Fundraising Requirements:

  • staff1JuFa’s (Junior Facilitators – staff under 21 years of age as of the seminar): $150 minimum
  • SuFa’s (Senior Facilitators – staff over 21 as of seminar): $150 minimum

Why we need staff members to help raise funds:

It costs about $40,000 to put the seminar on each year. Most of that expense is the housing, meals and room costs for the seminar itself. While we have many generous donors, only about half of that money comes from student or event sponsorship. Those of us that love the seminar and want to keep it going must raise the rest.

The Board of Directors tries to organize several fundraisers throughout the year, including raising money at Optimist Conferences, holding St. Louis and Kansas City Trivia Nights, and picture sales. However, we must still rely on staff to raise the $10,000 – $15,000 that these events and our donors cannot provide.

The Board is made up of 10-15 people. The entire staff consists of about 80 people. You can imagine how much larger our network is when we all work together to raise funds, instead of just the small number of people on the board. We are counting on your help, and we couldn’t put seminar on each year without it.

Ways to Raise Funds:

Potential fundraising sources include; family, friends, neighbors, businesses, your own events, and more.  There are many sources for you to tap into. A few ideas:

  • Send out a fundraising Donation Letter  to local organizations and businesses.
  • Speak to a local Optimist, GFWC, Kiwanis or other civic organization and ask for students sponsorship money. Email if you need help identifying one of these organizations.
  • Hold a coin drive, or ask people at school to donate extra change over the course of the next month
  • Put on a small fundraiser – email the main account for further ideas in this area:

How to turn in funds raised:

You can turn your funds in by:

  1. Bringing them to training (or seminar if you miss training)
  2. Get people to donate with credit card through our GoFundMe or Paypal accounts
  3. Mailing checks to the Director of Finances,

Ms. Shelby Haskins
201 SE Crescent Street, Lees Summit, MO 6506

Make sure you fill out and turn in a thank you database form for any donations received. These forms are how we ensure donors receive a thank you letter from an ambassador.

Fundraising Tips and Tricks by Garrett Hill:

Being able to be a successful fundraiser for any organization is actually quite simple.  All you have to do is be passionate when you’re talking about the organization, and be clear and to the point about what you are asking.  Simply put; keep it energetic, and keep it on point.

Below I have listed a few helpful hints and tips that allow my mother and I to get all of our fundraising done and more for Missouri Leadership Seminar, as well as, build a lasting relationship with the Optimist Clubs across the state of Missouri.  I do all of these things when attending the Optimist Conferences, Optimist meetings across the state, working the Fireworks tent in Kansas City, or in casual passing with people whom are interested.

The biggest piece of advice I can give is: tell people why you care about MLS, and ask for a specific donation amount. It can be small ($5-$25) if you are asking an individual, or larger ($100-$500) when asking a club or organization. Whatever you ask for, your passion for MLS will shine through and they will want to help you.

The Elevator Pitch

Anybody from MLS can go on for days about the seminar, but most individuals don’t have more than a few moments to spare when attending Optimist events due to the work load.  Therefore, it is crucial that you nail a quick pitch that will last a minute or two that highlights the entire seminar in its glory.  Here is an example of mine that I say constantly at conferences and meetings when time is sparse.

  “Missouri Leadership Seminar is a three day experience for sophomores in high school that gives the students leadership skills, personal growth, and self empowerment.  Over the course of these three days the students attend educational panels on hot topic issues such as; diversity, bullying, and student rights in school and on social media.  During these panels the students get to hear from professionals that present various points of view. We don’t want to tell the students how to think, but to broaden their range of thinking because most students have their values thrust upon them from families, communities, or what they see in the media.  We also promote a volunteerism and giving back to local communities, including doing a volunteer project during seminar for the veteran’s home in Warrensburg.  The seminar is packed with education, group dynamic discussions, energy and a ton of fun. It’s offered free of cost to participating students, but costs about $40,000 to put on, all raised by staff members and friends of MLS. Do you have any questions?”

Then you put the ball in their court and you can elaborate more on topics the individual or group wants to know about, if the person or group has time.

Remember people are busy and some might not have the time to hear the elaborated version of MLS, but with a quick and concise elevator pitch you can touch the major aspects of seminar.  Once the elevator pitch is perfected, then you can begin to go into more detail of each point and before you know it you can have a 5-10 minute detailed presentation that can get a sponsorship or donation.

