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Mark Angelo Askew is the author of "Fimark's Family Reunion Planner Guide Workbook and Keepsake" and the founder and director of the Family Reunion Planning Group that established November as Annual Family Reunion Planning Month.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How To Increase Event Funds

Your family reunion is just around the corner and you need to increase event funds fast? Fund raisers can be costly. Who wants to end up investing more than what was made.

To make your fun raiser a festive, colorful and interest event for all get as many involved in donating used items and craft items.  The more creative the better. Keep in mind that having a fund drive is a craft in and of itself. Setting up attractive displays takes some forethought.

Make items eye catching, inviting and laughable with punchy, witty price tags and colorful persuasive labels.

The key is to sell items that cost close to nothing but are valuable to the buyer. Here are some great DIY Fund Drive ideas courtesy of Fimark Home Online.

DIY Fund Drive Ideas by Fimark Home Online
DIY Fund Drive Ideas provided by
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Like three or more of the listed ideas? Why not combine them all. The more variety the more support your fund drive will receive. Detail exactly what will be featured at the fund drive event and send out at least three reminders up to the day of the event.

Online Payment Systems
Many reunion planners have lamented about getting reunion dues in on time. If you are asking attendees to mail you money or drop off cash you're in for a long wait. Why? Some folks don't write checks or handle cash daily anymore. They pay bills online. That said,  setup your Paypal, Google Wallet or other online payment system asap or get a website that takes payments like the one reviewed here...

Send online payment ready emails to each family member to make the payment process easier. 

Inspiring Incentive
Sometimes attendees need incentive to get those fees paid. Here are some dues payment incentives. Offer rewards for the first 10 0r 20 payees. Offer special seating at the reception for those who send payments early. Offer a special party favor to early payees. Offer mention in the family reunion keepsake booklet. 

Hand out certificates, a baked item or award them with a favorite keepsake heirloom like the family reunion planning keepsake book featured at Createspace...  This 132 page Family Reunion Planner keepsake book can be given to timely payees. The event planning book contains a family reunion planner, family tree, pedigree, family recipes section, journal and reunion themes and games. Makes a great fund drive offering, gift, reward and family heirloom. It also contains detailed cost saving fund drive ideas to raise money for your event.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Planning For The Unexpected

Throwing a family reunion event can be very the catalyst to creating sweet memories that will last for many generations to come. Suffice it to say, celebrating life, family bonds and the principles that maintain them is the ultimate gift all attendees will receive. That said, no matter what happens or does not happen good times will be had.

Time And Unforeseen Occurrence
An ancient book once said, "Enjoy the fruitage of your labor." Still as with any event there will be those unexpected and unforeseen situations that bear the mark of disrupting the most well planned reunion event. That same ancient book reads, "Time and unforeseen occurrence befalls us all." That said, the question is; how do you navigate through the unexpected and unforeseen?

Brace For Impact - Soften The Bow
I am reminded of a certain family member who after donning a particularly nice dress, tripped,  broke a heel and landed on her bottom. She laughed, got up and was thankful for having a soft cushioned backside that broke the impact of the fall. She is the one and only person I know who can brace for impact and control her fall always landing on her bottom. The lesson? When planning your event anticipate the unexpected, brace for impact and prepare in such a way that you cushion the blow.

Often the unexpected comes in the form of an unexpected expense or an unforeseen need. The situation may  require the cushion of extra funds while the unforeseen need may require additional time, manpower or other resources. Having on hand additional volunteers, extra place settings, chairs, tables and t-shirts will quickly resolve many problems.

A Little More Is Better Than Not Enough
Consider having plenty of food and drink instead of just enough. Just enough can easily translate into not enough when unexpected guests arrive or there is a spill. Have an extra room available for an unexpected arrival and above all schedule as much advanced preparation time as possible. Do you have a family member with a medical background? Make sure they are visible and ready to respond to any health related emergency that may come up.  If you're traveling to an out-of-town event remember  pack an emergency kit.

It is best to have everything associated with the banquet reception completed 2 hours or more before the event so there will be plenty of time to respond to the unexpected. While you cannot foresee every possible scenario, the principle of being well prepared for the unexpected can help cushion the blow when the unforeseen occurs allowing the reunion event to proceed as planned.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Remembering To Give Back

Nature survives based on the principle of procreation, duplication and restoration. We survive based on the principle of giving back. That said, what ever we glean we replace or restore so that when taking, all is not used up, lost or discarded.

Harvest season leads to a season of restoration and a season of planting in order to Harvest once again. As we pick, prune, weed and replenish top soil we are rewarded for our hard work.

 Family members have long held to the tradition of giving back to fathers and mothers so that they are able to see good for all their hard work. We give back by handling them delicately in their golden years and instilling confidence, honor and love as they age.

The Giver is The Receiver

We are both the giver and the receiver. The taker and restorer. The user and replenisher. As such I certainly am in good company. Most of my readers have in some way given back to me and Brenda for our efforts to inspire, entertain and provide practical guides and tools to families the world over. It is gratifying to see thousands of users spending precious time making use of our event planning tools and tips. But most gratifying of all is when you the reader take those 3 seconds to say "I like this" and leave a comment or two that lifts our spirits so much that we fairly bust with more creativity ideas, tips and tools. In other words you're giving back makes us give you even more. Giving back is usually an easy touch and go process. 3 second opportunities to give back are available anytime and anywhere.

Giving Back Opportunities
This concept of giving back reminds me of my recent visit to my Pinterest page at You'll notice today that the most prominent pin is our book Fmark's Family Reunion Planner. Why so high in the page of pins? Because Pinterest users took the time to give back. Over 22 users liked the book in just three weeks. 77 user repinned the book to their own Pinterest page. Brenda and I can honestly say we see good for all our hard work.

Giving Back On
Still there is a dilemma when it comes to how users give back by way of recommendations, comments. likes and support of our resource. For example, over the years Google Wallet users have rewarded Fimark Home Online resources and books with a good star rating, we still enjoy the #2 ranking spot for keyword "Family reunion planner" on Google search engines. So what's the dilemma?  On our most esteemed users seem to hesitate rating and reviewing the reunion planning book. This has baffled us of late considering the fact the we get so many positive reviews elsewhere. That said we invite you to visit our page at and take 3 seconds to rate our Book Fimark's Family Reunion Planner. Thanks for giving back.