Buttons that push Rotary

buttons (1 of 1)In a world where digital media dominates as a marketing tool and new electronic strategies seem to roll out weekly, I find one very old promotional tool still very versatile – the pinback button.

You’ve seen custom pinback buttons at trade shows, political rallies, and nearly all promotional campaign kick-offs. They are affordable, 100 2 ¼ buttons cost around $0.50 each or less. They come in all shapes and sizes; including round, diamond, square, and rectangle.


Circa 1920
Rotary Club of Dayton, Ohio

Buttons as a promotion tool have been used for more than 200 years.  There are examples of anti-slavery buttons used in England. The first US patent for a pinback button was issued in 1896.  Rotary clubs for more than 100 years have used buttons as marketing tools.

I’ve used buttons to promote a RI Presidential Conference, Zone Institute and promote Rotary membership.

First%20Class%202013-2014(140)Buttons can be used to draw attention to a Rotary event, a website or boost club membership. Buttons can be used to build comradeship, enthusiasm and to bond a group.  RI President Ron Burton gave each Governor Elect a button stating “First Class 2013-14”. The button acknowledged 100% of the DGEs donated to The Rotary Foundation before the end of the 2013 International Assembly in San Diego.

buttons (1 of 1)-3DGEs in District 5040 have used buttons to build collegiality with the presidents elect by passing out buttons with the presidents elect class name, “Bob’s Bandits”, “Penny’s Posse” and Ken’s Kandles”. This is an effective strategy at the nine district, Pacific Northwest PETS. The buttons bring the presidents elect of one district together.

Buttons can be used for Rotary fundraisers. Give a button in exchange for a donation to support your club service project or for PolioPlus or other initiatives. People will pay $5 or $10 for a button that cost a few cents. Use buttons to promote a specific fundraising event.

rotary_workWhat has changed with pinback buttons, is the design work – it is now simple.  Anything that can be put on a computer screen can be printed on a button.  Most button manufactures offer free template downloads. Find a Rotarian who uses Photoshop, Corel Draw or similar programs. Many low cost or free graphics programs work well. You can also pay the button company to do the design work.

I find people will always wear your button at the Rotary event but take it off when they leave.  After your event, the next day, the next week you want your message out there. You need to give them a button they want to keep wearing.  Make your message bold and clear! If appropriate use humor. Smaller buttons are worn longer.  Rotarians will leave flyers and brochures on the table but always take a button home.

Buttons used in conjunction with social and traditional media can boost the impact of yourlove_rotary campaign. For your next event or campaign try pinback buttons combined with other media.  It will button down your Rotary campaign!

About Chris Offer

Endowment/Major Gift Adviser for Zone 24 (West) Rotary Club of Ladner – District 5040 Past Governor 1999-2000
This entry was posted in Rotary's Public Image, Support & Strengthen Clubs - Meetings, Support & Strengthen Clubs - Membership. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Buttons that push Rotary

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  4. Very good blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring
    writers? I’m hoping to strart my own sit soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you propose starting with a free platform like Wordprss or go for a paid
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  5. fenwayal@msn.com says:

    Thanks for sharing Ken!

  6. Doug Vincent says:

    Great article Chris.

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