On Saturday, January 11, 2014 at the Tennessee Lions Learning Retreat, a round-robin discussion of Lions challenges and opportunities was held.  What follows, are the notes from each of the topics that were brainstormed.  The lists are provided in no particular order.

Thanks to all who participated, and I hope some of the ideas and thoughts here will serve as a catalyst for good things to come in your Lions Clubs!  If you have any questions, please contact Lion Wendy Cain at Lion.Wendy@att.net.

For those of you who participated. . . ELMO!

First Session:

  • What service projects do your clubs perform?
  • How does your club publicize itself?
  • How can we encourage more participation at events beyond the Lions Club?
  • What would it take for you to brag about your club to every non-Lion you know?

Second Session:

  • What fundraising activities do your clubs use
  • How does your club use technology?
  • How can we encourage members to invite prospective members to a project/meeting
  • How can we overcome resistance to change in our clubs?

What service projects do your clubs perform?

  • Conduct KidSight screenings or other vision screenings
  • Collect used eyeglasses (to recycle)
  • Purchase eye exams and/or glasses
  • Conduct hearing screenings
  • Plant trees
  • Deliver Thanksgiving meals
  • Provide food baskets at Thanksgiving or Christmas
  • Volunteer with food give-aways  (Reference:  Second Harvest Food Bank, Food Pantries, etc.)
  • Help with Operations Christmas Child shoe boxes
  • Provide school wellness programs
  • Offer a Veterans’ Breakfast
  • Organize a horse show
  • Provide Christmas gifts for needy families and/or children
  • Take children shopping at Christmas
  • Christmas caroling
  • Christmas party for foster families
  • Ring bells for the Salvation Army during the holidays
  • Provide apple cider for Christmas in the Park
  • Have a Christmas Train for kids to ride
  • Help assist elderly shut-ins – home projects, shopping, etc.
  • Organize the community’s 4th of July celebration
  • Provide a Bounce House for community celebration
  • Provide backpacks for school breaks (with food)
  • Provide boxes of tissues in every classroom at adopted school
  • Shoes for Kids event
  • Coats for Kids event
  • Volunteer at the local community center
  • Set up a booth at events with bottled water or other free drinks
  • Build and/or maintain a softball field for people with disabilities
  • Volunteer with Special Olympics
  • Organize a fishing trip for visually impaired people
  • Organize a Pet Show at the local Fair
  • Conduct a Fishing Tournament and boat rides for disabled children (reference:  Dandridge Lions Club)
  • Visit nursing home every other month
  • Help the HeadStart program with supplies
  • Conduct a coat drive
  • Maintain a local park and/or playground – repair and clean as needed
  • Build a picnic pavillion
  • Organize a Father/Daughter Dance
  • Feed the hungry
  • Teens Need Training
  • Child Safety program (with State Farm)
  • Organize Bingo games for seniors, provide lunch
  • Offer free computer classes (at the library)
  • Work concession stands (where others keep/receive the funds)
  • Provide nursing gowns for premature babies and burial gowns for funeral homes
  • Provide college scholarships
  • Support a Diabetes camp
  • Support different organizations (ex. local fire department, local high school, Boys/Girls Club, etc.)
  • Conduct Diabetes screening (partner with Tennessee State University)
  • Help with activities for disabled children (ex.  pony rides, craft projects, fishing trips)
  • Have a paint school

How does your club publicize itself?

  • Web page
  • Newspaper articles and announcements (print and online editions)
  • Paid advertising in newspaper
  • A newspaper liaison to provide information weekly, make the reporter an honorary member
  • Shopper newspaper delivered by mail
  • Invite the public to attend your club meeting wen you will be having a unique speaker/club program
  • Display a plaque or banner at your club’s meeting location
  • Vinyl banners for club activity or event
  • Wear your Lions pins, shirts, hats, etc.
  • Display Lions license plates, license plate holders, bumper stickers, decals etc. on your vehicle
  • Membership and participation in the local Chamber of Commerce
  • Participate in community parades
  • A Lions costume
  • Have a club brochure or pamphlet
  • Post articles on the town web site
  • Have an information booth at community events, festivals, etc.
  • Road signs with Lions logo (as you enter the community)
  • Flyers
  • Billboards
  • Entries on the Community Calendar
  • Announcements in church bulletins
  • Radio
  • Local television station
  • Email
  • Word-of-mouth (talk to everybody about it!)
  • Club newsletter
  • District newsletter
  • Facebook page and posts by members
  • Using the marquee sign in front of the local school
  • Other message boards/marquees around the community
  • Announcements during school announcement time (club serves/partners with the school)
  • Text messages to members
  • Phone calls to members

How can we encourage more participation at events beyond the Lions Club?

  • Have the Zone Chairperson contact club officers to encourage participation
  • Communicate what the event is all about
  • Call new members
  • Make provisions to pay some of the expenses/fees (either club or district)
    • Scholarship first time attendees
    • Offer to send 2 new members to event at the cost of the club
  • Personally invite people to attend
  • Physically bring people with you
  • Arrange for members of your club to car-pool
  • Members who attend events can tell others report about what happened
  • Take pictures of those who participate – keep scrapbook or put on web site/Facebook
  • People who have attended in the past have to sell it for others to attend in the future – be excited about it!
  • It has to include interesting programs
  • For meetings that are held on a recurring basis – change the topics frequently
  • Personal phone call from District Governor team
  • Identify a fundraiser that can be used to off-set the price (Administrative).
  • Publicize in advance (provide topics and/or an agenda)
  • Build in social time in-between scheduled activities
  • Have team building activities at training
  • Use Ice-Breaker activities
  • Involve Leo Club members
  • Have joint fundraising events
  • Conduct joint service projects with nearby Lions Clubs or other organizations in the community
  • Be upbeat about attendance at events (Don’t complain about so many clubs not being there.  What does that say to those who are there. . . are they not important?)
  • Offer door prizes
  • Share plans for officer orientation training
  • Ask if they want to come to a Poker Night (Just kidding!  We do not advocate bait-and-switch, but participants got a kick out of this suggestion)

What would it take for you to brag about your club to every non-Lion you know?

