Apply for a PR grant by 4 March to enhance Rotary's image
The Capitol of Puerto Rico shines with an End Polio Now message, part of an integrated public relations campaign that included billboards, radio, and media interviews. Photo by Manolo Diaz
A Public Relations Grant helped John Richardson, past governor of District 7000 (Puerto Rico), turn a good idea for promoting Rotary into an even better one.
Richardson began his year as governor last July with a simple plan to reinvigorate and reposition the Rotary brand in Puerto Rico by using billboards alongside two busy highways. That idea led to an elaborate light show on the capitol building in San Juan, featuring Rotary's End Polio Now message.
Richardson's district initially received a US$9,000 PR grant from Rotary International for the advertising campaign, which also included radio spots. Puerto Rico's 32 clubs also provided funding.
The campaign cascaded into something bigger when the district applied for a separate $5,000 grant from RI to fund a 23 February lighting to commemorate Rotary’s anniversary. Richardson found a sponsor to match that $5,000, giving him enough to coordinate a 3-D light show on the capitol.
The district team worked closely with RI Media Relations to prepare to speak about Rotary on live television, including a popular morning show. The lighting event drew a crowd of nearly 500 people, including government officials.
“It was really wonderful to see,” says Richardson.
The RI Board has agreed to fund $4 million in PR grants annually for the next three years to advance the strategic priority of enhancing public image and awareness.
Your district can follow District 7000's example by applying for a PR grant of up to $15,000 to promote Rotary through television, radio, print, outdoor, or online public service announcements in your community.
The early application deadline for 2012-13 PR grants is 4 March. District governors will receive email notification of grant approval or denial by 1 July, enabling districts to begin their projects at the start of the Rotary year. Learn more.
Looking for more good examples to share with your district? Here's how a few other districts have used PR grants to promote Rotary:
- In Taiwan, District 3520 placed Rotary's 30-second public service announcement videos in the lobbies of more than 500 buildings, strategically located near the elevators. About 700,000 people saw them.
- District 4290 in Colombia adapted Rotary's billboard depicting a child receiving oral polio vaccine to include local service projects focused on water, literacy, and hunger. It placed billboards throughout the district for six months.
- In the San Francisco Bay Area, districts 5130, 5150, 5160, and 5170 sponsored a Walk to End Polio across the Golden Gate Bridge for World Polio Day, 24 October. A PR grant helped fund " This Close " billboards on buses and at the airport, as well as magazine ads and radio spots. The event included an End Polio Now lighting on the Ferry Building near the bridge.
- Rotarians in District 6840, which covers parts of Louisiana and Mississippi, USA, negotiated a special discount rate to place Humanity in Motion billboards around New Orleans before and during the 2011 RI Convention, complementing Rotary International's own ad placements.
- In India, District 3212 published an eight-page color supplement in the Hindu , a newspaper with a circulation of 1.45 million. The January 2009 supplement featured materials from Humanity in Motion and the RI website.
- In New Zealand, District 9910 localized Humanity in Motion billboards by adding contact information. The district, which also covers New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, and Vanuatu, also landed free advertising in all bus shelters in New Zealand’s populous Auckland Region.
PR grants are awarded on a competitive basis. Contact email@example.com for more information.