PR Important Tool Survey Shows
The Membership Development and Public Relations Divisions jointly conducted a survey regarding public relations (PR) practices throughout the Rotary world. The purpose of the survey was to obtain information about Rotary clubs’ current public relations resources and initiatives, and the awareness and effectiveness of the PR tools RI provides to clubs.
Public relations efforts help increase membership recruitment, according to 70% of Rotary clubs that responded to a recent RI survey. Half the respondents said that PR also helps with retention, and 87% credited their club’s public relations work with raising community awareness of Rotary.
According to survey results, 80% of the responding clubs include PR in their annual planning, and 77% launch PR efforts to coincide with specific events or projects. Of the responding clubs, 57% have a Web site, most of which provide club information directed to the general public. Almost all respondents reported obtaining newspaper coverage, but less than 50% had secured coverage on television, radio, Internet, or billboards.
The most significant barriers to public relations efforts cited were lack of interest from the media and lack of funding. When asked about resources provided by RI, respondents ranked Rotary Basics (595-EN), What’s Rotary? (419-EN), This Is Rotary (001-EN), and Humanity in Motion PSAs as the most useful. Many respondents also reported using The Rotarian, or their regional magazine, and the RI Web site in their PR efforts.
When asked to choose the three most significant
barriers to PR efforts respondents report:
• Only 42% were aware of the PR grants.
• However, 86% would consider applying for a grant in the future, if the grants were to be continued.
Regarding lack of PR training, when
asked if RI’s PR resources give adequate training on how to obtain
media coverage, 62% of respondents said yes and 38% said no. Those who
said no were asked to elaborate. The most frequent responses were that
• Fewer than 50% of respondents had heard of Humanity in Motion I – Eradicating Polio and Effective Public Relations: A Guide for Rotary Clubs
• Fewer than 40% had heard of the Effective PR section of rotary.org, Promoting Peace through International Scholarships, and Humanity in Motion II – Promoting Peace
• Fewer than 20% had heard of the PR Tips e-newsletter and Five Easy Steps: A Guide to Public Image Projects
However, although Humanity in Motion
II – Promoting Peace, the PR Tips e-newsletter, and Five Easy
Steps: A Guide to Public Image Projects were identified as some of the
least frequently heard of or used resources, all three were rated relatively
high in usefulness by those that use them.
• Only 21% are aware of the RI Public Image Resource Group
• Only 15% know who their Public Image Resource Group coordinator is
• Of those who know who their Public Image Resource Group coordinator is:
• 17% have received support from the coordinator.
• 37% have not required support from the coordinator.
• 46% have not been contacted by the coordinator.
Lastly, 79% of clubs indicated that
they would like additional PR support from RI. To find out what kind
of support they most desire, clubs were asked to identify the most important
things they would like RI to provide.
REPORT OF RESULTS
Additionally it was determined that:
• 80% of clubs include PR in their annual planning
• 77% regularly launch PR efforts to coincide with specific events or projects
• 68% regularly have a PR committee chairperson
• Of those clubs that have a PR committee, the average committee size is 3 people (including the chair)
• 90% indicate that their district leadership emphasizes the importance of PR
To determine whether clubs’ PR efforts are increasing, decreasing, or remaining the same, clubs were asked to compare their current PR activities to their activities 2, 5, and 7 years ago.
57% of clubs indicated that their club has a Web site. Of those that have a Web site, 84% indicated that it provides information about the club directed to the general public. The frequency of updates to the club Web site is indicated in the following chart.
To understand their experience in obtaining PR coverage, clubs were asked whether or not they had obtained coverage in various media. As indicated in the following chart, most have obtained newspaper coverage, however fewer than 50% of respondents have ever obtained radio, internet, television, or billboard coverage.
Clubs were then asked to choose the three most significant barriers to PR efforts in their area. Their responses are indicated in the following chart.
As indicated in the table, most resources were considered moderately useful.
Those respondents who know how to obtain coverage in any of the mediums were then asked to rate their comfort level with obtaining coverage in that medium. As indicated in the following chart, most respondents were moderately comfortable with obtaining coverage, being most comfortable with newspaper and least comfortable with television.
79% of clubs indicated that they would like additional PR support from RI. To find out what kind of support they most desire, clubs were asked to identify the most important things they would like RI to provide. Their responses are indicated in the following chart:
Although clubs face
some PR challenges, most seem to agree that PR is important. This agrees
with the Rotary Strategic Plan's emphasis on improving Rotary's public
image. If clubs, districts, and Rotary International work together to
address their PR challenges and opportunities, Rotary’s potential
for PR can be achieved. Download Rotary PR resources.