By Danielle Sturgis | December 7 2009 06:45

From Traditions magazine:

Third Quarter 2009It’s safe to say the Southeast Missouri (SEMO) committee has a history with Friends of NRA. Though chartered in 1993 when the Friends of NRA program was just beginning, they are hardly stuck in the past when it comes to their fundraising approach. Instead, 17 banquets later, the SEMO Friends of NRA are still going strong and consider their extensive experience as merely good grounding for putting on a great event.

Back when the now-distinguished committee was getting started, the NRA Field Representative at the time was invited to speak about the new program. The informational meeting was attended by an astounding 90 people, made up of local gun enthusiasts, Poplar Bluff Gun Club members, and local gun shop regulars. From that fortunate day, the SEMO Friends of NRA committee emerged and began its long-standing tradition of raising money for The NRA Foundation.

Throughout SEMO’s history, a lot has happened. The committee has shown innovation through projects that, at the time, seemed out of reach; for instance, pre-event drawings that included 4 full-size “fully-loaded” pick-up trucks, numerous 4-wheelers, a John-Deere Gator, and hundreds upon hundreds of firearms. And although they’ve been surpassed by several committees in their inception-to-date figures, SEMO considers themselves as pioneers in setting goals for many of the smaller, rural communities.

Today, the committee has raised over $650k since their inception, and strives year-in and year-out to be a fundraising machine. They stay strong by keeping attendance over their 500 attendee mark and by moving their fundraising goals up the ladder further and further each year. Their goal is to not burn bright and then burn out, but to remain as a strong and constant flame in the Friends of NRA program.

This year’s SEMO Friends of NRA banquet was wildly-successful with 575 people in attendance. Their focus was on refining the running of a smooth event – adjusting games to fit the crowd, applying the “what would I play?” test on themselves and finding ways to send as many people as possible home with memories of a good time, knowing they contributed to a great cause. Because when a community understands how they are helping, they are more willing to give and give generously. Their hard-work and thorough planning paid off, raising $55k net at their 2009 event.

From the past and into the future, the SEMO Friends of NRA has used innovative fundraising ideas to enthuse and instill in attendees the rewarding spirit of contribution to what they believe to be one of the most worthiest of causes – a belief which every committee member holds in his or her own heart.

Attend an upcoming Friends of NRA banquet in Missouri? Contact NRA Field Representative Gregg Pearre at (573) 761-5466 or via email at gpearre@nrahq.org for more information.

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