A word about marketing local Ruritan Clubs

From the desk of the Rapidan District’s Publicity Chairperson, Linda Bradshaw:

I’d like to discuss publicity for a few minutes with our Ruritan Clubs today.

Whether we like to think about our Ruritan Clubs as businesses or not, they are, in fact, a type of business.

Target Market (free clip art)

Target Market (free clip art)

The primary goal of any business is to stay in business! In order for our Ruritan Clubs to “stay in business,” we must increase and maintain our membership!  We must “market” our clubs to the right “target market” in order to do that!

In order for our Ruritan Clubs to grow, we need to appeal to the younger, more technologically savvy generations. Those generations are our “target market.”

One of the most effective methods to market anything in today’s technology-heavy world is by using the Internet’s Social Media platforms.

Social Media (free clip art)

Social Media (free clip art)

Ruritan National workshops held at conventions advised the attendees to use websites, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to promote awareness and membership in our local Ruritan Clubs!  There is little doubt that Social Media is THE KEY to the future of Ruritan membership!

I would like to encourage each club to have BOTH a website and a Facebook Page.

Facebook (free clip art)

Facebook (free clip art)

Consider this:  Everyone that reads Facebook uses the Internet, but not everyone that uses the Internet reads Facebook!  Only 25% of Facebook users are in the United States, and 25% of Facebook users are under the age of ten. Although Facebook is still a valuable resource, there have been several articles this year that suggest that Facebook’s popularity is waning.  Of my own personal circle of family, friends, and neighbors, the majority of them have Internet access but refuse to join, or use Facebook. Yet they all use the Internet’s Google’s Search engine to find information that they need.

Internet - man searching online (free clip art)

Internet – man searching online (free clip art)

Having a “real” website that has the proper keywords built-in will help people find the information they are seeking about your club quickly and easily without having to search multiple posts through a long timeline on Facebook. “Real” websites can have “search” features and multiple pages that Facebook simply does not have. Don’t get me wrong – Facebook is a valuable supplemental resource that can enhance the publicity and marketing of a club. A “real” website, however, is the keystone of an Internet marketing campaign.

Sharing options on WordPress websites

Sharing options on WordPress websites

One useful feature of some websites I’ve developed (using the free, easy, user-friendly WordPress platform) is that they can be set up to automatically cross-post to their associated Facebook pages.  This is done on their “Sharing settings” page under the “Publicize” option (see photo above.) They can also be set up to cross-post to other platforms as well, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, and more! That feature eliminates duplicity of work.  You can publish a post to the website, and be done with it! The information goes everywhere you can possibly want it to go!

Calendar of events (free clip art)

Calendar of events (free clip art)

The websites can also have calendar of events features, so your club can use it as a resource to publicize upcoming meetings and events.

Now, I understand that some clubs may have concerns about the costs and technical difficulties of buying, creating, and maintaining a website.  Not very long ago, websites WERE expensive, and difficult to buy, create and maintain.  Today the annual cost is very affordable.

For example, GoDaddy is selling domain names (dot coms) this month for $2.99 for the first year. Their renewal fees typically are below $20 per year.  (The prices vary, depending on sales and promotions at the time.)

Internet (free clip art)

Internet (free clip art)

By having the local clubs purchase their own domain, the local clubs can maintain total creative control over their own websites, and can create as simple, or as complex, a website as the club desires. The WordPress platform is free, and easy.  The WordPress Platform can be used to create a static page website for a club that only wants to have one or two pages that don’t change, or it can be used to create a blog-style, dynamic web page that can be updated with posts about current news and events.

The Rapidan District Cabinet will purchase a “real” domain name for the District, and purchase the web hosting service plan that will allow the Rapidan District to host unlimited websites on their server. The Rapidan District is offering to host the websites of local clubs within the Rapidan District on the District’s server for free. This offer applies to both existing sites, and new sites.  Hosting the local club’s websites on the District’s server will save local Ruritan Clubs a significant amount of money each year. (GoDaddy’s least expensive web hosting plan is $84/year, although it sometimes goes on sale for 50% off.)

