When Gainesville’s Main Street program announced they would have a “Festival of Trees” in our County Courthouse, Cooke County Area Toasters jumped on the idea of putting up a tree to promote Toastmasters. President Pauline Lesch had attended D25’s Fall Conference, and received a bookmarker with a motivational quote on it. As she reported to the club about Fall Conference, the two ideas came together, and the “Be inspired!” theme emerged.
We collected quotes for the fronts of the bookmarkers. The backs contain our club mission statement, meeting information and website. Why was that important? Because our tree topper is a sign that invites visitors to pick a quote that inspires them and take a bookmarker home for themselves or for a friend.
An assortment of used books and Toastmaster magazines decorating the base of the tree are also there for the taking. The tree will be on display until January 2, so we will be replenishing the tree throughout the month.
We posted pictures on Facebook and our website, and emailed a message to all our members. An article will appear in our Fourth Quarter 2014 club newsletter next week. We are encouraging everyone to go see the tree and to VOTE for it! We hope to win a $100 gift certificate. If we do, we’ll get bonus publicity from the Festival of Trees sponsor when they announce the winners.
In addition to the opportunity to market Toastmasters, the Festival of Trees gave us a meaningful project to work on together. Teamwork and fun are such vital parts of the Toastmaster experience! At our meeting in early December, an assembly line of Cooke County Area Toasters (CCAT) elves coupled the printed quotes with colorful paper and laminated them, cut them apart, punched holes and tied ribbons. We laughed and visited while we worked. It was especially fun to have one of our newer members helping.
We are convinced that membership growth requires consistent visibility. Membership in the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce and regular attendance at weekly networking helps our club tune in to opportunities to interact with business leaders, civic groups and non-profits. We become aware of events like the Festival of Trees. For a small entry fee, we get exposure we could never afford otherwise.
Watch for opportunities in your community. There may be a place for your club to “be inspired” to promote Toastmasters!