A Lesson in Outreach by FNPS Ixia Chapter in Jacksonville
|After more than a year of planning, 80 paid guests attended a 3-part event:|
A native plant sale with appetizers, a dinner, and a native plant presentation.
The keys to a successful event are long-range planning, organization, and lining up enough volunteer help. I began planning a chapter dinner, plant sale, and presentation about 16 months out. This allowed me to secure the location, in this case two venues, the guest speaker, and the one other person that helped me plan the food. Our objective was to raise funds for our Chapter’s projects. We are restoring a 1923 “Native Park” in Jacksonville, assisting another Jacksonville park with the removal of many invasive species, and planning a two acre wildflower garden on the St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville.
|Attendees parked at the community club, walked over to the pre-dinner location, stayed about an hour,|
and most were able to carry their new native plants back to their cars. The Ixia banner greeted attendees.
We decided to charge $30 per person, inclusive, for the event, and to save money, made the decision to prepare all the food. Two months out, we planned the menu and began making decisions about where and how to purchase all needed items. We also asked Chapter members to sign up to help, and recruited extra help for the kitchen. We needed all hands on deck, and everyone pitched in. We heavily advertised the event in every free manner possible, allowed non-members to attend, and asked for pre-registration with payment. We had 80 paid guests! The food preparation was done the day of the event, in the Community Club kitchen, with six people working non-stop for around eight or nine hours. Do not underestimate the amount of time and the number of people needed to complete the food. The dinner is actually the most important part of the evening to the majority of your guests. I can tell you that because we prepared a variety of fresh and healthy food, and poured lots of wine, we were complimented by everyone!
|Dinner, prepared by Ixia members & friends, provided a wonderful selection including asparagus salad, baked chicken and fish, a spinach & walermelon salad, pasta salad, potatoes, and berry-delicious desserts.|
|The Ixia display materials were set up in the back corner of the community center room.|
At least a few attendees said they were intersted in joining FNPS.
|Barbara Jackson makes some announcements and introduces Craig. Many folks had|
already met him and his wife Alexa, because they had brought some native plants to sell, too.