Positive Publicity Helps Club Grow Lion Bryan Gordon of Toccoa, Georgia, is the first to admit that when his club sold community calendars even his own wife, Florence, also a Lion, thought them unsightly. “She told me, ‘that calendar is too ugly to sell or hang on my wall,’” Gordon admits. “We had problems with our own membership not wanting to sell subscriptions or listings in our calendar.” The calendar was banished to Bryan’s workspace. The 2013 calendar signaled a change. “We’re now recognizing the children for their efforts in the Peace Poster contest. Our club decided to publish the children’s art in our own calendar,” he points out. The club netted $2,665 this year because of the calendar’s extreme makeover. Color ads sold for $25, and 375 subscribers paid to have birthdays and anniversaries listed in the calendar. Toccoa Lions use the calendar to not only raise funds but also to raise awareness of what Lions do in the community. “We gave away 125 calendars to non-advertisers. We gave them to city and county commissioners, the school board, principals and art teachers. We gave them to the sheriff, chief of police and county and city government heads,” says Gordon. This dissemination of their signature product is proving priceless as a marketing tool, Gordon says. “Think PR, PR, PR!” Florence Gordon points out that the new calendars are much more fun to sell to eager customers. “The old calendar was just that, a calendar. It was something to keep track of dates and write your appointments and birthdays down while hanging inside the closet door. It was the perfect example of what not to do when designing a calendar.” The Gordons are no longer a house divided when it comes to where to hang the club’s annual calendar. “I hang this one on the outside of the door because of the new graphics,” Florence says proudly. Tree Sale Raises Funds and Spirits For 40 families in need in Ojai Valley, California, Christmas is a bit brighter each year because they know that Lions will donate a beautiful fir tree for them to decorate during the holidays. For the past six years, Lions have sold Christmas trees as their most significant fundraising activity. They average $33,000 annually from the fourweek event. In 2012, the club began a canned food collection at the tree lot for families and community assistance programs. “We open the weekend following Thanksgiving and generally close when we sell out, usually around the 18th of December,” says Lion Vicki Hunt. The mix of firs, including Nordman, Noble, Douglas and Grand, are sold from a lot donated by a local hotel. The tree sale helps fund scholarships and other community service activities. Nobles usually sell for $54; Douglas firs go for $35. The tallest trees sold every year are between 10 and 11 feet, although Hunt says the club has taken special orders for some as tall as 13 feet. While Lions work hard at the tree sale, they do have fun when families receiving donated trees come to pick them up. “They’re all very gracious and thrilled,” says Hunt. “We often find the kids running, hiding and giggling in between the trees.” Making happy memories for families is just one reason Lions don their heavy work gloves each year, ready to wrangle more trees into the homes of excited children.
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