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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why not NOW?

NOW is the acronym for New Optimists Welcome, a long-standing membership development program for Optimist Clubs. For as long as I can remember, Optimist Clubs have sponsored NOW activities for membership recruitment.


The NOW concept is simple - Your Optimist Club invites a group of prospective new members to a single event, explains what the Optimist Club is and what it does in the community, and then asks those assembled to join. When one person says yes, the group dynamics emboldens others to join as well.

Over the years, it has proved to be quite effective; however, it is important to follow the guidelines. Straying far from the recipe can lead to poor results as potential members become lost in the program delivery.

Here's what to do for a successful NOW program:

  • Set the location, date and time of the event - allow ample time for invitations, but not too long for enthusiasm to wane. Three to four weeks in advance seems about right. 
  • Identify potential new members
  • Send a letter to each prospective new member inviting them to the event
  • Follow-up by phone and email to remind invitees to attend
  • At the event, serve a meal, appetizers, desserts, drinks, or the like in order to allow time for networking
  • Begin the presentation on time
  • Show and tell about the Optimist Club's programs in short, no more than three-minute stories
  • Have a closer wrap up the stories, explain the dues and fees, share a personal testimony, and ASK for the sale
  • Have applications already at the tables, within reach, with Optimist Club members available to help the potential new member complete them NOW
  • Raise hands and voices when someone joins so that others catch the wave of excitement and join as well
  • Follow-up after the event with those who don't join at the event to extend the New Optimist Welcome pitch
  • Click here for the NOW brochure from Optimist International. 

The entire activity should be approximately one to one and one half hours long. It's important to respect your attendees time and to offer them value for their attendance. Networking and learning about something good in their community are benefits for small business owners and the efficient timeline allows them to move on to their next appointment in a timely manner. Such a first impression will encourage busy, career-minded individuals to give your Optimist Club a try.

NOW all you need to do is give them the opportunity to join an Optimist Club.

Friday, March 17, 2017

It's the Year of the Honor Club

pnw optimist clubs honor club
honor club goal setting

Optimist International President Jim Kondrasuk has declared the 2016-2017 administrative year to be the Year of the Honor Club.

What's this? Isn't every year the year of the Honor Club?

Each year, less than 25% of all Optimist Clubs earn the Honor Club recognition, so that means even fewer go on to receive the Distinguished Club designation. We can do better than that!

Clubs that meet the Honor Club designation have completed the minimum steps to ensure their Optimist Club is healthy and growing to serve future generations. Clubs that earn the Distinguished Club designation have served not only their club and community, but they have also expanded the reach of Optimist International by starting a new Optimist Club or adding fifteen or more new members to their club, equivalent to starting a new Optimist Club.

In an effort to encourage more Optimist Clubs to seek the best in administration, community service and growth, President Jim created a Goal Setting Plan for 2016-2017. In case this is the first time that you have seen this plan, be assured, March is as good a time to get started as October. There's plenty of time to make your Optimist Club an Honor Club.

Click on the pictures to enlarge and print. Here are the eight steps to Honor Club:
  • Complete three or more service projects each year 
  • Complete the President’s Pride Report and Club Officer-Elect Form 
  • Recognize a Club member or local community individual 
  • Grow Club by Net of +3 in membership
  • Appoint a Club Foundation Representative and make a non-restricted contribution to the OIF or CCOF 
  • Conduct a Membership Recruitment/Drive such as a NOW Program 
  • Club President or Club President-Elect (or two Designees) attend District Convention (or two other District meetings/conferences) 
  • Be current on District and OI Dues and Fees
Add one more step and be a Distinguished Optimist Club:
  • Add Net + 15 in membership OR Build one or more new Clubs OR 
  • Increase by Net + 8 and build two or more JOOI Club
Please do your part to make certain that your Optimist Club is an Honor Club.  

Together we can make our communities and our organization healthy, vital and brimming with optimism. Together we can. 

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