Tell your club’s story and attract new members

Tell your club’s story and attract new members

Use a showcase exhibit at your next event to spotlight your club’s service and fellowship opportunities.

By Julie Saetre

Is your club planning to host or attend a community event soon? Make the most of it with a showcase exhibit. Whether you’re staffing a fundraising booth, hosting a 5K or holding a club open house, a display is an ideal vehicle to get more people interested in your club. Use these showcase ideas as inspiration: 

  • Picture the possibilities. Select 10 to 15 photos (depending on the size of your space and the expected crowd level). Include shots of service projects, fundraising events and fellowship activities. Enlarge the photos for more impact and consider adding captions or brief descriptions. Choose your images carefully: Focus on children being helped or having fun (and make sure you have photo releases signed by parents or guardians), members working together and other action shots. Find more tips for getting great shots on page 7 of the Kiwanis Tips & Tools guide. 
  • Show and tell. Include items from past and present projects, gatherings and accomplishments. Examples: a T-shirt from a recent walk-a-thon or race your club sponsored, an invitation to an upcoming fundraiser, a letter of appreciation from a local official or a beneficiary of a service project. 
  • Power up. Prepare a PowerPoint or similar presentation of your club’s greatest hits. Keep each slide simple and easy to read, with one key highlight or statistic per slide. Intersperse your text slides with colorful photos (similar to the ones suggested in the first bullet point) and contact information for your club. Be sure to include slides that invite new members to join your club! 

Suggest taking time at a club meeting to brainstorm on how to best highlight your club. Your showcase exhibit should serve as a conversation starter with future members — so make sure current members are ready to share their own Kiwanis stories! 

Connecting to the community through bocce

Connecting to the community through bocce

Need a fresh fundraising idea? In recent years, one Kiwanis club has partnered up for an annual competition.

By Julie Saetre

A sports-related fundraiser is no stranger to the Kiwanis family. But when the Kiwanis Club of Methuen in Massachusetts, U.S., initiated a new event two years ago, they didn’t go with a golf, basketball, baseball, soccer or even a hockey tournament. The Methuen club rolled in a different direction: a bocce tournament.  

In part, the fundraiser is a good example of a Kiwanis club knowing its community — and taking advantage of the potential partners and resources around them.  

“We’re blessed to have a Sons of Italy Bocce Center in our town,” says Eileen Giordano, club secretary. “Many cities and towns have community bocce courts outdoors.”  

So, in 2022, the club launched its bocce tournament, in which teams of four compete for the Gold Cup Award. All skill levels are welcome, Giordano says.  

“This game is easy enough to learn, so no experience is needed to have a good time,” she adds. “The tournament director gives a brief tutorial at the beginning of play.” 

Fees and partners
To raise funds, the club charges each player an entry fee to compete. That fee also entitles competitors to breakfast pastries and coffee, as well as lunch donated by a local restaurant. Prior to competition day, club members send letters to business and community partners asking for support through goods or services — or by sponsoring a bocce lane, the “pallino” (the small target ball during play) or the event itself.

The Methuen Sons of Italy Lodge provides the tournament director and two referees. The top four teams receive trophies.

The 2024 tournament included players from Kiwanis clubs representing six communities, including Methuen.  

“Methuen Kiwanis made almost US$6,000,” Giordano says. “[The members] built relationships with other club members who, hopefully, will return next year.” 

Are your fundraisers getting stale?
If your members are losing their enthusiasm or the public’s interest is waning, a new approach could be just the refresher your club needs. Take time to brainstorm with your club members. What resources in your community could be an inspiration — and a partner — for a new fundraiser?  

To see what works for other clubs, scroll through the fundraising category on the Kiwanis International blog.  

UNICEF announces MNT elimination in Mali

UNICEF announces MNT elimination in Mali

With help from organizations including Kiwanis, Mali is the latest country to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.

By Erin Chandler

Kiwanis International joins organizations and individuals around the world in celebrating the elimination of maternal and neonatal tetanus (MNT) in Mali. On April 24, UNICEF confirmed that Mali is the most recent country to achieve MNT elimination out of the priority countries identified in 1999 — those with more than one case of neonatal tetanus per 1,000 live births. 

MNT is a painful and deadly disease that disproportionately affects areas where poverty, lack of education and inadequate health infrastructure make unhygienic birth practices more common. Kiwanis partnered with UNICEF in its global campaign to eliminate MNT in 2010, and since then, newborn deaths from tetanus have dropped significantly. Twenty-eight of the 49 priority countries that have achieved MNT elimination have done so since Kiwanis became involved in the project. Prior to Mali, the most recent was Chad in 2019. 

In 2023, the Kiwanis Children’s Fund granted US$275,000 to UNICEF to help facilitate mass tetanus vaccination campaigns for women of reproductive age in countries such as Pakistan, Guinea and Yemen, where MNT remains a significant threat. The grant also funded the assessments and surveys that validated the elimination of MNT in Mali, and it will help strengthen the health systems there to ensure that MNT does not make a comeback. 

Support for UNICEF’s fight against MNT is just one way Kiwanis has furthered the cause of children’s health around the world. In June, the Kiwanis Children’s Fund’s Pediatric Medicine Support Grant Program awarded funds to help renovate a burn unit at a children’s hospital in Jamaica, add a pediatric play therapy room to a new hospital in North Dakota, U.S., and deliver comfort items to hospitalized kids in California, U.S. In addition, Children’s Fund grants and microgrants fund Kiwanis club projects like free clinics and health screenings, meal programs and accessible playgrounds every month in communities around the world. 

You can make a gift to the Children’s Fund today to make a healthier world possible for kids everywhere.