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Fundraising And Rotary

January 2, 2009

Without a doubt every club must offset their budget by fundraising. We are always looking for new and creative ways to give to our community and also offset the budget for the many important line items, such as scholarships and grants. . Over the years the Bennington Rotary Club has done the Spaghetti Dinners in March, Pancake Breakfast on Battle Day weekend, the car show, selling pet products at May Fest, garlic brownies at Garlic Fest, strawberry shortcakes at May Fest, and more that I can't even remember.

New this year the Bennington Rotary Club has decided to take over the Ethan Allen Days from the Manchester/Sunderland group. This will be under the direction of Don Miller with me as his assistant, I guess because of my experience with events.

We hope to expand what the event has been in the past and add to it a colonial fair atmosphere. There will be many booths such as a colonial photo booth, history booths, along with the reenactment. Historical craft demonstrations, educational programs, food booths and of course a beer garden will also be a part of the festivities. This will be held in June on Fathers Day weekend out at Colgate Park on the West End.

Along with fundraising comes the many hours of volunteering, and along with that comes friendships. Over the years standing at the gates of the car show I have made many friendships and learned much from my fellow Rotarians. I believe bringing my children all those years to the many events with fundraising has given them lifelong skills for being better citizens and giving back to the community.

I have asked myself many a times whether you learn a sense of volunteering or are you born with it? What is the verdict? I believe it gives you great satisfaction helping make our community and club a better place for all. It is a real good feeling. Of course I wonder during bell ringing when your feet are frozen.

Having much experience with fundraising and event planning I thought I would offer some tips for other clubs and or organizations.

  1. Decide the purpose: is the event to raise money, increase tourism, or just to have fun and fellowship?
  2. Do you have a timeline, budget, volunteer coordinator, marketing plan, supply list and site plan?
  3. Can you collaborate with other partners or organizations to share the workload and share the profit? (good example car show)
  4. Tag on to an existing event or something the state is doing, piggy back as we say i.e. penguin plunge/winter carnival goes hand in hand
  5. Utilize your visitor centers distribute material to the state for big events
  6. Partner with the local radio station, newspaper cable TV, try and get as much "free" advertising as possible
  7. Have a great web page for your event
  8. Send out press kits to the media for large events
  9. Take care of your volunteers, feed them, water them and thank them
  10. Keep your fundraising events staggered you do not want your committee, club and volunteers to get burnt out.

The Bennington Rotary Club looks forward to your support and participation this year for our Spaghetti Dinner in March, May Fest Booth in May, Ethan Allen Colonial Fair on Fathers' Day in June, Garlic Desserts in September at Garlic Fest and of course the Car Show in September.

These fundraising efforts help us to support the youth in our community by giving out 7 $1,000 dollar scholarships to graduating seniors, giving cash prizes for the speech contest for three students, assisting the Interact Club on their trip to Somotillo and much more.

Author: Lindy Lynch - Bennington Rotary Club Member

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