing so it clutters the screen and is more stuff the viewer must read to find your web address in that fleeting moment. With today’s web browsers if you type it will automatically take you to Thus no need for the www.
  • When using web addresses on the air or in any visual medium capitalize the first letter of each word in your web address such as It reads easier and helps make an impression that can be remembered.
  • Make sure your website is working for whatever you’re publicizing before putting it on the air. You don’t want to call someone to “take action” (going to your website) only to have not built the page or have last year’s information up there.
  • I don’t recommend using phone numbers. They are hard to remember and if something should happen and you had to change the phone number, you’d have to then supply a new spot to every station… and hope it gets swapped out in a timely manner. If you really want to use a phone number, put it on your website and send them there (to the website) in the TV commercial.
  • Use a friendly URL. Don’t have something so long it’s hard to remember and that doesn’t make sense. Web addresses are easy to create and can redirect to your real website. You could even be clever with your web address like com (I know a Rotary club that raffles off a Harley every few years as a fundraiser). This is memorable and could redirect to a webpage about the Harley and how to buy a raffle ticket.

Timing Your Narration – Now you have a draft of a script/narration and your “call to action”. Then read it out loud (you must read it out loud for proper timing) with a stop watch. Read it over and over again. For a thirty second spot you’ll want to come in at about 25 seconds of narration. This gives time for the video editor to open, close and pace the timing of the spot properly. If you’re consistently reading it at 35-40 seconds, don’t think a professional narrator will be able to do it faster. Most likely you have too much script. Go back and cut out unnecessary words. Get to the point quickly. Have a professional narrator or someone who has a clean clear voice do the voice over for the spot. Sometimes you can get a radio announcer your local station to do it for you.

Visual Materials – You’ll need to either shoot, produce or dig up visual materials when dealing with a TV spot. They don’t just magically appear on TV, you have to provide them. If you don’t have any video to use, consider finding some still images from previous similar project or event. For example if you do a fundraiser every year, pull out some pictures from last year’s event. This is critical for the viewer to see your event. If you have video, that is most helpful. Keep in mind; people are what make Rotary work… and its people that are most impactful in your video productions. They provide the emotions that are memorable in your spots. The visual materials are your most important element of any PSA or commercial. The old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” is still true today. Put some effort into finding good visual materials. If you’re using still images, provide the video editor a dozen of your best shots. Not all of them will make it into the final cut, but that’s about what you’ll need if you don’t have video to use. Lastly, electronic files are best instead of prints.

Beyond the Visual Materials and Narration:

  • Audio
    • Sometimes a silent message will create attention, it’s something to consider.
    • Note: If the narration is written and the audio is produced correctly, the audio portion of your spot might be suitable for radio. Keep that in mind when writing your spot. Try… with your eyes closed listening to the audio of your spot; will the listener get the entire message? Will they see it in their minds? If so, it probably will make a good radio spot.
    • Sound effects will also help tell the story on both TV and radio. For radio spots it will really help the listener imagine what is going on in the spot.
    • Music? It must be properly licensed to air. Consult with your producer about music licenses and music libraries for common production use. You can’t use any music without the artist’s permission… even for a PSA and or web use. It’s the law… copy write law that is.
  • Graphics – This is logos and written messages on the screen. Provide your producer or editor with your Rotary club logo, any sponsor logos and exactly what you want written on the screen and at what times you want them to occur. The more you know in advance of editing the better/happier you and your editor will be. Remember – “Less is more” when it comes to graphics and font on the screen. Don’t put so much on the screen that it becomes busy.
  • Slate – (Does not air but identifies the spot for the stations). Some producers have done away with a “slate” that precedes the spot in the video. I firmly believe it is still necessary. Some believe that the file name on the electronic file is enough but I can tell you from experience that the editors and producers are not always in sync with each other on the naming of a commercial or PSA. This can cause inaccurate traffic instructions and potentially the wrong spot on air when the station doesn’t have consistent information on both your instructions and the spot itself.
  • Your slate should have all the same information that your traffic instructions do but primarily the length of the spot and the spot title. Professional editors will create these slates and have contact information, technical details, spot number/title, producer, editor, where it was produced, spot length and more. This often will appear as type font over color bars or solid background. If there are various versions or lengths of spots, then you need a slate before each spot begins that gives all of the information and differentiating lengths or version. Slates usually last for five seconds followed by a few seconds of black, followed by a short countdown to the beginning of the spot. This is all good information for the master control operators to properly ingest your commercials and PSA’s.

