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Friday, July 3, 2009

Lapel Pins Boost Community Service Efforts

By Caryn Smith © 2009, All Rights ReservedMoney is tight. Unemployment is the worst it's been in decades.There's no wonder the number of people that need help is on therise. While donations certainly play a large part in bringingaid to the less fortunate, helping hands and strong backs arealso a must. If your organization is looking to increase itscommunity service volunteers, put lapel pins to work for you.Food BanksFood is a need not a want. Unfortunately, more and morefamilies are finding themselves with an impossible choice: foodor medicine? Food or electricity? Feeding America bringsrelief by giving food to over 25 million people each year.Feeding America recently conducted a survey with 160 food banksacross the country and published the following startling resultson their website:> > 100% reported increases in demand for emergency assistance.Those increases ranged from 28% to 37% over last year's figures.> > 99.4% of the food banks surveyed reported seeing people whowere seeking help for the first time.It takes lots of people to stock and distribute food to thosewho are hungry. So how do you bring in more volunteers to meetthe growing needs of your organization without spending afortune on advertising? That's where lapel pins come into play.Lapel pins can be created in any color or shape. If your grouphas a logo, it can be made into a pin. If you're not sure howto design your pins, choose a lapel pin company that has expertson staff who will design your pins at no additional cost.Lapel pins are also affordable. For a small price your groupcan have pins for every volunteer. Each person that wears theirpin will be advertising for your organization when they visitthe grocery store, schools, banks, doctor's offices and more.The more people who know about your organization, the better thechance of bringing in additional workers.Blood DrivesOne of the most effective ways to bring in blood donations is tohold blood drives at local businesses. The problem with thatplan is that many businesses are closing or laying off a largepart of their workforce. With fewer businesses and employees to participate, blood banks have to raise awareness by appealing directly to the public for donations.When volunteers wear lapel pins they remind others of the needto donate. By increasing awareness through the wearing of lapelpins, your organization stands a better chance of bringing inothers to donate.Many community service organizations would cease to existwithout the help of volunteers. Lapel pins can also be used toshow appreciation and say thank you to those that keep theorganization running. Volunteers will wear their pins withpride, bringing opportunities to give testimonials to others about why they support your cause. A positive endorsement cando a lot to encourage others to join your team.There are numerous other groups that provide important communityservices. All these groups require volunteers to keep themrunning smoothly. Whether your organization builds houses,cleans up after natural disasters, provides mentoring to teens,helps adults learn to read or any number of other worthyactivities, lapel pins do an amazing job of bringing involunteers by spreading the word.Caryn Smith is Manager of Lapel Pins R Us. Visit today for custom lapel pins in just10 days, guaranteed!

How to Compile Newsletter or Blog Articles into a Collection People Will Pay For

by Marcia YudkinGot content? If you regularly provide tips, advice, case studies or the like in a free newsletter or ezine or on your blog, you may be able to repackage these articles into a free-standing product that readers would happily pay for.Whether your audience is parakeet owners, paralegals or paranoid landlords, if your information can hang together usefully for that group, and they are willing to spend money on learning what to do better, you can compile previously published material that was and maybe still is free into a paid book, report, ebook or course. Here’s how.Step 1. Get clear on the audience for your product. (Sometimes you’ve already done this in focusing your newsletter or blog.) Identify a specific kind of person and something they want to accomplish, such as landlords who want to avoid troublesome tenants.Step 2. Select articles that fit the focus arrived at in Step 1. Put aside anything that isn’t directly relevant – perhaps you can use those for a different compilation next year.Step 3. Create a structure for the articles that makes sense for the reader and fits the contents you have on hand. This order might be chronological, according to a series of steps. Or you might be able to group your content under a number of topical headings. Above all, avoid a helter-skelter miscellany. What works best is a structure that looks like it could have been planned that way from scratch.Step 4. After determining the organization and order of the articles, go through a printout of the entire text and edit with a critical eye – or have someone with good editing skills do that for you. Certain things that seemed fine in the newsletter or on the web may become annoying or nonsensical here. For instance, one collection I was asked to comment on had many overly long paragraphs and weak closings on the articles. The author also had several passages where it looked like she wasn’t following her own advice elsewhere in the collection. Another collection contained predictions and observations that now seemed old and off the mark. Leave time in your production schedule to improve the text. Again, you want readers to feel you’ve taken care with your product instead of just tossing previously published things together. Step 5. Add exclusives. Provide a foreword that’s new, a newly compiled resource list, to-do suggestions or a few never-published articles – things that go above and beyond what people following you have already seen or received.Step 6. Reread every page of your text one more time, looking for and fixing anything that might have made sense in your ezine or on your blog but doesn’t fit the new context. This includes time-based references like “this week” and references to current events that will seem dated in a year or two, as well as spatial references like “the box on the right” that no longer apply. If you plan to sell a printed version of the collection, include URLs that are fully written out rather than links consisting of just underlined anchor text.If nearly all the content from your to-be-published collection is archived on your web site, consider removing some of it, so regular visitors to the site are less likely to feel you’re asking them to pay for something anyone can access for free. Even so, if you follow the steps above, the product will have coherence that influences those who buy to feel they’ve purchased an item of quality. And instead of returns and refund requests, you receive thank-you’s, testimonials and readers recommending your product to colleagues and friends.The author of 11 books and five multimedia home-study courses, Marcia Yudkin has been selling information in one form or another since 1981. Download a free recording of her answers to the most commonly asked questions about information marketing by entering your information into the privacy-assured request box at .