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Winter 2014 • 17 16 • The Optimist

Friend of Optimists—

community members or businesses who believe in the mission of Optimist International and the work Clubs do in their communities, but may not be able to commit to a full membership due to time constraints or because they do not have an Optimist Club in their area.

In today’s busy world, volunteerism continues to rise and people remain committed to helping their communities. However, Clubs often encounter recruitment issues because many of the people they invite to become Members decline. Some people may simply not want to join, while others have numerous responsibilities that take priority in their lives.

These people may support the concept of “bringing out the best in kids,” but not be able to ft the commitment into their schedules. The Friend of Optimists membership class was created to accommodate these individuals.

A Friend of Optimists membership allows a person to encourage and assist the work of the Club, even when they cannot devote the time of a regular Member. They may choose to participate in service projects or fundraisers, but there are no set expectations for Friends. While they may not attend every meeting or project, a Friend can still provide valuable support to a Club.

Who can be a Friend?

Every Club has at least one person or local business that would be a perfect ft for a Friend. Think about the busy teacher who encourages her students to enter your Club’s annual essay contest. She may have her days full, but she supports young people and the work of your Club. Consider the local bakery owner who supplies cookies at a discount for your Club’s holiday parties for disadvantaged youth. He provides a service that helps you serve the children of your community.

Aim high! If your Club has asked the mayor to sign a proclamation declaring June as Childhood Cancer Month in your city, invite him to become a Friend of Optimists. Another option would be to present him with a Friend of Optimists membership as a “thank you.” This allows him to have an inside look at the work your Club does for the community and he may be more apt to offer assistance in the future.

Think about all the people in your life – relatives, family, friends and coworkers. It’s quite likely Optimist Members surround themselves with other like-minded individuals who care about children and their community. While a number of these individuals may not be able to commit to attending meetings,

they may be willing to be a Friend to your Club and assist with a fnancial contribution or volunteer hours.

What do Friends receive?

The cost of a one-year Friend of Optimists membership is $100. If the local Optimist Club is mentioned on the application, $40 will go back to the Club. If no Club is mentioned, the $40 will go to the District in which the Friend resides.

In exchange for the fee, a Friend will receive a one-year subscription to The Optimist magazine, a membership card and a cling-on Friend of Optimists decal. Friends will be covered under Optimist International insurance only when participating in an Optimist Club or District activity. Friends will not have voting rights at District or International Conventions.

Why does my Club need Friends?

One of the best things about the Friend of Optimists membership is that it opens the door for people to become regular Members in the future. If a Friend’s schedule settles down, they

may be more likely to join the Club as a participating Member because they have seen frst-hand how your Club serves youth.

Every Club needs resources. Financial support is necessary for Clubs to conduct their service programs for youth. Friends may choose to provide funds for an activity instead of attending planning meetings or working at the event. Other Friends may offer services or in-kind donations. Clubs sometimes face unanticipated challenges and a Friend may be more willing to help because they have been made to feel like part of the group.

Having Friends is just another way Optimist Clubs can continue to bring out the best in kids. When you ask someone to join your Club and they say “no,” the Friend of Optimists program offers an alternative that might turn their answer into a “yes.”

Want to learn more about the Friend of Optimists program?

Visit www.optimist.org or contact the Membership department at 800-500-8130 or membership@optimist.org.

Keep Your Optimist Friends

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