Our Rotary club just got through the month of January, which had been designated Rotary Awareness Month. That prompted me to ask how we have promoted awareness of Rotary and how we could improve our effectiveness in letting others know what Rotary is and what it does.
We all get the idea that thereâ€™s a link between our awareness and our actions. For example, if you could remove all sensory input to your body except for moving around, you would run into something and hurt yourself or worse. ThatÂ basicÂ exampleÂ supports stating that â€œawareness must precede actionâ€. But is it a one-way deal? Doesnâ€™t action produce awareness too? After all, actions speak louder than words but to whom do they speak?
Our Rotary club, maybe most all Rotary clubs, believes that our many good deeds and wonderful actions increase public awareness of who we are and what we do. My observation is that the awareness created is too little, focused on things other than Rotary, doesnâ€™t last andÂ all toldÂ isnâ€™t strong enough to sustain our clubâ€™s regional identity into the future. Why is that the case?
One reason is that our actions speak loudly to us but very softly to others beyond our view. Thatâ€™s sometimes referred to as becoming a â€œlegend in your own mindâ€, andÂ as a resultÂ our actions increase personal awareness far more than public awareness. So if itâ€™s our vision to create public awareness of Rotary state-wide, country-wide and even world-wide, weâ€™ll have to complement our tremendous worldwide actions with small but consistent pieces of â€œ*gorilla marketingâ€ to get our message out.
Thatâ€™s not as big an effort as it might sound. Start with something simple such as wearing your Rotary pin every day youâ€™re out in public. Put a Rotary decal on your vehicle. Carry a few of those â€œWhatâ€™s Rotaryâ€ cards with you. When somebody asks â€œWhatâ€™s Rotary?â€ give them a card but donâ€™t stop there because that card will only convey idea awareness.
Have in your mind an â€œelevator speechâ€, a 30-second statement about Rotary. I suggest using Who rather than What to frame your answer in personal terms: Thus: a) Who are we?; b) What do we do?; c) What makes us unique/special?; and c) How can you learn more about us? Personal awareness will produce public awareness but it only works one person at a time. Thatâ€™s why we need every memberâ€™s involvement.
*Do a search for the book by the same name
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