Clubs and districts often create strategic plans for membership and Rotary
Foundation giving, says Sheila Bethel, Rotary public image coordinator (RPIC)
for Zone 34, but they rarely plan for public image.
SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC IMAGE
REQUIRES A PLAN
She thinks that’s a mistake. So she’s developed
an innovative way to encourage club and district
leaders in her zone to be more strategic about
promoting their clubs and Rotary.
Bethel’s zone incorporates a large territory
including the U.S. states of Florida and Georgia,
most of the Caribbean, and parts of South
America. Unable to cover all of that territory in
person, Bethel and her team of assistant RPICs
created a webinar series using Zoom.
In 2017, they held a couple webinars to see what
kind of results they would get. During the 2018-19
Rotary year, they offered webinars on a variety of
public image topics, including how to create a
public image strategic plan. This Rotary year,
they plan to hold a webinar every month (except
December). The first one, Don’t Fail — Have a
Plan, attracted 168 participants.
Zoom is the webinar service Sheila Bethel uses
for her meetings (a paid version is available at
a discount through Rotary Global Rewards).
Other webinar services include Webstream,
OnlineSeminar, Go ToMeeting, and
To have a successful webinar, Bethel offers these tips:
Build a team. In addition to working with
her assistant RPICs, Bethel assembled a
team of tech-savvy people to make sure her
webinars run smoothly.
Create a website. The Zone 34 public
image website includes copies of every
webinar presentation and recording, as well
as additional resources to help strengthen
Rotary’s public image.
Follow up. Bethel’s team contacts
participants after each webinar, especially
if they experienced technical issues during
the session or had questions that couldn’t be
fully answered. “There’s no point in having a
webinar without follow-up,” she says.
Collect topic ideas ahead of time.
Bethel’s team uses district governors and
district public image chairs to promote
upcoming webinars and solicit topics for
future ones. Popular subjects have included
how to promote your club to the public and
how to make your club more inclusive.
Send multiple reminders. Bethel says her
team sends an email at least one month
before a webinar, then another email a
couple of weeks later, and a final email the
We’ve changed the names of three of
Rotary’s areas of focus (marked with asterisks)
to better reflect the types of projects
members are carrying out. The areas of focus
are now called:
Disease prevention and
Water, sanitation, and
Maternal and child health
Basic education and literacy
Some of the area of focus goals have also
changed. We’ve included activities that relate
to the environment in the updated Areas of
Focus Policy Statements.