Provide stations with various lengths of your spot. Stations can use the following lengths (in seconds) 120, 90, 60, 30, 15 and 10 and must be exact in length. One second too long can result in a clipped tail end of the spot as station automation systems are running on exact timings.

By providing various lengths of the same message, stations have the flexibility of placing them where commercial holes are available on the stations play log. The standard commercial or PSA is 30 seconds in length. If you can only provide one length, 30 seconds is the one you need. Note: Radio stations often use a standard length of 60 seconds although some use 30 seconds as well.

Extra Tip: Keep in mind for website pre-roll (commercials that go in front of videos on the web) the standard length is 15 seconds. As long as you’re producing a spot, consider making one for the web too.

Make sure you ask stations about getting on their websites as preroll PSA’s too. Some stations allow it and others do not. These kinds of prerolls messages often go before news and weather stories on stations websites. You never know, you might just get some added exposure there.

Traffic Instructions – After the spot is produced you’ll need to send the spot to the stations and provide “traffic instructions”. The Traffic Instructions tell the station what the spot is and how long to run it.

Traffic Instructions should have:

  • The contact information (both phone and email at minimum). Production Company and Producer.
  • The name of the spot that matches the slate and file name on the spot itself.
  • The type of spot (PSA or Commercial Matter).
  • The lengths are provided.
  • The dates these spots are good to air. Usually this is listed as FTC (and a date) and LTC (and a date), meaning First Telecast and Last Telecast. In short, it is the start date and end dates (a.k.a. the “flight”).
  • This often comes to the station in the form of a memo with a To: and From: with the words TRAFFIC INSTRUCTIONS on the top. Please date your traffic instructions just like you would a memo. Check with your stations about how to deliver your Traffic Instructions and or uploading your commercials to the station. Most often stations have a dedicated email address and or an ftp site for uploading the spots.

Should you have changes that occur during the “flight” of your spot you can send revised traffic instructions. They should clearly be labeled “REVISED TRAFFIC INSTRUCTIONS” with a date the memo was written and explaining the revisions clearly along with all the information listed above.

If your flight ends early or extends, send revised traffic instructions. Please be mindful of the stations generosity in airing your PSA. If you no longer need a PSA to run, for example your fundraiser is sold out, please notify the Traffic Managers at your stations to pull the spot ASAP so that others might have an opportunity to air their PSA or the station can sell that time.

Get to know the Traffic Managers and PSA Directors. Every station (radio and TV) has them. They can really be an asset to your efforts and they will appreciate the communications. They’d rather hear from you than not hear from you. They are very busy but tracking people down can be a challenge and frustrating for them at times. Just think about how many commercials air every day. Traffic Managers are responsible for all of them and have communicated with someone about every one of those spots that air. By you reaching out to them, helps them to make sure they’re helping you. Create a relationship with your Traffic Managers; you’ll be glad you did.

Keep a copy of all of your spots and the elements you provided to create them. Don’t rely on stations to be your archives. They purge the commercial content after about 3-6 months if a spot has not aired.

Rotary Resource: or a more curated selection at Most of the videos are free to download. You only need to sign up for a free <> account. Rotary contact: Chanele Williams, Media Relations Specialist.

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Publicizing Your Rotary Club From Media Insiders: Part 3 Advertising

In this section we’ll concentrate on advertising your club, events and when it makes sense to do so. Advertising obviously comes at a cost and is not free as you might get with public service announcements and news stories. Just because there is a cost here, don’t ignore this section thinking that you don’t have the budget for it. You should be aware and understand all of your options for the many items you’ll publicize within your club. I have some great ideas for your club here. I promise this is worth the read. Additionally, I’ve even got some free advertising ideas for you.

By Constance H. Knox
General Manager of CBS10WILM (Wilmington) and 2014-15 President of the Wilmington (NC) Cape Fear Rotary Club

As you develop your club and projects consider setting aside some advertising money. This could be anything from koozie can holders, t-shirts, posters, flyers and table tents to radio, TV, outside billboards, online and print media advertising. All of these options are promoting your club and your end goal in an effort to get results greater than your investment. A well thought out advertising plan can reap huge rewards for your club.

advertising1Keep in mind that purchasing advertising along with your PSA and news story efforts will help ensure that your message gets out there (in case neither your news story nor PSA makes the air). Keep in mind that both news stories and PSAs are at the will of the station or organization and you have no guarantee it will run. It is all subject to station priorities and space available. You never know what competition you have out there for the “free” space at the media outlet. Purchasing advertising will help make sure your message is heard when and where you want it.

