At the Hope Lions Club meeting today, Lions members learned from two veterans of the practice how best to approach area business owners for donations of items or money at the auction club’s annual Christmas party.
In a skit illustrating methods for talking to merchants about donating an item or money, Golden Membership team coordinator Mark Ross as business owner and former Lion president James Griffin as as a Lion Club representative first described an easy interaction, with Griffin explaining what a donation would do and what the Lions Club itself does.
“I represent the Hope Lions Club. Now we have been doing this auction for 73 years. We understood that pretty well. This auction is really what funds our operations for the year. We do a number of other things, like fish fries, like for homeless shelters and for our Christian medical clinics, but that money comes back to them. We work for free. It is therefore this auction that finances all our activities for the year. Now, what do we do with this money, you say?
Well, first of all, we are going to buy college scholarships. We will support the Boys State and the Girls State. We will support Scouting. And we are going to buy about 120 baskets of good and solid groceries which will be distributed just before Christmas to really needy families. We’re going to put money in the hands of someone who just had a house fire right before their insurance company probably found out.
We buy glasses. We’re Leos, so that’s going to be a key note for buying glasses. We perform eye surgeries or surgeries for those who need surgery [for conditions] like cataracts, or even [help provide] eyes for those who need ocular prostheses after an accident. And we do it for free, if they don’t have insurance. And we also have a life skills training center in Little Rock that teaches people how to function after losing their sight.
We support that. He teaches people how to function in society so they can really earn a living and pay taxes after going blind. Last year we raised $32,000. But we can’t do it without you, because you have to give us something to sell. We will sell it if you give it to us. But we also have to have buyers, and we do. There are always three or four hundred buyers who are there and we will tell these buyers what you have given us and [tell] let them shop with you later.
Ross told Griffin he would donate a pair of shoes. Griffin then explained that the Lions agent should ask how much the item is worth to give an idea of where to start the auction.
After completing this transaction, Griffin would find the next owner a harder sell. Ross pretended to be busy at the office when Griffin said, “Hello, Mr. Ross. How are you?”
“I’m fine. I’m in a rush. But what do you need?” Ross asked.
“Well, we work our maps, these are our maps.” said Griffin.
” Who are we ? Ross asked.
“The Hope Lions Club. And we’re the largest Lions Club in the state. And we have an upcoming feature called the Hope Lions Christmas Auction. The Hope Coliseum is ready. We sell these things from burgers to a car. So we have a wide variety of things. We are there for three nights…
“Like I said, I’m in a hurry. You’re going to have to move really fast,” Ross said.
“You better donate to us. We’ll keep it where it came from. Go trade with this merchant. said Griffin.
“What are you asking, sir?” said Ross.
“We’ll take cash, but we’ll also take what you have on your shelf that we can keep and sell, because we have an audience that will buy a wide variety of items.”
“Will $50 be enough? asked Ross.
“That would be wonderful.”
“Who should I do this to?”
“Hope Lions Club,” Griffin said.
Ross also asked if he could have a receipt for his tax return. “This has everything you need right here,” Griffin said, explaining that the card he would leave would include the 5013C number needed to make a claim on the donation.
“Does Bob next door do that,” Ross asked.
To this, Debbie Marsh, the treasurer of the Lions Club, intervened. “He gives a hundred.”
But obviously the points had been given to the new agents for the Christmas auction. Griffin also explained to Mark Ross, on him abruptly asking “What do I get out of this?” that his name and the name of his company would be read aloud at the auction as a cash donor and the auction audience would hear him and think well of his reputation. “Cash talks,” Griffin said, explaining that cash donors might have their name mentioned four or five times a night.
Further advice to agents was provided during the discussion.
Lions Clubs International Fund President Don Freel asked members for donations to help with hurricanes in Florida. “LCIF has a new meaning for this club,” he said. “The Lions Club makes Florida better. They have a problem there, a serious problem. He explained that the Florida Lions Clubs would receive the money. “They’ll know who really needs it, and they’ll pinch the pennies as hard as they can so they can give them as much of the dollar as possible.” Freel said that while “a nice sum was donated last week, that amount has since been doubled.”
Earlier in the meeting, Terrie James; chairman of the staff of the division of agriculture, research and extension at the University of Arkansas, Hempstead County; took the floor to remind attendees that voter registration ends tomorrow and on the Hempstead County ballot will appear four ballot questions that voters will likely not have time to read and fully understand at the voting booth on 8 November. She referred voters to the 2022 Voter’s Guide, a publication of the AU’s Agricultural Research and Extension Division that explains each ballot metric and provides other essential information in a non-partisan way to voters.