More About This Website

This website was created by Research Idaho to support new club building in the Pacific Northwest District of Optimist International.  We hope that you will find the information helpful wherever your club or district is located.  Please direct questions or comments to:

Linda Vaught





Say it again and again

No one knows what your Optimist Club is doing until you tell them about it.  This includes your members, other organizations, city and county officials, school districts and the media.  It's up to you to tell your story in a compelling way so that others learn to respect the good deeds and hard work provided by their local Optimist Club.  Following are some great ways to tell your Optimist Club story.  

The resources on this page have been created by Research Idaho (c) 2006-2011. Reproduction of any material for personal gain is strictly prohibited.  We thank you for crediting Research Idaho or when copying or distributing for philanthropic, service or community development purposes.

Communicating with your club members

First and foremost, write a club newsletter.  This can be one page or many pages, as long as you let your members know what is happening. After all, how can they choose to participate when they don't know what's going on?

10 tips for writing newsletters that get read

Use email!  It's a cheap and efficient way to communicate with your members and other audiences, but before you do, let them know you will be emailing them.  Otherwise, your email will wind up as spam and no one will benefit from your efforts.  Remember, never email to anyone who has asked to be removed from the list and always protect your list by sending a blind copy or creating undisclosed recipient list.

Definition of spam: To indiscriminately send unsolicited, unwanted, irrelevant, or inappropriate messages, especially commercial advertising in mass quantities. Noun: electronic "junk mail".

Start a Blog or build a Website.   Both can tell your story 24/7.  They are always open and it's becoming easier and easier to create and maintain one. 

Try Google Blogger for free.                                  Look at a sample blog.

Call and remind them.  Sometimes all it takes to get people to participate is an extra reminder, push or contact.  What is the number one reason that people join an Optimist Club?  Because someone asked them.  The same can be said for any event, meeting or activity that you plan.  Make the personal contact with those that you want to be there or use a phone tree to get everyone in on the fun.

Phone tree template

Personalize your communication to potential members.  Make sure your invitation to join tells the potential member who you are, what you do and where you meet.  Send us an email to have this membership brochure personalized and printed for your club or download the Word file to your computer and make the changes yourself.  

Optimist Club membership brochure   PDF

Optimist Club membership brochure   Word


Working with the media

Prepare your elevator speech.  In thirty seconds or less, you should be able to communicate what your Optimist Club is promoting, why it is important to the community, when it is happening and how the listener can find out more.  This is critical when talking not only to reporters, but to everyone in our busy world today, where everyone is competing for attention.  The thirty-second infomercial is used in all settings and a good one will get you noticed.

The Elevator Speech

Write a press release.  Most newspapers have some space they choose to devote to community activities.  Learn to write a concise press release that explains who, what, where, when and why for all of your programs and submit it to them in a timely manner.  Make a quick phone call to the most likely reporter, or editor if appropriate, to be sure they received your notice. 

Get your story in print                                         Look at a sample press release

Submit your activities to community bulletin boards.  This is a free resource offered by television and radio stations.  Follow the guidelines and get your message in early and your event may draw enough attention that the on-air personalities talk about it as part of their program. 

Create public service announcements.  Corporate sponsors may be available to help advertise programs or projects with true public benefits.  Your local media outlets may provide direction in pursuing this option.

Paid advertising.  Sometimes the best way to tell your story is to pay to do it. 

Choose a spokesperson.  Who is the best person to tell the Optimist story?  Every member has their personal testimony for why they belong to their Optimist Club, but some faces are more recognizable than others and some stories are more compelling.  Look both inside and outside your club for the person that embodies the spirit of Optimism in your community and ask them to help you get the word out about the good deeds of your Optimist Club. 

12 Skills for the Key Spokesperson


Communicating with others

Other organizations and your civic leaders would appreciate knowing what your club is doing.   Open communication prevents the appearance of exclusivity.  Don't you want people to participate in your functions? Aren't you on the lookout for new members?  A quick phone call or letter will extend an invitation to others that you are open for participation and interaction.

Tips for effective communication

Open communication may also reveal avenues for collaboration.  There are so many organizations serving similar populations.  Extend the reach of your Optimist Club by finding others with whom to build programs and conduct projects.  Consider visiting other clubs or inviting them to yours to share ideas. 

It's the best way to tell your story