Helpful Hints and Tips

  • Tell people why you care about MLS, and ask for a specific donation amount
  • Don’t start by asking for money. Converse with them like a normal person first.  Ask them how they are.  How their day is.  Where are they from?
  • Be passionate about MLS because nobody will donate to something you aren’t dedicated to. This is reflected in your tone and body language.
  • Don’t be overbearing! If a person cannot hear your pitch due to time or not being interested, don’t force them to.  A bad review does more damage than the positives of  a good review.
  • Don’t go to fast when you talk, and use “tie downs” when you’re going into more detail.
    • Examples:
      • Does this make sense so far?
      • That sounds pretty great doesn’t it?
      • Wouldn’t you agree with that?
      • That’s powerful isn’t it?
    • Be excited! You’re talking about MLS, and your energy will spread through all the people you meet.
  • It all comes down to asking. If you don’t ask then the answer is always no!  Get out there an meet some people.

How to present MLS to a club or organization in a meeting. 

This is an outline I have used many times when presenting to a big group or meeting.  Try to keep this to 5-10 minutes.

  1. Introductions
    1. Yourself, ambassador year, positions held
    2. MLS – 3 day seminar, empowering students to become leaders
  2. Presentation Overview
    1. About MLS
    2. Seminar events
    3. Panels
    4. Volunteering
    5. Q & A
  3. MLS
    1. 3 day free of charge seminar
      1. Don’t charge the students to come because we believe they will really benefit from the experience. The money to put on seminar is raised primarily through donations, sponsorships and staff fundraising.
    2. 150+ ambassadors from across Missouri
      1. Put in random groups and by Sunday they’re a close knit family
    3. Completely funded from gracious donations and gifts in kind
  4. Seminar Panels
    1. Hot topic & Education panels
    2. Volunteerism
    3. Diversity (basic overview – frame it around trying to reduce bullying by helping students connect over diversity issues)
    4. What are they?
      1. Break out rooms for intense discussion and education
      2. Benefits of these
    5. Seminar Events and Fun
      1. Panel skit
        1. Kids create a skit based on a panel.
      2. PMA
        1. Do a quick cheer
          1. Go Bananas
        2. Optimist Chicken Dinner
        3. Warm Fuzzies
      3. Volunteering
        1. Warrensburg Veteran’s Home
          1. Toiletries and requested items for the home
          2. Blankets and socks making for veterans
        2. Soda Pop Challenge
          1. Foundation started by MLS member Kori Quinn to fight cancer
        3. Volunteerism panel
          1. Encourages students to go out and give back in their communities
          2. Imagine having 150+ students a year complete 100 service hours each
      4. “That sounds pretty great doesn’t it?”
  1. Q & A
  2. Thank You

Quick Encounters with Optimists | How Garrett Hill opens and closes the sale of MLS! 

  1. Open the conversation with some causal interaction.   How are you? Where are you from?  What Optimist club are you from?
  2. Are you familiar with MLS? Does your club sponsor a student?
    1. They will say, “Yes we sponsor a student and are familiar.”
      1. Ask who they sponsored? Did they come in to speak?
      2. Tell them about the seminar this year
        1. Couple of quick points or new things we offer
  • Ask them if they have any questions
  1. Skip down to section 4
  1. “Yes, we are familiar but we don’t sponsor.”
    1. Tread lightly here
    2. Ask them why they don’t sponsor
  • Tell them about the seminar this year
    1. Couple of quick points and new things we offer
  1. Ask them if they have any questions
  2. Skip down to section 4
  1. “No, we are not familiar.”
    1. Go straight into the elevator pitch
  2. Elevator pitch
    1. Tie down at the very end, “That sounds pretty great doesn’t it!”
    2. “Do you have any questions?”
  3. Ball is in their court, answer each one the best you can.
    1. Include personal experiences
    2. How did seminar affect you?
    3. I will discuss all points of the seminar BUT I give a limited overview of the diversity panel. Not because it’s bad, but treading lightly here has worked well for me.  Keeping it a secret and not potentially making the individual think about that part to much because that is a lot to take in.
  4. Have you had a MLS member come and speak with your club? Would you like to set that up?
    1. “Yes, we have had an MLS member come and speak.”
      1. Would you like to have another?
      2. Get their name, contact info, club name
    2. “Yes, we would like to have an MLS member come and speak”
      1. Get their name, contact info, club name
      2. Send it to Garrett or Charlu Hill and we will get them set up
    3. “No, we would not like to have an MLS member come and speak”
      1. Say have a great day or something like that and just move on. This rarely happens, don’t worry if it does because that might just be a single member who doesn’t speak for the entire club.
    4. Thanks for talking with me. If you think of any questions come back and see me!

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