February 10, 2023 | News From the San Francisco Public Relations Round Table
An Important Message from the Round Table

February Greetings, SF PR Round Table Members and Other Colleagues:
Happy new year! We hope this missive finds you busy and producing splendid work with excellent colleagues and clients in 2023. We have missed you, and hope you have missed us as well!

We did succeed in offering some great programs during the pandemic, including a session in May 2022 featuring PR pros Karen Boyd, Alicia Trost and Francis Zamora, in conversation with Sarah Segal, discussing “PR challenges in a post-pandemic world,” and a conversation with PR veteran Sam Singer at our Valentine’s Gala & Fundraiser for our scholarship program last February.

As you are perhaps aware, the Round Table took a hit during the pandemic in terms of membership and momentum, forcing us to put our programs on pause for much of 2022. We are writing now to share our concern that the organization is at a critical crossroads. While we have much to savor about past accomplishments and good times, a thoughtful look at the horizon leaves us unsteady.

Here’s the bottom line: We need to attract new communications professionals as members and to build a strong and committed leadership team of individuals who will work together to identify new goals and directions—to create and sustain a more vibrant PR Round Table. We are also committed to supporting such a team.
As we look at the year ahead and potentially the following years, we wish to learn how you feel about our organization and how you would like to participate as a member in the future.

So what have we been working on?
  • A group of Board members has been exploring the possibility of obtaining a fiscal sponsor for the Round Table, in order to reestablish our nonprofit status and help us with administrative tasks like preparing tax returns. We have settled on three organizations that have expressed interest in supporting our activities. These include Media Alliance, the San Francisco Study Center and Marcus Foster Education Institute. They are all reputable organizations and affiliating with any one of them would enable us to continue our work as a networking community of public relations professionals and administrators of the Philip N. McCombs Scholarship Fund.
  • Over the past year, a team of members collaborated on a rebranding effort and a redesign of our website. We made some real progress but placed the effort on hold, pending further branding work and a decision about the organization’s name and direction.
  • We retain a solid “prudent reserve” of funds in the organization’s treasury, which we have safeguarded with the intention of continuing to fund our scholarship program.
  • We are querying our current board members regarding their interest in continuing to serve the organization, and we need more of you to be part of our leadership team and to brainstorm solutions to our current dilemma.

What’s next?
A number of you have reached out to individual board members over the past few months, asking about the status of the organization and future programs, particularly our annual Valentine’s Day Party & Scholarship Auction. Thank you for that outreach. Depending on the response to this letter and member survey, which we would appreciate your taking by Friday, February 17, we want to take some “next steps” and we’re asking for your support to make that happen.

We need you to tell us whether you think the PR Round Table still has a role to play in the post-pandemic era, and if so, what that role should look like, via the survey. A key question is whether we should transition to in-person meetings, or continue to meet via Zoom, or perhaps take a hybrid approach. We also need new members and a revitalized Board, and more active participation in planning and executing our programs and activities. We understand that not everyone will have the time to serve on our Board or organize future events, but we do need more of you to do this.

Here’s a specific list of our wishes and needs:
  • Volunteers and new members to take on board service and responsibility to work on a specific portfolio, i.e., membership, programs and special events, scholarships, internships, rebranding, the annual directory and administration.
  • A membership campaign to attract lots of new and renewing Round Table members, and a referral program where each of you recommends at least one person we can reach out to.
  • Offers to organize and present great programs. Please share your best ideas!
  • And last but not least . . . Your decision to renew your membership through 2023 at a modest price: $85 for new and renewing members; $42.50 for new and renewing retired members; and our corporate membership: 2 people @ $68 each or 3 or 4 people @ $57 each or 5 people @ $51 each. (Membership for lifetime members is free.) You can join or renew the Round Table here! (Should we not receive a consensus response from our members, and the organization does not move ahead, we will refund all membership payments, no questions asked.)

Thank you for bearing with us after a difficult year. We’re still here and want you to know how much we need you.

Please take the survey by Friday, February 17, and/or write back to us at info@sfprrt.org. Thank you for your thoughts!

Molly Walker, Brenda Kahn, Paul Rose and the 2022 Round Table Board Members
San Francisco Public Relations Round Table | info@sfprrt.org | sfprrt.org