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What’s your signature project?

Vicki Hermansen | May 20, 2019

Three men assemble a piece of playground equipment.

Every club should have a signature project — the one thing for which a club is known in the community. It could be a park, a playground or a concert — whatever it is, people know it’s a Kiwanis club event and want to participate.

Signature projects are well-known and highly regarded because they provide a valuable and needed service to a community. Signature projects should elevate the awareness of Kiwanis and your club in general; engage new members and remind current members why they joined Kiwanis.

There are a few rules for signature projects. All signature projects should be: 

  • Recurring — the event should take place annually. 
  • Brand-enhancing — the event should elevate the Kiwanis brand in the community and provide opportunities for public and media relations. 
  • High impact — have a positive impact on the club that can be verified or measured.  
  • Member focused — the project should help attract new members because people want to be involved and retain current members.

  • How does a club select a signature project? It’s easy. Make kids the focus! Projects that help kids — whether it’s reading, playing or having access to healthy food — are best. Why? Because Kiwanis is dedicated to helping children. Determine if local or Kiwanis International partners can be involved. The more hands you have, the more kids you can help. And finally, be able to report and quantify your results.  

    If your club is ready to consider a signature project, but can’t identify something worthwhile, here are some ideas:

    We’re big on playgrounds and parks because we believe children deserve to have safe places to play. Partnering with a city or school extends your club’s fiscal reach and provides a place for more children to play. Look around your city or town and determine if there’s an old play space or park that could benefit from new equipment.  

    Sell something! Sell pancakes! Fundraisers count as signature projects, and Kiwanis clubs are known for their pancake breakfasts. Add some fun elements — a contest to see who can eat the most pancakes, who can flip a flapjack the highest or deliver pancakes to table the fastest and get your Key Club, Builders Club or Aktion Club to join in. A fun event is something people remember, and when you use the proceeds to benefit kids, everyone wins.  

    Literacy projects are also popular. Young kids love to have story time, and adults are often needed to read to children in preschools and daycare centers. All libraries and media centers benefit from books, and proceeds from a fundraiser could buy needed books for classrooms or a school’s special project. Kiwanis partner Scholastic can help your club install a reading oasis in a school, providing a quiet, safe space for families to read books.  

    Each potential project offers an opportunity for media and public relations and branding. You'll want to share your events with the local media and make sure your events are properly branded with your club’s logo. You can put your logo on T-shirts, fliers, menus, helmets, books — anything you can sell or give away. Your brand will help your club become well-known in the community.

    When you’ve decided on your project, recruited new members to help and experienced a successful event, your club can enter the annual Signature Project Contest. This contest is held annually, with winners announced at the Kiwanis International convention. Check out some of the winners from 2017 and 2018 and plan your club’s signature project.

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