Tag Archives: publicity

Fitsteps fundraiser

 

Participants dancing

Everyone enjoying a…whatever this move was

Recently, we had another fundraiser for International Trip Guide.  A couple of leaders in my district go to Fitsteps classes – Fitsteps is a bit like Zumba but with ballroom dance/Strictly moves, no partner or previous experience required – and because they’re chatty, enthusiastic people who tell everyone they know about Guiding, they mentioned ITG to their instructor and she very kindly agreed to run a taster session free of charge.

Free for the instructor, that is: we charged participants £5 and, as always, there were refreshments and a raffle.  I’ll tell you now that we raised a respectable £172.50, another dent in ITG’s fundraising.

Table of cakes for sale

An antidote to all that exercise!

I designed the posters and distributed some of them, and made some cakes, but I wasn’t involved in running the event; I just turned up and enjoyed!

I had a great time: I do like a good dance, and it was fun working out to waltz steps, quickstep and so on.  Some of the footwork was a bit too quick for me, but I like a challenge!  The instructor was very good (and energetic), and apparently she picked up a few new class members so it was a win all round.

Fitsteps instructor on stage

A bit blurry, but ideal for anonymity!

Attendance was ok, not massive – only one of my Guides came, despite a lot of pushing: you can lead a horse to water etc. – but actually it was a good number for the size of the hall.  Any more and it would have started to feel a bit crowded.  I spoke to a few leaders/Trefoilers/friends’ mums whom I hadn’t seen for a while, which was lovely.

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Will you take my flyers?

I was on the publicity trail last Saturday, giving out flyers for my division’s Big Brownie Birthday tea party (more on which soon!) a week later.

My District Commissioner and I started out in the venue where the tea party is taking place.  They were having an open day to showcase all the things that happen there, so we took the opportunity to scatter our flyers on tables and chairs, in the café, in reception, and so on, and to chat and press them upon anyone who’d listen.

DC stayed to do more of that, and I took a stack of flyers and went around the shops in town asking the staff if they’d be willing to take a few for the counter, for customers to pick up.  I’ve put up lots of posters in my time but I’d never done this before, so I was pleasantly surprised that almost everywhere I asked was very happy to take them.

In fact, I only got two “no’s”,: one in a charity shop, where the cashier nicely said that they had a policy of only advertising their own things (I didn’t try any other big-name charity shops after this, as I suspect they would be the same), and another where the owner kindly explained that they didn’t have much counter space to display them and the nature of her interactions with customers was such that there wouldn’t be much chance to mention them – they’d tried it before with other advertising and it just hadn’t worked – and she even suggested a few other places to try, so still very positive.

In other shops, a couple had special tables where they put local flyers, some said they’d leave them on the counter or put one in the window, some said they’d put them in the staffroom, and some took them without much comment, possibly just wanting to get rid of me!  Many of these were independent shops: we’re lucky to have quite a few in town.  So there we go: I’ve learned about another way of publicising an event.

Other leaders in my District and Division have been working equally hard if not harder on publicity: with posters, on the radio, on social media, in clubs and societies and at church, by word of mouth to friends and acquaintances.  I’m writing this before the event, and we’re all crossing our fingers and toes that our efforts will pay off and we’ll have a good turnout!

Bag packing

Shopping trolley full of packed bags

Time for some fundraising!  My Guides went bag packing in our local Sainsbury’s from 9am-1pm one Saturday.  Altogether, 7 Guides and 4 adults helped, and by chance we managed to have quite even coverage over the morning, with some arriving as others left.  Not loads of people, but more than we expected based on uptake the week before.  It was enough to have a definite presence, with one person to every 2 or 3 checkouts.  We also had an adult “floating” near the exit, keeping an eye on our pile of coats and bags and handing out flyers for forthcoming events.

Everyone who helped was a credit to guiding, and for a fairly small number of people in just 4 hours, we did very well to raise £300, plus lots of Active Kids vouchers.  Hurrah for the generous shoppers and accommodating Sainsbury’s employees!  The money will be divided between our unit’s camp funds and one Guide’s international trip.

