The Important Role Of The Undervalued Name Tag

Ruritan nametag

Ruritan name tag

From the desk of the Lt. Governor:

Walking into a Ruritan Club Meeting House, my eyes quickly sweep across the room, looking for someone, anyone, wearing a name tag. Why? Because that name tag is a welcoming beacon that says “I’m friendly. I am approachable. Come talk to me!”

When I don’t see anyone in the room wearing a name tag, my heart sinks. I’m one of “those people” that has a really hard time remembering other people’s names. I know how important it is to remember everyone’s names, and I struggle with that issue. People that can meet someone one time for just a moment or two, and remember their name forever simply amaze me! I simply don’t have that gift! Hopefully that doesn’t make me a bad Ruritan – I’d like to think that I still have a lot to offer Ruritan!

embarrased woman (free clip art)

Embarrassed woman (free clip art)

All of those memory enhancement techniques that are taught by memory experts help, but when meeting several people at once, the names go in one ear and fall out the other. Hope springs eternal, and I keep on trying, but I love to see other people wearing name tags because then I don’t spend precious time apologizing for the fact that I will probably forget their name shortly after meeting them.

But enough about me.

When a potential new member, or a scheduled speaker, walks through that same Ruritan Club Meeting House door at a meeting, they are immediately at a social disadvantage. One that could make them very uncomfortable.  (Maybe they have issues with remembering names, just like I do!)

When a person is in a group of people where everyone else knows everyone’s name, he or she may  feel vulnerable. Very few people are comfortable in a crowd when they are the only “stranger.”

In some cases, the visitor may get the impression that the other people in the group don’t even care enough to make newcomers comfortable in the group. That is one of those “first impressions” that our clubs may not want to be making.

Martha Stewart (free clip art)

Martha Stewart (free clip art)

Wearing a name tag increases the potential for better fellowship experiences for visitors. If everyone in the club were to wear their Ruritan name badges, the visitor (whether it is a potential new member, a speaker, or a visiting officer from District or National) will feel more comfortable being in the group. This level of comfort may help the potential new member decide to join the club, and it also may help improve the quality of the time of the speaker, or visiting officer. Quoting Martha Stewart, “and that’s a good thing.”

Our membership and fellowship committees can help ease the initial level of discomfort of being “the stranger in a crowd” by ensuring that the visitor gets a name tag, and that everyone in the room has a name tag. Even if it is just a temporary, sticky-backed paper name tag that says “Hello, my name is ____________.”

Hello my name is (free clip art)

Hello my name is (free clip art)

That name tag helps to level out the playing field, so everyone can see, at a glance, the name of everyone else. A member of the Fellowship Committee should greet everyone as they come through the door, and provide a name tag to anyone that does not have one.

If the person walking through the door is a new visitor, then the member that greeted the visitor should also ensure that the visitor is introduced to another member, who then becomes the visitor’s companion through-out the entire meeting. This is standard procedure for all clubs that are looking to recruit new members, and is pretty well documented in the Ruritan Handbooks and Guides.

If the club is fortunate enough to have a supply cabinet in the meeting location, the sticky-back name tags and assorted markers could be stored on-site, and brought out as people arrive to the meeting. If the club does not have that storage option, then the membership and fellowship chairs could bring them to the meetings. Alternately, each club officer could keep them in their briefcases/totes that they bring to the meetings.

These items are some of the least expensive tools a club can use to welcome visitors that have taken the time and made the effort to step through that door to see for themselves what that Ruritan club is all about. Making that visitor feel comfortable, by providing name tags is a good first step towards recruiting new members.

Not convinced? Recently I was reading a great blog article about good reasons to wear name tags. I’d like to encourage you to consider reading it as well. The article just might help convince you to start wearing your name tag more often – and not just to Ruritan functions!

I’d like to encourage ALL Ruritan Club members to wear their name badges to all Ruritan Club functions. You’ve got nothing to lose, and a lot to gain by wearing them.

Shop Smart When Shopping For Ruritan Items

Money tree (free clip art)

Money tree (free clip art)

From the Desk of the Lt. Governor:

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a money tree in my yard! If you don’t have a money tree in YOUR yard, either, then I would like to invite you to keep reading this post; you may find it to be of value to you.

As more of our senior members become introduced to the Internet, I’d like to share a word of caution with all Ruritan members: The Internet, and the Social Media on the Internet, is still very much in its infancy. In many respects it is a lot like the “Wild, Wild, West.”

In my circle of Internet marketing geeks professionals, it is sometimes joked that the “WWW” actually stands for “Wild,Wild, West” and not “World Wide Web.” As much as we would like to trust and believe that everyone is as honest as we are, there are some people out there that are going to be taking advantage of trusting folks!

To illustrate my point, I’d like to share with you that I am constantly trying to think of ways to achieve the goals of, and increase Public Awareness of, Ruritan. To that end, I have been going online here and there, and typing in the term “Ruritan” in the various search engines and see what pops up.

