2008 Excellence Award Winners

Excellence in Fund-raising

Quota International of Atascadero, California, United States, District 33

Persistence pays off—and Quota International of Atascadero’s Excellence Award-winning project is proof! Four years after its inception, the club’s annual Starlight Extravaganza has become a well-oiled machine. Each year, the club holds the event on the second Saturday of September, a date that has become well-known in the community and identified by the chamber of commerce on its “Things to Do” calendar, and each year more and more guests come to join them for an evening of dinner and dancing.

With their experience, Quotarians have been able to develop a timeline and governance structure that establishes clear goals and guides its committees efficiently through the planning process. In addition to establishing a consistent date and location (a member’s barn), they have developed committees with clear tasks and goals. Each October, they hold a meeting to select a chair, allow members to sign up for committees, and pick a theme for the event. Over the course of the year, these committees follow the timeline, and then the group reconvenes regularly to share progress and offer feedback and suggestions.

The 2007 Starlight Extravaganza was the most successful ever, featuring member-made appetizers, dinner, and dessert, followed by a live auction, wine tasting (wine is donated by local wineries) and dancing with live music. The event netted a whopping $25,909. It’s an outstanding number on its own, but compared to the $5,000 the club raised just four years before, it’s amazing—and an indication that the Extravaganza could result in even more success in the years ahead.

To read or print the club’s winning application, click here*.

Quota International of Wooster, Ohio, United States, District 6

When examining Quota International of Wooster’s annual fund-raiser—a dinner and auction—onlookers might say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” After all, the goals achieved by the club’s fund-raising event had become increasingly easy to administer. Wooster Quotarians, though, believed they could achieve more—an event that would appeal to a wider community, be affordable, foster community participation, and build awareness of Quota. In the course of trying to figure out just what that event would be, the club realized that it should also adopt new technology, involve the media, be replicable for other clubs, and be unique in the community. It was a tall order, but the club was up for the challenge.

Capitalizing on the frenzy around American reality show “American Idol,” the club decided to run an American Idol competition of its own. Club members got the community involved from the beginning, partnering with a local newspaper to run a naming contest and create a buzz, and then teaming up with newspapers, the local television station, and phone company to provide media coverage and provide voting avenues—residents could vote via toll-free lines and the Internet and watch rebroadcasts on local television and the Internet.

The competition, dubbed “Singing Sensations,” kicked off with two weeks of auditions that narrowed to 16 finalists competing for a cash prize or a trip to audition for “American Idol.” The competition itself took place over three consecutive Saturday evenings. Following the first two nights, viewers could vote for their favorites by phone and Internet. In the finale, voters had to purchase a $12 ticket to watch the event live, and the club sold 616 tickets for the event and the following after-party. Once the winner had been crowned, the club could count its earnings; approximately $20,000, which funded 10 sound-field amplification systems, 14 hearing aids, and 5 scholarships. There were also a few bonuses, though—the satisfaction that came with pulling off a new event and the knowledge that they had achieved their goal to engage the community. In the course of three weeks, over 700,000 residents not only cast their votes and were introduced to Singing Sensations, but also Quotarians—the service sensations in their own community.

To read or print the club’s winning application, click here*.

To return to the 2008 Excellence Award Winners main page, click here.

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