Just because you buy advertising don’t expect the newsroom or PSA Director to be obligated to run your story/PSA. Ethically newsrooms will not have anything to do with the sales departments in an effort to keep the news unbiased. This makes for a good ethical news organization—the type that viewers trust—the type of organization you want to do business with as well as with whom you want your club associated.

Before we let anyone advertise on our TV stations, we perform a CNA or a “Client Needs Analysis.” This allows us to evaluate the needs, mission, expectations and message of the client. We try to guide advertisers into what is right for them and what makes sense based on their needs and budget. If we don’t think it will work, we won’t recommend it. Our job is to make the advertising work for the client and drive business to the advertiser. If it doesn’t raise their revenue well beyond their investment, they won’t be back. We are very invested in making sure it works for our advertisers.

So here are just a few of the key components that we look at in determining the needs. Be thinking about this with regard to your club, event, project etc.

  • What’s your mission with this publicity effort? What is it that you want in the end? This could be raising money at your fundraiser, specific project or increasing membership, etc.
  • What is the problem you hope to solve with this publicity?
  • What is your time frame?
  • What are your expectations?
  • What is your measure for success and is it reasonable?
  • What is your message?
  • If you could say just five short things about your message, what are they? What is absolutely vital (the most important thing) in your message?
  • Who is your audience? Who are you trying to reach? What age, gender, income levels or interests?
  • Why would anyone care about your message? What will make them think twice?
  • What is your budget? Do you have one?

There is a lot more to this, but that’s a great start if you can answer those questions before talking to an Account Executive (media sales person).

Consider frequency regardless if you’re buying advertising or getting your message out somewhere else. Three is usually the magic number. It takes three impressions for someone to take action (if they’re going to take action). First time they see it, it’s informative to the viewer. The second time they see it they consider it. The third time they’re reminded that they wanted to do something about it and may take action.

So let’s say you have no idea where to start. I suggest you contact the sales manager at your local media outlets and create relationships with them. Let them know the answers to all of those questions above. The goal here is to get results. They can guide you based on who you’re trying to reach as to where best to invest your money. They have tons of quality research available that may help provide insight as to where your audience is hiding. They also have creative ideas to help stretch your dollars or possibly help with some advertising that might not cost your organization anything.

Ah “free”… the magic word. Well we all know that there really is nothing without some cost. However, there are options out there they might be a win-win-win for everyone involved and might not cost your organization much if anything at all.

So here’s the “free” advice I promised. This is the take-away… the big secret…

Some of the regular media’s advertisers love “charity tie-ins.” What’s that you say? What’s a “charity tie-in”? A Charity Tie-In is when a regular advertiser wants to be a part of a charity or charity event and might be willing to help pay to publicize your cause. They do this for community good will, to create trust and the extra exposure for their company. The results can be huge gains for the company and the charity. It kind of depends on the situation and advertising campaign—and the hook—but it can be a real benefit to the media, the charity and the sponsoring company.

Here’s an example of how that might work. Let’s say a local furniture store sponsors a contest of some sort for a Rotary club fundraiser. They offer to put up a new living room set as the grand prize and publicize it in their regular advertising on their media buys (free exposure to the Rotary Club). What’s in it for the sponsor? During the contest Rotarians are making sure that the sponsor is getting a ton of publicity by talking about it as they sell lots of tickets, posting it on social media everywhere and constantly. Rotarians are selling raffle tickets; printing posters with the sponsor’s name really BIG on them (more exposure for the company) and the furniture company gets a great reputation for helping this cause.

All of that is great but that’s not the real kicker. The real kicker is the words “free” in their ads. Anytime there is a chance to win something for free, people take notice which is exactly what everyone wants. Also, the bigger the prize you have, the greater the return on investment. Having said that, make sure that your publicity efforts match the size of your prize.

Now the real trick for the sponsor is to drive customers into their store (to give them a return on their investment). The reality is that most companies sponsor for the publicity not necessarily for the charity (although a good cause helps). So perhaps there is another hook or prize for entering at the stores location. Have a Rotary day (service project) at the furniture store parking lot the day they do a Big Sale. Get the Rotarians to come out and support the effort. Bring friends, family, have a hotdog stand, a bouncy house, clowns, a crane flying a huge American flag flying or balloons to show everyone that something big is happening here. The store will love all the attention and I bet you can get most of your items donated.

