Rotary TABLOID Brings Big Bucks
Editors Note: It’s a typical Midwest town of about 32,000, located 200 miles west of Chicago and about 50 miles south of Davenport, Iowa. Galesburg, Illinois has a couple of colleges, Knox and Carl Sandburg plus the usual number of service clubs, Kiwanis, Lyons and Rotary. The Rotary Club of Galesburg, Illinois has taken on a very unusual fund raising project: publishing a newspaper, yes a hardcover newspaper in a town that already has a paper. Crazy, not so fast they’re making money, lots of money.
The Rotary Club of Galesburg, Ill was established in 1914. For over forty years our Club’s members supported the local Rotary projects. We did this through dues and collecting extra monies at our weekly noon lunch meetings. As these projects grew and more solicitations occurred, our membership realized we needed a Club fundraising project.
In 1955 our club President, Dean Lindstrom, contacted Windoes Travelogue out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They were offering a Travel and Adventure Film Series as a fundraising tool for service clubs and we adopted it. We are now approaching our 60th year of travel and adventure films. Our first master of ceremony was Mr. Lindstrom and today his son Dick.
The Galesburg Rotary Travel and Adventure Film series was successful, then about six years ago our ticket sales slipped to a point where several Club members questioned whether or not to continue with series. The reasons were many: parents and grandparents were attending school activities, competition with many more television channels including the travel and history channels, older customers not willing to travel after dark, and club apathy about selling tickets, etc. Today, one of the most difficult challenges is to obligate club or organization members to sell tickets.
We contacted Windoes and discussed our concerns with one of their filmmakers, Sandy Mortimer. Miss Mortimer presented an idea, which was supposed to both dramatically increase club revenue, but also attract new patrons to our Series. We were to create a newspaper; a Tabloid in color and our Club would sell ads to local businesses. This Tabloid would be an insert into our local paper, whose rep would help us create the ads.
The dimensions of the Tabloid are: open: 22 7/8” wide X 11 1/8”high, folded
in half (above): 11 9/16” wide X 11 1/8" high and is printed on newsprint.
In addition to the Tabloid this year, one of our members placed the ads on a power point, and is shown one hour prior to the show.
Five years ago it was just an idea, a proposal which was discussed and became our primary project. That project became our first 20-page Tabloid and it grossed approximately $10,000 the first season . It increased our Club’s income by 80% and the film Series attendance by 30 percent. Another nice thing is the business ads are renewed each year and we rarely lose an account.
The Tabloid is now our greatest selling tool for our Travel, Adventure, film series. Showing this paper to new accounts and including the power point idea our new sales resulted in a 24 page Tabloid and earnings of $15,590.
Page 23 lists all of the advertisers and if someone just wants a line ad it is priced at $62, one-eighth page ad is $209, one-fourth is $249, one-half is $399, and a FULL page is $659.
Face of ticket (top) showing "Our SPONSORS." Each Sponsor
pays $150, adding $1200 to the travel film series income.
Back of ticket (bottom) shows date, filmmaker & film.
This season we actually had to turn down a couple of ads, because we ran out of advertising space. We may have to add four more pages to accommodate new accounts.
Page 24, our last page of the tabloid discusses the Club’s history and projects we support.
Regarding the shows our first one is FREE to the public. On the face of the tabloid is a FREE-Admit Two coupon where people register to win a FREE season ticket. I also have 10,000 two by four inch coupons printed on colored paper and placed in local businesses, banks, doctors’ offices, and retirement centers where people can bring one of these to register for a FREE season ticket. Ten names are drawn and since most attendees come with a spouse or friends, this encourages them to buy an extra ticket or more to attend the full season.
I can’t thank Windoes Travelogue filmmaker Sandy Mortimer enough for the Tabloid. This idea has saved our Travel and Adventure Film Series fundraiser, increased our Club’s earnings as well as our shows attendance.
The GREAT 8 left to right are: Alice Stenander, Derick Antoine,
Rick Brown, Sherry Foster, Harold Watters. Also on the team,
but missing are Doug Gibb, Chuck Borden and George Inness.
Finally, if you are a service club or any venue looking to increase revenue and audience participation in your Travel and Adventure Film series I urge you to give it a try, it worked for us and it will work for your Club or organization.
Questions and answers:
How many times is your Tabloid inserted in the local paper and what is the cost?
The Galesburg Register Mail is our local daily newspaper. Our Tabloid is inserted only one time prior to the first Travel and Adventure film show. For creating new ads, updating old ads, printing and inserting the 14,000 copies last year the paper charged $4100.”
Has the Tabloid increased your attendance at the shows?
Yes, with the first film show our attendance went from about 200 to 308. For the remaining five shows we had an average of 125 before the Tabloid, now the attendance ranges from 175 to 200.
Do you have any complaints with the Power Point "commercials” prior the film showing?
No complaints from the filmmakers nor the patrons as the ads are shown on the power point. Our patrons are both reading the Tabloid and viewing the screen.
What is the cost of your Travel and Adventure film tickets?
The first show says FREE on the ticket. A season ticket costs $25 and we offer individual tickets at $8, student under 16 are free.
How many Travel Adventure film shows do you have each season?
We have six travel film shows each season which are held on a Tuesday night.
The Galesburg Rotary 2013/2014 Travel, Adventure film series is as follows:
Sept. 24: Wildlife of Yellowstone — Sandy Mortimer
Oct. 15: Eastern Canada Adventure — The Maritime & New Foundland — John Holod
Nov. 12 Sailing Down to Rio on the Queen Mary 2 — Doug Jones
Feb 4 Faces of Korea — Buddy Hatton
Mar. 11 Jesus in Egypt — Marlin Darrah
Apr. 15 Mexico: The Bad, The Great and the Ugly — Bill Behrenbruch
The running time for each film showing is approximately 80 minutes, plus and intermission. The shows are presented in the Galesburg High School auditorium.