By putting the local Ruritan club’s website on the District’s server, the local club can then spend the money saved on some other important Community Service Project! That is a win-win situation!

workshop (free clip art)

workshop (free clip art)

One free workshop was held in July 2014 to help local club’s volunteer webmasters understand the basics of creating a WordPress platform website.  Another free “make-up” workshop will be scheduled in the near future for those clubs whose webmasters were unable to attend the first one.

If your Rapidan District Ruritan Club is interested in participating in a future  free (yes, free!) workshop, please use the contact form below to express your interest and to advise when your volunteer webmaster would be available to attend a workshop!

Local Girl Needs Help – Louisa County Ruritan Club Responds

At the June meeting of the Louisa County Ruritan club, the club learned about a local girl in need.

Peyton Daniel

Peyton’s Story

Peyton, a four-year old girl living in the Ruritan Rapidan District area has had many medical issues since birth. These include a VSD and PFO (holes in her heart, both spontaneously closed), prenatal stroke (due to a placental abruption), mild cerebral palsy (right sided hemiparesis), sacral lipoma, previous tethered spinal cord (laminectomy was performed) compound heterozyougs MTHFR, neurogenic bladder with retention and dyssenergia (urethral dilation helped after many failed attempts at cathing her), connective tissue disorder (EDS), and lastly an undiagnosed metabolic syndrome.

Peyton’s parents and doctors have been trying to solve the reason of a sudden onset (August 2013) of bilateral leg pain, numbness, completely absent reflexes above and below the waist, and a severe increase in her pain based on physical activity. She no longer has any sensation on the bottoms of her feet and she got a wheelchair in March for long distances. She has good days and bad days.

Peyton has seen many doctors this last year and had many tests and procedures. When her family took her to Michigan they were told that her spinal cord is attached to scar tissue from her first surgery and that is attached to her tumor, which is called a lipoma. The surgeon in Michigan is willing to be proactive with her surgery and not only de-tether her, but remove as much of her tumor as possible, since it has many nerves in it.

She will also have a muscle biopsy done at the same time, because her neuromuscular docs believe she has a metabolic disorder. On ultrasound her muscles are all abnormal and this could also be the cause of some of her reflex issues. It’s hard to tell right now which are overlapping.

That is leading the family out of state, where they will incur travel, lodging and additional insurance expenses. They just want Peyton to receive the best treatment possible. In Virginia she has been to VCU, UVA, Children’s National, INOVA and the family has contacted multiple other out of state facilities (Shriner’s, etc). This hospital and doctor in Michigan by far have the most to offer her with their vast knowledge of these types of spinal disorders as well as their ability to be as proactive as possible to stop this from happening again.

Peyton has spent so much of her life in doctor’s offices, hospitals, having blood work done, tests, and other procedures. The family is so hopeful that this surgery will help her regain back some of what she has lost this last year physically as well as hopefully find the answer to her metabolic disorder. This could be a condition that is treatable or terminal and the sooner we know the better. Peyton is such a sweet, kind, caring and brave little girl. The family knows she is going to do amazing things one day and they will do everything possible to ensure that.

Any help is greatly appreciated, whether praying, monetary or sharing of Peyton’s story. Thank you so much for your support.

There is a website set up for people to use to donate money to help cover Peyton Daniel’s expenses. To access it, click on the link in the previous sentence.

The Louisa County Ruritan Club has agreed to donate $1,000 towards this worthy cause. The cause was discussed at the Zones 2 & 3 Dinner Meeting held on 6/25/14. The Rapidan District Cabinet will take up the subject at the July meeting to discuss whether the District Cabinet can assist in any way. All Ruritan clubs are being encouraged to consider helping this little girl and her family.