All of this is publicized not only in the media advertising by the participating sponsor but as a Rotary club; you’re putting out press releases, pushing for PSA time, social media and so on.

Perhaps you try to break a world record in the furniture stores parking lot! If it’s a big enough of an event then it will rise to the level of a news story, and now the sponsor and the club benefit even more. You can’t buy that kind of advertising for a Rotary club.

But wait there’s more! Have a human element. Don’t just give away furniture, but make it worth a human cause. Find the human element in this entire project. Who are you helping? Get their story involved. Are you helping a vet? Kids? Rebuilding a church or what? Don’t forget the real end game here—what you were trying to achieve?

Not long ago, a used car dealership here gave away two cars every year in a charity tie-in contest. He printed tickets and gave them to every charity in town and told them to sell them for $10 each for a chance to win a car and the charities could keep 100% of the money. He asked for nothing in return. The dealership owner told me between the price of two cars and the printing all of those individually numbered tickets cost him over $120,000. He single handedly raised thousands and thousands of dollars for dozens of charities on his $120,000 investments. Every local news organization on television, radio and in print covered the big count down for weeks and weeks. His return on his investment was phenomenal. He also used his media buys to help promote the charity car give-away event that lasted months.

He became the #1 used car dealer in the area at the time. He truly believed in giving back to his community and this was the way he did it. Dozens of charities reaped the benefits of people trying for a chance to win a car. When it was over, his reputation was huge and beyond measure. He became the guy car shoppers felt they could trust, someone parents felt they could send their kids to shop for their first car. His was the car dealership that everyone thought of first when shopping for a used car. By the way, he was a Rotarian.

So the long and the short of it is this:  you may not know what opportunities are out there until you talk to a media sales manager. We get advertisers all the time asking us for charity tie-ins. If you can create a relationship with the sales managers of your local media outlets, they might be able to marry you up with a willing advertiser.

Lastly, check with your own membership. You might have a business owner in your club who is willing to be the charity tie-in partner you’re seeking.

Make sure you inquire about online advertising, social media, the media’s website as well as traditional commercial advertising. Don’t ignore the sales department thinking you don’t have money to advertise. They might just be your biggest asset.

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How do you wear your Rotary?

How you choose to wear the Rotary symbol is not as important as your choice to wear it.

By Walter “Cap” Neilson,
Assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator

In 1905 when Rotary was founded, it was an all male organization and most men in early 20th Century America wore jackets and ties.  Thus, the venerable lapel pin was the standard for members to identify themselves as Rotarians. The lapel pin was a tradition that continued into the late 20th Century.

How do you wear Rotary?

How do you wear Rotary?

In 1988, Rotary started admitting women and, at first, only the lapel pin was available. At about the same time, Americans were becoming less formal and the definition of ‘business attire’ began to change. Lapel pins just didn’t work on the more delicate fabrics of women’s clothing. Plus, women began to demand more fashionable items in “Rotary wear.”

Today a variety of different alternatives are available for Rotarians to tell the world about their organization. One of the more popular items is the magnetic “lapel pin” that works well on shirt collars and sweaters, as well as on blouses. Other Rotarians choose to display their membership through jewelry, charms and watches. The choices appear endless as one visits a number of Rotary approved vendors who offer Rotary merchandise.

Whatever the choice, most merchandise “stars” the famous Rotary wheel and, increasingly, the new “Master Brand.” In this era of brand identification, the Rotary wheel remains as one of the world’s most recognizable icons and the new brand is expected to enhance that image.

How you choose to wear the Rotary symbol is not as important as your choice to wear it. The Rotary Wheel and the new Master Brand has been proven as being the best advertisement to bring new members into clubs. It says simply that you are a person of integrity and that you believe in serving your community.

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Publicizing Your Rotary Club From Media Insiders: Part 2-The Newsroom

Newsrooms and a little bit about how they decide if your story is newsworthy. Second part of a four-part series on working with the media.

By Constance H. Knox
General Manager of CBS10 WILM and President of the Wilmington Cape Fear Rotary Club

When does your club event or story go beyond being a Public Service Announcement and becomes a newsworthy story? Typically it rises to a newsworthy story when there is human interest or something extraordinary happens… something the news viewers are going to find interesting.  When the local charity is doing a pumpkin patch fundraiser that’s most likely a PSA. However, when the pumpkin patch fundraiser helps a young cancer victim fight the battle of his life it’s a human interest story which may rise to the level of news worthiness to a news director or managing editor.

