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You Make a Difference. Let's Talk About It!

Don Bartelmay, Aiken Sertoma Club (South Carolina)


My Sertoma friends,

I was asked to write this note to provide some thoughts and actions that my club and I have taken to better market and publicize Sertoma in our county, city and state. I hope that my personal experience and insight can help you and your club build a stronger presence in your community.

I do not simply accept hearing, “Sertoma is the best-kept secret.” During my travels as your president in 2016-17, I saw all of the wonderful work you do in your communities. I am proud of it, and I know you are too. However, the one thing I’ve noticed in many clubs is that the only people who really know about this good work are those benefiting from your philanthropy.

If you would like others to join, they need to know who you are and why you do what you do. Think creatively and step outside of the  walls of your club. It can be difficult, but it is key!


  1. Does your club have someone managing its communications and public relations? This individual (and their back-up) can help take pictures and write articles for your local news publications. We even self-publish thanks to an agreement that we made with our local newspaper years ago. We asked how we could get better coverage, and they gave us information on how we could do it ourselves. Our two-person team also updates our Facebook page.
  2. Coverage is critical. This means we cover every meeting and project. There are very few weeks that Sertoma is not in our paper, and we post to Facebook frequently. Our awards and scholarships make great news and let people know who we are. Due to this high profile in our community, we have the kind of credibility that has enabled us to recruit new members and build new relationships. People know our club and are eager to join or volunteer.
  3. We must all be advocates for Sertoma and our mission. One of the easiest ways is to wear your pin every day and not just on the day of your meeting. Remember, you are a Sertoman EVERY DAY. It is important to be prepared to give your “elevator speech” to tell people about our organization. There are few days people do not ask me about my pin, and I am happy to tell them.
  4. May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. This is the perfect month to ask your city council, county government and your state legislature for a proclamation. I have been able to speak to our local councils and have had bills passed in our state legislature. It has made Sertoma high profile in our state, county and city. Because we are seen as hearing advocates, I was even asked to speak to our state legislature on a bill helping kids whose families cannot afford hearing aids. The bill itself even has information that was provided to me by Sertoma staff.
  5. Take your mission to other organizations in your community. I am a registered Chamber of Commerce speaker and will speak to anyone about our mission.

My friends, please continue to find ways to spread the good Sertoma word. The more we share our message, the better and brighter our future will be. I am always here to help because, just like you, I love Sertoma and the difference we make in people’s lives. I want us all to succeed!