This morning I decided to look at Ebay, a popular shopping website, where many savvy shoppers go to find bargains online. I typed in the word “Ruritan” and got some very interesting results. Some were very tempting! If I were to start collecting “all things Ruritan” I would be like a kid in a candy shop! Packrat  Collector that I am, I am fighting that temptation, believe me!

Ebay logo

Ebay logo

I was interested, or perhaps I should say disheartened, to see two examples of Ebay vendors trying to sell Ruritan items at prices that I considered to be unreasonable. For example, one person listed a Ruritan sign (the type we try to hang near our buildings, and in our communities) for $300.00 (plus $15.99 shipping.) He says it is used, and has a bit of rust on it.

Those signs sell for $60 brand new, from the Ruritan National website!

Always trying to give someone the benefit of the doubt, I promptly sent the seller a message, advising him that those signs sell for $60 brand new, and that he might not get many people interested in buying his sign at such a high price. I asked him if he might have accidentally typed in an extra zero on his asking price – perhaps he meant to list it for sale for only $30. I will be interested to see what his reply to my inquiry will be. Here is a copy of his listing, pulled this morning:

Ruritan sign on Ebay

Ruritan sign listed for sale for $300 on Ebay

Another vendor had listed a Ruritan patch for sale on Ebay, for $7.95. This item has “Free Shipping” and it lists it as brand new. The vendor is not claiming it to be antique, or vintage, or anything else that would make it more valuable to anyone than the brand new, identical patch that you can purchase from Ruritan National for $2.50.

Reaching out to THAT seller, I let him know that people can purchase that item for $2.50 from Ruritan National and that he might find it difficult to sell his product at that price. Here is a copy of his listing, pulled this morning:

Ruritan patch on Ebay

Ruritan patch on Ebay

So, fellow Ruritans, when you are “cruising the Information Highway” and are finding Ruritan items for sale online, before you buy, please protect yourself, and your wallet. Do some comparison shopping before you commit to the purchase!

The website URL to the Ruritan National’s Supply Catalog (for your comparison shopping needs) can be found by clicking on this link: Ruritan National Supply Catalog.

I hope you found this post to be of some value to you today, and in the future.

Happy Smart Shopping!

Volunteers Needed!

Volunteer (free clip art)

Volunteer (free clip art)

Do you have the generosity of spirit that it takes to help not just your local Ruritan Club, but all of the Ruritan Clubs in the Rapidan District move forward? We need volunteers to serve on the District Cabinet! Specifically at this moment we need a Youth Activity Coordinator!

We have LOTS of great ideas on what the Youth Activity Coordinator can do, and how it can be accomplished, but we need someone to join in with the brainstorming, roll up their sleeves with us and help us “get it done!” We sure could use your help this year, and next year, too! We’d really appreciate having someone dedicated to Ruritan help us develop a guide of ideas, suggestions, and resources for the local clubs in respect to Ruritan youth, and help make sure the local clubs have access to the resources we pull together.

We care about our youth, right? After all, our clubs spend so much time raising money to award scholarships for students to further their education! Our youth need more than that, and we can give it to them! And we need what they can do for us! Perfect partners!

This is TEAMWORK we’re talking about, you would NOT be “on your own” with no help and lots of pressure. This will be fulfilling work, helping to get community youths involved in community service and the Ruritan organization. This is NOT going to be about pressuring clubs to “Create Ruri-Teen Clubs or Perish” – this is creative, “out of the box” thinking and planning. Won’t you join with us and help to keep Ruritan relevant to our communities and our youths?

You say you don’t know what that position is, or what it does? Here is the “position description” taken from page 36 of the official Ruritan Club and District Officer’s Handbook:

Youth Activity Coordinator

Duties of the Youth Coordinator

  1. Developing a youth activity program that helps serve the needs of youth in their communities.
  2. Providing opportunities through working agreements with other organizations that share the same values as Ruritans.
  3. Identifying, training, nurturing, and developing the leader­ship of our youth, which is vital to the future of Ruritan.

Strategies for District Youth Programs

A. Expanding opportunities with organizations with which Ruritan already has a working agreement.

B.  Identifying and developing working agreements with other organizations that will help us reach our goal.

C. Encouraging clubs who sponsor youth, or youth activi­ties, to make recipients aware of what our organization is all about.

D. Encouraging clubs to involve more youth in club meet­ings, i.e., invite youth to a meeting before sending them to a sponsored event and let them know what is expected of them and then invite them back after the event for a report.

E. Encouraging submission of youth related articles and events for inclusion in the Ruritan Magazine or Ruritan Newsletter and in district publications.

F.  Where applicable, encouraging zone or district meetings, on at least an annual basis, of high school Ru­ritan club members, Ruritan Student members, and other interested youth to discuss benefits, problems, or other issues related to Ruritan involvement or membership.

Interested? Fill out the form! We will get back to you!