The impact that Rotary brings to a city is incredible but, appreciating what one (or a group) of clubs is doing often falls through the cracks and never gets noticed.
In an effort to make sure citizens in Nanaimo, British Columbia, are not only mindful of what Rotary is doing, but how people can get involved, the five local clubs (through the Area 4 Public Image group) initiated a full-page awareness campaign that is published monthly in the local newspaper.
The project was a combined effort with the five clubs plus the Rotaract club and the Nanaimo Bulletin newspaper. It allows each club to feature a message about what they are doing, events and projects they are involved in, and programs they are supporting. In addition, it gives readers an opportunity to find out how they can find out more about Rotary and each club with internet links to each club’s websites.
The monthly page is paid for by local businesses and organizations that have stepped up to be ‘Rotary supporters.’ “It’s been a win-win for Rotary, the community, and our supporters,” explained Bev Hilton, Area 4 Public Image chair. “Many people have heard about Rotary, but now we have a vehicle for taking our message (and what we are doing) directly to more people on a regular basis.
The whole idea was to reach out to the community and to keep them informed while spreading the fact – Rotary does make a difference. As well, because of the commitment of our sponsors, they are now being recognized as businesses that stand behind the projects and programs the five clubs believe in.”
Each month, club PI directors supply a ‘key story, message and picture’ to the paper that is laid out and published. Every club circulates through the top-left position (depending on the project or event that is being promoted that month); not only is it published in the paper, but an electronic version of the full page is returned to each club.
Directors then re-circulate the e-version full-page via their own website and a variety of social media platforms. “We also encourage every member to forward the e-version to their own groups, friends, and family. It’s all about making sure we are extending our reach and penetrating into new areas,” said Hilton.
Reaction to the monthly page has been very positive, and despite working through an unusual Covid year and Zoom meetings, “some clubs have had inquiries about new memberships and projects have been getting strong support locally, and throughout Vancouver Island,” added Hilton.