How Does a Business Member Benefit a Community Service Club like the Ruritans?

From the desk of the 2016 Publicity Chairperson:

Please note, images used in this post are, to the best of our knowledge, “Free Clip Art.” No copyright infringement is intended. If you own the rights to any of these images, we would be glad to, upon notification by you, either remove the image, or give you proper credit on the website. Simply contact the webmaster to let us know of the conflict.

Community Service (free clip art)

Community Service (free clip art)

In this day and age, more businesses are feeling the call of corporate leadership, and are looking for ways to support the local community. One way they can do that is by joining local community service organizations, such as the Ruritan Club.

Sample membership certificate

Sample membership certificate

Having a business member helps increase public awareness of a club’s existence. When a business member receives the membership plaque or window cling from the club, the business might display the plaque on their wall, window, or door, in a public space.

Customers and/or employees may see that wall plaque or window cling and through that sighting become aware for the first time that the Ruritan Club exists (they may have never heard of us!) This may spark a conversation between the customer/employee and the person within the company that did the paperwork for the application. Maybe even result in a few new members joining the club! This relates to the first part of our slogan “Fellowship, Goodwill and Community Service.”

Newsletter (free clip art)

Newsletter (free clip art)

Often businesses have newsletters that they distribute among their customers/employees. They like to include stories in their newsletters about how they are “giving back” to the community by joining local community service clubs. If they join our club, chances are that they will publish a story about it in their newsletter. If they have a website and/or facebook page, they will likely include a mention about their membership with our club on that media as well. After all, those stories make their companies look like good corporate citizens. And, those stories will help to publicize our club at the same time.

Handshake (free clip art)

Handshake (free clip art)

Businesses that are members of our club have already indicated (by the very act of joining) an interest in supporting our causes. Chances are good that they are going to be receptive to the idea of donating gift cards, money, or services to our club from time to time when they are approached in the right way. That relates to “Community Service.”

A business owner may also decide later on in the relationship with the club to become an active member on a personal level, once he/she has become more familiar with all of the good deeds that our club does. They may consider encouraging their employees/families to join the club as well. More “Fellowship.”

Networking (free clip art)

Networking (free clip art)

A business member is a good resource for networking. Networking is a great thing! If our club has a need, and reaches out to the business members, asking for advice or referrals, the business member may be willing to help introduce us to people and companies that can help us accomplish our goals. The business member may not be able to help us directly, but often can help us get in touch with someone else who can help us, and with a little bit of social finesse, may get us discounts or free labor. This directly relates to “Goodwill.”

Some business members might help us with free publicity, letting us put our flyers in their windows. Others might donate gift cards or merchandise for us to use as door prizes, raffle prizes, or auction prizes. Some of them might buy ads in future fund-raising calendars in future years, or buy an ad in the District Convention Program. Some may donate ammo for a Turkey Shoots, buy a vendor table at a yard sale, or donate food for the concession stand to sell at one of our events. Some may provide free Internet installation and monthly service to the building we use as our club house. Still others may create and maintain our club’s website for free. Others may provide us with office supplies, or free printing services. Some businesses might even donate money to our scholarship fund-raising! All of this relates to “Goodwill and Community Service.”

partnership (free clip art)

partnership (free clip art)

Having a business member will increase our membership numbers, making us look good for National. That’s always a good thing! A business membership in the Ruritan Club is a form of Associate Membership. Clubs get rebates from National on the dues that an Associate pays to Ruritan! A business member will not interfere with the internal workings of the club, as they have no voting rights, and cannot serve on the board of directors. However, they may attend our meetings and be part of our “Fellowship” any time they wish.

Listing our business members on our website, our Facebook page, our membership promotional materials, (which costs us next to nothing) makes our club look good in the public eye. Acknowledging their membership and thanking them for their association with us, will help them to feel appreciated, and will encourage their continued membership and sponsorship of our events. This promotes “Goodwill.”

Business (free clip art)

Business (free clip art)

Putting all of that information on our promotional materials helps potential members to see us as a worthwhile club. After all, if these businesses have joined our club, then we must be a good club, right? This will encourage potential members (both business and personal) to join us, as we have the endorsements of these respected business members of our community. More “Fellowship” ensues.

There really is no down-side to having business members in our club. The more business members our club has, the better. More money goes to National Ruritan to help with all of the good work Ruritan does, and the local endorsement we get from the business members is priceless.

Win-Win Solution (free clip art)

Win-Win Solution (free clip art)

A business membership in a community service club such as our Ruritan Club is a win-win situation for everyone. Actively recruiting business members will help the club to grow and thrive, and supports our slogan “Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service” in every way possible.

This is a revision of an article that was originally on the unofficial Jefferson Ruritans website. The original (and this revision) was written by Linda Bradshaw, who has consented to this revision and reprint.

SHARE Food Network Is a Great Way to Provide Community Service To Local Communities

SHARE Food Network Menu July 2014

SHARE Food Network Menu July 2014

The SHARE Food Menu for July 2014 (above) has been released.

The SHARE Food Network is a way to buy quality food at about half price. We can purchase it for personal use, but we can also use it to help needy families, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food drives, etc. How about instead of donating $100 to a local homeless shelter/soup kitchen/food pantry, we spend $100 on SHARE Food and donate $200 worth of food to the homeless shelter/soup kitchen/pantry? This is a great way to double the value of our contributions to good causes!

The Jefferson (VA) Ruritan Club uses the SHARE Food Network to help feed their sponsored needy families. Some club members use SHARE Food for their own families as well.

This is a great way to save money on food – and you do not have to disclose income. You do not need to be receiving food stamps. The food is top-quality. If you are not taking advantage of this opportunity to get good food for little money. This is run by Catholic Charities, but you do not have to be Catholic. Many of the distribution locations are in churches that are not Catholic. This is a TRUE community service project!

There are SHARE Food Network Distribution locations in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virgina, and West Virginia. Details for them can be found on the SHARE Food Network’s Find SHARE Site Page.

SHARE Food Network is currently looking to expand their distribution areas, and would be glad to send speakers to Ruritan clubs in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, with the hope that Ruritan Clubs might consider helping to support setting up new distribution areas in their own local communities. If your club is looking for speakers, you may want to consider SHARE Food Network for that!

If you are interested in having a speaker come to YOUR club, you may use the contact form below, and a representative from SHARE Food will contact YOU.

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.