Shopping trolley full of packed bags

One of our forthcoming events is a tea party for anyone local who has ever been a Brownie (anywhere) to celebrate the Big Brownie Birthday, so we tried to ask all the female customers whether they had been Brownies, and if so we told them about the party and directed them to the leader with the flyers.  For some customers, enough to make it worthwhile, this question opened up some nice little bits of conversation, e.g.

“Yes, and I loved my uniform with the brown dress and bobble hat.”

“Yes, I was Sixer of the Imps.”

“Yes, and I still have my camp blanket!”

“No, but I was a Brown Owl!”

“No, but my granddaughters are and they love it.”

It showed how being a Brownie is often a very formative experience and really sticks in the mind decades later.

Setting up shop

One fine Saturday, leaders and Trefoil Guilders from two local Districts took over a shared community space in town to do some promotion.

If “shared community space” sounds vague, it means a former shop that’s being rented by a group of local volunteers, who have decorated it, fitted it with lights and a kitchen, and added tables, chairs, soft furnishings, shelves, a photo exhibition and a “bring and swap” area.  Volunteers are running skill-sharing events there such as crafts and home brewing, and it’s available for local groups and individuals to hire at a very reasonable price for a day or an evening.

When I heard about it in the local news, I thought it would be great to have a Girlguiding event there, and fortunately other leaders in my District agreed.  Three of us went to visit in January, and on impulse, before we could change our minds, we booked it for a day in March.  We didn’t have a clear plan what we would do, so we billed it with the open name of “Girlguiding Takeover”.

Fast forward two months, and we’d included the District next door and decided to make it a general promotion event, with displays of photos and memorabilia and a tent:

A dome tent and display boards in a shop space

Freebies:

Table covered in Girlguiding leaflets and freebies

Girlguiding helium balloons on the ceiling

Crafts:

Card/drinking straw dafodil craft

Made with: a straw, a mini cake case, and a cut-out flower. Simples!

Carboard basket craft with knitted chick inside

Refreshments:

Fairy cakes decorated with trefoils and rainbow sweets

And a side order of fundraising for a Guide who is going on an international trip:

Table of items for sale for fundraising

We had a good number of adult helpers from both Districts and all sections and of all ages, which I was really happy about.  It was lovely to get to know leaders from the other District better, as we don’t often do things together, and when we do, we’re usually occupied with our girls.  As another leader said, it’s a false barrier as we’re in two towns that almost run into each other and have loads of crossover.

I was touched by the amount that everyone contributed, not just in time but also in terms of bringing display materials (I was worried we wouldn’t have much, but in the end I didn’t put up most of the photos I’d brought as there was no space left) and cakes (again, I was worried we wouldn’t have enough but we didn’t even need to open the tin I’d brought).  It just goes to show how wonderful, willing and helpful our volunteers are.

We weren’t overwhelmed with visitors; someone went to hand out flyers around town every hour or so, but there just weren’t many people about.  As it was a lovely sunny day, we thought perhaps everyone had gone off to do fun things rather than going to the shops.  Still, we had quite a few visitors at mid-morning and mid-afternoon, especially families.  Some were already Rainbows/Brownies/Guides, others not.  We had some good conversations going and there was a nice friendly atmosphere.

We hoped to recruit some volunteers, and we came away with about half a dozen names and contact details of potential “occasional helpers”, which could be good.  I managed to get one helper for Guides, who has now come to three meetings!  We also had quite a few parents coming to ask about how their daughters could join Rainbows/Brownies, or saying that they’d registered their interest but hadn’t heard anything.  This is great of course, but the waiting lists – especially for Rainbows – are so big we could open another unit if we just had a few more leaders.  You’ve heard this all before, of course: it’s the same everywhere.

All in all, I’m glad the event happened, even though there weren’t as many visitors as hoped.  It was good to collaborate with the community space project, good to bond with other leaders, and I think those who did visit had fun and got a good impression of local guiding.  We also got some press attention (thanks to our wonderful PR advisers) both before and after.