  • Service projects, service projects, service projects
  • Participation in a variety of activities and events
  • Being a well-organized group
  • Have better programs scheduled for club meetings
  • Having attitudes of fun in everything that is done
  • No pressure to do something if you don’t want to until you are ready
  • Empower others to lead
  • Have members introduce themselves in club meetings so you really get to know your members
  • Tell about success stories and those we help
  • Have a “Did You Know?” brochure with a list of things we do in the community.
  • “A Lion is. . .”, “A Lions does. . . “
  • Have information meetings and invite non-Lions to a dinner/meeting
  • Carrying out projects, help with projects
  • Wear your Lions pin
  • Wear your Lions vest or jacket during regular errands and shopping
  • Carry a brochure with you or have a digital brochure available
  • For any event – put something out about what you do
  • Be able to talk about Lions – people do not know what we do
  • Have a Lions decal on vehicles
  • Provide articles as filler material for the newspaper
  • Invite other civic clubs
  • Tennessee School for the Blind students to perform or speak to club
  • Saving sight, Jimmy Carter
  • Bring in 10 new members
  • Make sight-related donations
  • Make large donations
  • Publicize, Run a big ad in the newspaper
  • We think we’re the greatest club in the state!

What fundraising activities do your clubs use

  • Pecan Sales
  • Pumpkin Pie Sales
  • Christmas Tree Sales
  • Fruit Sales (apples, citrus)
  • Bake Sale
  • Car Show
  • Dinner Dance
  • Sell brooms and mops from Lindsey Industries (one-to-one, in banks)
  • Souvenir sales at major sporting event (ex: Bristol Motor Speedway)
  • Concession sales (ex. Festivals, University of Tennessee events)
  • Golf Tournament, Hole-in-One Challenge
  • Silent Auction
  • Tractor Pull
  • Bar-B-Que, Chicken BBQ
  • Wild Game Feast
  • Fish Fry (with or without entertainment)
  • Turtle Derby
  • Newspaper Recycling
  • Softball Tournament
  • Yard Sale/Rummage Sale
  • Spaghetti Supper
  • Chili Supper
  • Pancake Breakfast or Pancake Supper
  • Low Country Boil
  • Coupon Book Sales
  • Beauty Pageant
  • Sell Newsletter (ex – Club’s Annual Report to the Community) on Town Square for Donations (Reference:  Cheatham County)
  • Sell Paver Bricks (Reference:  Williamson County Sensory Garden)
  • Comedy Show and/or Magician (Reference:  Greenfield/Forked Deer Leos with Brian Staron)

How does your club use technology?

  • Club Web Site – including posting meeting minutes, calendar of events, and having a form for people to request vision assistance
  • LCI e-Clubhouse Web Site (with our without custom domain name)
  • Facebook Page
  • Online Newsletter
  • Email List of Club Members – meeting minutes, announcements, etc.
  • Linked In
  • Text Messaging (reminders to members about activities or meetings) – (Reference:  http://GroupMe.com  for group text messaging service)
  • LCI Web Site for Resources and Reporting Club Information (http://www.lionsclubs.org/)
  • Receiving District Newsletter by Email
  • Power Point (Presentations and Club Programs)
  • School Announcements by Email and at Assemblies (with a Partner school the Club serves)
  • Newspaper
  • Club Excellence Process

How can we encourage members to invite prospective members to a project/meeting

  • Provide Free Food
  • Assign Members to Bring Potential Members to a Meeting
  • Have a Specific Membership Meeting for New Members with a Prominent Guest Speaker
  • Invite Potential Members to a Service Project and/or Fundraising Activity
  • Brown Bagging
  • Provide Incentives to Members to Bring Potential Members (ex. gift card)
  • Conduct a Contest for the Member Who Brings in the Most New Members
  • Attend United Way Meetings to Meet Prospects
  • Have an Open Bar Available
  • Conduct Joint Projects with Other Organizations
  • Business Networking with Lions Pins
  • Have a Special Project Just for New Members
  • Post Activities to Draw Interest
  • Have a Family Night or a Family & Friend Night
  • Provide Mentoring to New Members
  • Promote the Club during Fundraising Events (ex.  Tri-Fold Display, Power Point showing photos of Club Activities, Posterboards)

How can we overcome resistance to change in our clubs?

  • Have a passion for what you’re proposing
  • Provide more information and communication
  • Weigh the pros and cons for how the change would affect the club
  • Explore and learn about the resources available to help, and use them
  • Help those who may resist see it as “their idea”
  • Remember that the club is a democracy and embrace the will of the club
  • Don’t try to change a lot at once. . . little steps
  • Everyone has a vote, but you have to participate and show up
  • Mentor new members and encourage adoption of their ideas
  • Improve one’s knowledge of technology
  • Convince members that the current “status quo” was “change” or “something new” at one time in the past
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