Think about what is “in the news” lately. Recently our club built a bus stop in an under-privileged part of town. While I didn’t think it was a newsworthy story, our managing editor said bus stop safety had been big in the news lately and, in fact, would be a newsworthy story given the recent events. Some of your community service projects solve a problem and just might be a newsworthy story.

Newsworthy items needs to be treated differently than PSAs. For this you need to send out “Press Releases” or have a press conference for the media in hopes that the newsrooms pick up your story.

Let’s start with the press release. Please make sure you learn the format for Press Releases. I suggest you search online for “press release formats” to get an idea of how they are laid out. There is a ton of good information out there on how to write a press release, but here are a few reminders and tips.

  • Make sure the words “Press Release,” “Media Release” or “Media Advisory” in bold font is on the top.
  • Make sure you have “For Immediate Release” or “For Release on mm/dd/yyyy”.

TIP: If you use “For Immediate Release” use tomorrows date if you’re sending it out today so that you don’t miss anyone’s copy deadlines. If you send a press release out at 3pm with today’s date it may end up in the trash if the editor thinks its old news tomorrow when they get around to reading it.

  • Next use three asterisks centered like below at the beginning and end of the public information you want the world to know.

*  *  *

Use a Title in Bold – Tell the story in as few words as possible in the title!
(It doesn’t mean they’ll use it but you’re trying to get the editors attention with it.)

This is my story and I’m sticking to it. Here (between the two sets of three asterisks) you would use the old five “W’s” of journalism (Who, What, Where, When and Why… and maybe How if it applies). This is the part that is all public information. Any person’s name, phone, website or email address here could be used on the air or online as public information as part of the story. Be mindful of what personal information you put here.

If you want a “call to action” to tell people to register for your event (for example), make sure that you put the website here within the sets of asterisks. I often see type “full justified” here as well. Outside of the asterisks is usually “left justified” but not always. Note it is not necessary to put all of the http://www before your website unless it is unusual. Everyone knows that is a web address but do try to include a hyper-link if possible. I also recommend capitalizing the first letter of every word in the web address as I did above to make it easy to remember.

  *  *  *

  • End your public information with three more asterisks as I did above here. This separates the part of your story that you want printed or released to the public. Anything outside of those stars tells the news editor additional information, like who to contact for more information (but would not be included in the story).
  • Be sure to end your press release after the three asterisks with the words “For more information about this press release contact:”… and add the person’s name, phone and or email address who can answer questions about this story. Sometimes it may be several people with different responsibilities.  Make it easy for an editor to contact you. A snail mail address is usually not necessary. Editors are working on deadlines and will most likely call you before emailing you. Therefore, if you get a message that one has called, get back to them quickly or you may lose your opportunity to get your story on the air.

To recap what a press release might look like…


 For Immediate Release: Tuesday, December 16th, 2015

  *  *  *

Rotary Club Has Eye Catching Title Here

(Separated by a space)

Every great story starts with the end first and then goes into the back story in the next few paragraphs. For example it might start with something like “The Rotary Club of the XXXX builds a wheel chair ramp for hometown hero and wounded veteran First and Last Name who just returned home from deployment”.

Then in the next paragraphs, tell his/her story and details. This is where you talk about the “Five W’s” of every great story in this body of text. This is also where you might give verified statistics which help support your efforts. Any information that helps to inform and educate the public goes here, keep it brief and use only what is really relevant.

Close your story with a resolve about how your club is reaching out to help this person or how the public can get involved with your event/need etc. This is your “call to action” from the public if you have one. Even if you’re just telling a story of something your club has accomplished, you might end with information about your club and how one can get involved or where to go for more information about this story.

To learn more about XYZ Rotary Club go to

 *  *  *

For more information about this Press Release contact: Jane Doe – Jane’s title or position in the club at or at (123)456-7890.

Lastly, include photos, video or other visual materials if you have them. “A Picture is worth a thousand words” is so true! Just look at Facebook. It is the pictures that catch your eye first then you stop to read the story behind the picture. Every club usually has a good photographer, use their talents.

So now that you have an understanding about press releases, let’s talk about press conferences. Press conferences are often used when someone or a group wants to make an announcement. Here are some tips for hosting a press conference.

