Nobody Showed
Off the Wall, May 26,

The world famous Matchehatcey Society of Egsodeas, Idaho, decided that it may good idea to have a fundraiser. In addition to having a vendor’s show, it would also sponsor drawings.

The committees were formed internally, so that all bases would be covered. What it was decided was that it would be held in the Society’s large meeting room on its second floor.

Someone came up with the idea that the event would take place in three months. When the time finally came, a group of members met and set up the tables, decorated the room and even had an information desk. After everything was all set up, these same people stood back, got their cell phones out of their pockets and snapped pictures of the room in all its beauty.

“We’re set!” exclaimed Sophia Mandersoboe. She and the many others had definitely done their part to see to it that this get-together was going to do what was hoped – bring in lots of money for needed building repairs.

All sounds good, doesn’t it? There is one thing they did not take into consideration. They did not have a publicity committee. So, as a result, very few people other than relatives of the Society members and their friends knew that the fundraiser was taking place.

After a few hours went by, vendors could see it was a waste of time. Some actually packed up and left two hours early. The original anticipation turned to frustration.

It doesn’t take much imagination that the story and names above are fictitious. But the importance of advertising is priority, especially when it comes to promoting an event or selling merchandise.

When I had my store, I put out more money than I should have to advertise my various products and even worked comedy into the block ads. I had the residents of Latrobe talking about them, getting little comments wherever I went. I smiled, why? Because I knew people were reading information that would draw customers to my product line. I did gain a many customers through radio and tabloid ads.

Adverting is a must for anyone holding a fundraiser, vendors’ market or a yard sale.

Looking in any newspaper, there will be a classified section. There advertisements will be listed in categories. Readers will look for those areas that interest them, possibly following up by getting a job, finding a contractor, or purchase a certain item that someone is selling. I have even posted the Latrobe Vendors’ Market at the Thomas Anderson American Legion Post 515, Tuesdays, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and readers have told me they saw the ad in the Latrobe Bulletin.

This is what one has to do if he or she is planning to hold an event whereby the public is invited:.

  • Make up and disperse flyers throughout not only one’s community, but also surrounding communities. This can be done by mail or yet, as I have done, give to each store owner a flyer stating information needed to convey the message, particularly place, time and what the fundraiser is for. That may require a lot of work. I spent one day going from store to store at Latrobe Plaza Shoppes, one day covering all of downtown, and another having someone drive me from church to church in the area.
  • Make posters and ask (politely) if merchants will put them in their windows or on bulletin boards where they will be seen in plain sight by passersby.
  • Talk it up when phoning friends.
  • Post on the Internet by emailing or using Facebook. This, too, in my opinion, is very important. Keep in mind, not everyone goes on social media often. There are a good number of people who don’t even have computers. Not everyone can afford these machines or don’t want to have one.
  • Put out signs on main streets, well ahead of where the event is taking place, so people coming from any direction will see them and take note. Then put a big colorful sign at the place where the fundraiser is taking place stating event title and arrow pointing to building. Post it where people can see it from both sides.
  • Have additional attractions, if possible, to draw people to the event – a band, celebrity, possibly a sports figure.
  • Never assume the affixed name (Matchehatcey Society Fundraiser) will draw people. Additional advertising is needed.

I think the Matchehatcey Society learned its lesson. Follow my suggestions and you won’t feel despair as Sophia did…

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.