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Service Club Presentations

Service Clubs such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Soroptimist, Lions, AAUW and more share the NIE mission of educating the youth in your community. They are partners and sponsors of NIE programs in many communities.

Members of service clubs are also local business people who care about education. Speaking at a service club provides the opportunity to tell your story to an entire group of education supporters at one time. Both the service club and individual members are potential sponsors.

Be advised, however, that club protocol is such that you should NOT ask for money when you make your presentation. After your presentation, send a follow up letter of request to the club.

Once you get scheduled as a speaker, it is time to decide what to say. Here are some suggestions I have found work for me.

The key thing that inspires people to support NIE is the fact that reading a newspaper increases both reading achievement and civic participation.

NAA has published two reports that support this claim:

  • Measuring Success! – education impact research
  • Lifelong Readers: Driving Civic Engagement

I usually start my talks by asking who in the room reads a newspaper. Usually, every hand goes up. Why? People who are active and involved in your community read the newspaper. So, if we want young people to be involved in their communities, if we want them to be informed voters—we need to be sure they know how to read the newspaper—both print and online.

Here is a quote that I use in presentations to service clubs. You might find it useful as well. From an opinion column published April 5, 2006 in the Chicago Tribune online edition, by Thomas Geoghegan and James Warren.

The crisis in America, where ironically we have the world’s highest rate of bachelor’s degrees, is that if people don’t read papers, they generally won’t vote. The crisis of the press here is a crisis of democracy too. The single best indicator of whether someone votes is whether he reads a paper, according to political scientist Martin P. Wattenberg in his book, ‘Where have All the Voters Gone?’ But the converse is also true. Whether one votes is a much better indicator than a college degree as to whether one is reading a daily paper.

The entire column is well worth reading.

Last, but not least, it is important to let people know that sponsors are supporting teacher orders of the NIE program—not the NIE program. Get the distinction? It is subtle, but significant. Sponsors support education, teachers, and kids. They are usually not interested in supporting your newspaper or its programs. However, if teachers find your program of value and order it, sponsors are usually happy to help pay for a teacher orders.