Times are tough. Cutting costs is de rigueur for families and businesses. Service clubs may seem to be immune from budgetary concerns. After all, Lions’ stock in trade is service, a cost-free commodity. Yet even Lions are trimming costs. That makes perfect sense. Saving money can free up resources for even more service. District 1-F in Illinois cut costs several ways. The district convention that normally began on Friday evening and ended on Sunday afternoon was converted into a 1.5 day event. “In doing that, we eliminated the need for attendees to pay for another meal [Sunday breakfast] and possibly another night’s stay at the hotel,” says Paul Pioch of Palatine, the 2008-09 district governor. The district also made the meal portions smaller, eliminated a small event typically held on Friday evening and hosted one hospitality room instead of having individual club hospitality rooms. The district’s Webmaster also saved Lions time and money by including reporting forms on the site. Costs can be reduced at the club level, too: • Take advantage of the Internet. Correspond through cyberspace. Members save on gas by not driving and resolving issues without paying for a meeting space. • Instead of paying for dinners, plan a pot luck meeting at a member’s home or use a public park. • Save money by not having to pay for fliers and bulletins to be printed monthly. Eliminate the need for mailings by communicating electronically or providing key members with flash drives to review material. • Have an occasional “family” night at meetings with board games so members with young families can enjoy a night out without picking up the tab for a sitter to watch their children. • The purpose of a fundraiser is, of course, to raise funds, but consider asking less. Employ a popular marketing strategy—a $4 (or $3.99) raffle ticket may be more appealing than asking $5 and help generate more sales. • Instead of catered or purchased meals, have dessert and coffee. Smaller portions mean less expense. • Try sponsoring a garage sale. Donated goods and free attic “finds” help members as much as the community. Who doesn’t want to find a bargain? It’s an inexpensive fundraiser with practically no outlay since you may not even have to pay for advertising. Most communities have a local “shopper” newspaper where garage sale ads are free and a sign is easy to make. Sell coffee or soft drinks to browsers for an added boost to the budget. • Reinvent yourselves. For 90 years, Lions have worked through world wars, recessions, depressions and natural disasters. Don’t do something because it’s always been done that way. Being frugal doesn’t mean doing without—it just means finding a less expensive way to achieve the same goal.
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