  • Have them early in the day so that stations can meet their deadlines. Usually no later than 10am or 11am at the latest.
  • Give stations as much advanced notice about the press conference as possible and what it’s about. Ideally you’ll want to let them know at least a week in advance.
  • Follow up with a phone call to the news directors and editors to see if they plan to run the story or if they have any further questions (if they have not already contacted you).
  • You’ll need a “hook” to get them there. For example, if we use the story from above about the home town wounded vet getting a wheel chair ramp, then make the vet and club leaders available for interviews at the vets home. Do the press conference in front or near the ramp if possible. This will give the station lots of good visual material to shoot to go along with the story.
  • Even the best “hook” may get your story sidelined if it’s a big news day.

Make sure that you have people on hand to interact with the press at the press conference and have extra copies of your press kit available to them. Press kits usually have the press release, photo’s, CD’s (with electronic copies of approved photos, video clips, etc.) in a folder… with contact information included.

Keep a news press list up to date at all times. This will be a different list than that for PSA’s, Advertising or Production contacts. Don’t assume that employees of the station will forward your press release to the correct department. You never know if they are out, busy with a deadline or on vacation. This also speaks to the follow up call again, to make sure the right person received your information and to give you an idea of how many may be attending your press conference. Make sure you contact the assignment desk the day prior to your press conference for one final confirmation.

Don’t be disappointed if your story does not make it to air or in the paper. Look around on their website. Even if it doesn’t make the newscast doesn’t mean the station didn’t pick it up on the web or other locations. If you do find it on their website, make sure your share it in social media. The media appreciates it and you further your exposure.

Hopefully that helps you understand a little more about how you can work with your local media newsrooms. Do your best to develop those relationships in the newsrooms. As you do, they may help give you some additional insight as to better further your newsworthiness.

As a career television media professional and Rotarian I was asked to help our Rotary Clubs understand what you need to know about the media and how you can maximize your publicity efforts for your clubs. In an effort to keep things simple and due to the length of this article, I’ve divided this up into four parts…

·         Part One: Public Service Announcements (a.k.a. PSAs)

·         Part Two: News

·         Part Three: Advertising

·         Part Four: Producing Your PSA or Commercial Spot

Be sure to check out the other parts of this overall insider’s advice on publicizing your club and events.

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Visual Identity Guidelines for all Rotary youth programs

Continuing our rebranding efforts, Rotary International has released visual identity guidelines specific to our youth programs. This new look will better align Interact, Rotaract, RYLA and Youth Exchange with Rotary, making it clearer how these youth programs are connected to Rotary and an important part of our story.

Download this short document that outlines the ways the new logos can be used and the specific colors and fonts that RI is asking us to use.

This is a part of the message from John Hewko, who announced the new branding for our youth programs in mid-March 2015.

In our survey last year, we learned that our new design should include Rotary, be consistent with our voice and visual identity, and convey our history even as we reach out to future participants. We wanted our design to communicate what these activities are and how Rotarians support them; for each, we did that through the Rotary Masterbrand and the Rotary wheel.


This is an example of how a RYLA logo might be designed.

This is an example of how a RYLA logo might be designed.

RYLA is a program that develops young leaders. Since it’s organized by Rotarians, we lead with your club or district logo featuring the Rotary masterbrand signature next to “RYLA” or the words “Rotary Youth Leadership Awards” in lowercase.

Rotary Youth Exchange

This is an example of how a youth exchange logo might be designed.

This is an example of how a youth exchange logo might be designed.

Rotary Youth Exchange is a program that builds cultural understanding. Since it’s organized by Rotarians, we lead with your district or multidistrict logo featuring the Rotary masterbrand signature next to “Rotary Youth Exchange” in lowercase.


Interact_RGB-ENInteract is a club for emerging leaders. These clubs are sponsored by Rotary clubs, and they’re connected to a school or a community. To show that, we put the Interact wordmark next to the Rotary wheel along with the phrase “A Rotary Sponsored Club.”


A new presentation of the Rotaract logo.

Rotaract is a club for young leaders, such as university students or young professionals. These clubs are Rotary partners, and they are based in universities or communities. We put the Rotaract wordmark next to the Rotary wheel with a phrase that affirms the role of Rotaractors as partners in service.

Within our guidelines, there’s lots of freedom. You can put this visual design into action in different ways on T-shirts, banners, and websites. You’re also welcome to develop your own designs that share what RYLA, Rotary Youth Exchange, Interact, and Rotaract mean to you. If you do, be inspired by the fonts, colors, and ideas in our voice and visual identity guidelines to connect your creativity with Rotary’s overall design principles.

The Interact and Rotaract logos are available on Brand Center. Youth Exchange and RYLA users can adapt Rotary’s primary logo to their needs.

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