For more information, please use the contact form below:

Press Release Emailed To Local Newspapers in Rapidan District

newspaper boy (free clip art)

newspaper boy (free clip art)

From the desk of the Lt. Governor and Publicity Chairperson:

The following Press Release was emailed today to several local newspapers that serve the Rapidan District. The template for the press release was provided by Ruritan National at the 2014 Summer Leadership Conference.

If you notice the story being published, would you please be kind enough to notify us? We don’t get copies of all of the papers in the area.

Here is a copy of the press release:

Local Ruritan Leaders Attend National Conference

DUBLIN, Va. ~ Alexander MacDonald of Mineral VA, Linda Bradshaw of Jeffersonton VA, and Perry Marshman of Unionville VA attended the 2014 Ruritan National Summer Leadership Conference held in Dublin,VA at New River Community College June 19-20. While they were there, they learned about new programs to improve America’s communities and revitalize the organization. The conference was sponsored by the Ruritan National Office in Dublin, VA. as part of the organization’s ongoing training program for volunteer leaders. Alexander MacDonald is a member of the Holly Grove Ruritan Club and serves the Rapidan District as District Governor. Linda Bradshaw is a member of the Lignum Ruritan Club and serves the Rapidan District as District Lt. Governor. Perry Marshman is a member and President of the East Orange Ruritan Club and serves the Rockingham District as National Director.

Attendees included Ruritan District Governors, Lt. Governors and Area Governors from Districts and Areas across 25 states, as well as other District leaders along with a host of volunteer speakers and seminar leaders. At the conference, participants also met with national volunteer leaders and Ruritan staff members to discuss current issues and activities that affect Ruritan clubs and Ruritan members in their districts and areas. Some of the topics discussed included growth and development, leadership training, and legal issues.

Conference participants represented 28,000 Ruritan members in over 40 Ruritan Districts and Areas that reach from the tidewater area of Virginia to the corn belts of Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Since 1928, Ruritan Clubs have been improving communities and building a better America through fellowship, goodwill and community service. Today there are more than 1,000 clubs in 25 states across the United States. The Ruritan National Office, the headquarters of Ruritan, has been located in Newbern since 1965. Contact Alexander MacDonald at 804-556-5233 or amacdonald8@msn.com for more information about Ruritan membership or upcoming Ruritan activities.

Veterans To Be Honored at the Ruritan National Convention in January 2015

The following is copied and pasted from the Facebook Page “I AM Ruritan.” It is being copied here to accommodate Ruritan members that do not use Facebook. It is our hope to use this medium to spread the word (about the announcement) so that other Ruritan members that are veterans will learn about this event, and ask your club secretary to go into MMS to ensure that your military status is correct in the MMS records.

Are you one of Ruritan’s many Veterans? Are you planning on coming to Greensboro to the 2015 Ruritan National Convention? Remember that our members’ military records pull directly from our Member Management System (MMS). Make sure your veteran status is up to date in the MMS so we can properly honor you in Greensboro. If you aren’t sure how to use the MMS – one of your club members or the national office staff will be happy to help you. There are two important items: whether you are active or inactive; and which branch of the military you served in.

Are you one of Ruritan's many Veterans? Are you planning on coming to Greensboro to the 2015 Ruritan National Convention? Remember that our members' military records pull directly from our Member Management System (MMS). Make sure your veteran status is up to date in the MMS so we can properly honor you in Greensboro. If you aren't sure how to use the MMS - one of your club members or the national office staff will be happy to help you. There are two important items: whether you are active or inactive; and which branch of the military you served in.
Note: if you are a member of the Rapidan District AND a veteran, if you are not already listed on our web page “Honoring our Veterans” we would love to include YOU on that page.  We want your name, the branch of the service you were in, the year you started, the year you ended, and which Ruritan Club in the Rapidan District you are in. We would also love to have a photograph of you to include in the the listing (preferably in uniform at the time you were in the service.) You can give us the required information by using this contact form below (if you have a photograph, let us know how to contact you so we can make arrangements to get a copy of the photograph from you):