How to Host a Successful Charity Bartending Event

Apathy is the biggest threat to our social security net.
Getting people off the couch to take action is the challenge that most charities face.
Despite the common 80-20 rule that says 20 percent of the people will raise 80 percent of the needed money, there is still a need to reach out to the rest of the population.
That is where a grassroots volunteer corp can help.
Planning a fundraiser, such as charity bartending event, is not really difficult. The challenge isn’t the logistics. That’s the simple part. Getting the people to come out is the challenge.
Let’s take a look at the planning of a charity celebrity bartending event.
First, you need a location. Outside of getting people to attend, finding the right location is the toughest decision.
You usually have two choices: a restaurant or a hotel. Restaurants should be your first choice. They will work with you if you convince them you will be able to bring 100 people through the doors. Restaurants also have more ambience than a hotel ballroom.
But finding the right restaurant is the difficult part. You need one with a large lounge area that can handle 100 to 200 people throughout the night. You also need one that will let you charge an entry fee. Not all will. There is one local venue that meets the criteria but the owner doesn’t let you charge at the door. That means you have to live only tips that are given to the celebrity bartenders or advance tickets, which comes with its own challenges.
The challenge with hotels is that they will usually want to charge you a room rental fee, which a restaurant will usually waive. You also need to do more decorating to create a festive environment.
If you choose to sell advance tickets, as I think you should, it will take a major team effort. I belonged to a Lion’s Club in Oregon and for its fundraiser each member had to buy 10 tickets or sell 10 tickets. You need that kind of commitment from your volunteers. If you can pre-sell tickets, you don’t have to sweat that people will not show up.
But let’s say the restaurant let’s you charge at the door. If your goal is to bring in 200 people, you need to try to pre-sell at least 75 to 100 tickets. That gives you breathing room the night of the event. You don’t have to sweat the minutes leading up to the night wondering if people will actually attend.
Here is how I did it without selling a lot of pre-tickets.
I created a Facebook Page for my organization and then created a Facebook Event. I then invited my 400 local Facebook friends and then asked them to invite their friends. By the night of the event, more than 2,300 people were invited. My posts reached more than 5,000 people with almost 1,000 people viewing them. The Facebook analytics told me that 200 people were engaged. That’s social media.
I also did a weeklong Facebook Ad Campaign and reached even more people. I targeted people who volunteered and supported causes. Facebook allows you to target people’s interests and behaviours within a 50 mile radius of your location. For the next event, I will plan a four-week ad campaign on Facebook.
I also got the event listed on almost 20 MeetUp local groups. Conservatively speaking, I
reached another 10,000 people via Meetup. Leverage other groups, that’s a key factor.
Today, people think social media and the internet, but I also went old school and networked ad nauseum every day for six straight weeks. Business groups. Chamber meetings, etc.
During the 6-8 week lead-up to the event, I invited as many groups to adopt the fundraiser as their own. I was reasonable successful. They posted the event, but next time I need them to really buy in and really promote the event.
Another strategy where I diverge from other celebrity bartending events is the number of bartenders. Most charities opt for 3-5 big-name people. I go for as many as I can get — as many as 12-15 on the belief that each bartender will bring with them 5-10 people.
If you haven’t figured it out yet everything you need to do is aimed at leveraging the power of others to get more people to the fundraiser.
The first event I did almost all by myself but if you can get 7-10 dedicated volunteers to help you that is the way to go. Once again, each of them should be good for 5-10 attendees.
Depending on how you want to go for the evening entertainment, you might need a DJ or a local band, raffle donations and vendor tables. The DJ will cost a couple hundred dollars. Businesses will gladly donate gift certificates, etc.
If you all do that, you should have a great success.

Enjoy Beautiful Lido Key

10-aleksandra-boguslawska 1000 pxLido Key is one the beautiful barrier islands off the coast of Sarasota, Florida.

It is surrounded by Longboat Key to the north, Bird Key and St. Armands Key to the east and Siesta Key to the south. Not bad neighbors to have if you are looking for a vacation destination spot.

Lido Key is also just minutes from downtown Sarasota where you can shop at ultra chic boutiques, wander from gallery to gallery and enjoy mainstream and independent films, as well as live theater, opera, symphony and the performing arts.

And you usually are never more than 20 minutes from the beach on Lido Key to Sarasota’s downtown.

At its heart, Lido Key, which is located off of the Gulf of Mexico, is the home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, as well as a woodland trail at South Lido Park. If you are a tourist, you can choose from a variety of luxury hotels or beach home rentals. If you are a native, you can drive, bike and, depending on your athletic ability, even walk to the beach from downtown Sarasota.

As mentioned, Lido Key has several sand and surf locations, including North Lido Beach, which is just ¼ of a mile from the upscale and very chic St. Armands Circle off of John Ringling Boulevard.

With its pristine natural state and dunes, North Lido Beach is the home to a variety of nesting shore birds. There are no amenities at this beach, which has limited parking and no lifeguards on watch.

Nature lovers can enjoy birding, fishing, swimming and unpaved trails at North Lido Beach, which is open year round from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Lido Beach, 400 Ben Franklin Drive, just a half-mile southwest of St. Armands Circle, is one of the more popular tourist locations in the area. If you don’t live in the area, you have many different accommodations from to choose, including hotels, motels and seasonal condos for rent.

In contrast to North Lido Beach, Lido Beach, which is a beach paradise with more than 3,000 feet of nature’s own white sand, has amenities including rest rooms, concessions, gift shop, playground, 400-car parking lot, heated swimming pool, outdoor showers and much more. Lifeguards are on duty year round at Lido Beach, which is open year round from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m..

Lido Beach is also very proud of its Seabreeze Concession or Lido Beach Restaurant because you are not limited to the typical hamburgers and hot dogs menus. Your food is cooked to order and you can buy beer or wine. You can also pre-order your food by calling 941-388-0400. Remember, no glass containers are allowed on Sarasota beaches.
Lido Beach, which is usually not as crowded as Siesta Key Beach, gets thumbs up from beachgoers.

“Wonderful beach, only minutes away from St Armand’s. White fine sand, peaceful waves, amazing sunsets. Dig your toes in the sand, plop yourself right next to the water and watch flocks of birds and people walk or fly by. I can sit here for hours listening to whispers of the waves, bird calls and watching sun dipping into horizon. Quiet, relaxing and just beautiful,” one beach lover on Yelp wrote.

Another Lido Beach fan wrote on Yelp: “The snack bar at the pavilion has some great food and people from all over the place for the lobster rolls on Sunday. There’s always live music at the pavilion on Sunday afternoons and you’ll get the chance to dance with the locals.”

South Lido Nature Park, also known as Ted Sperling Park, is unique in that it is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay and Brushy Bayou. You have beautiful views of the Sarasota skyline and the gulf from the southern beach portion of the park. If you bring a picnic lunch, you can eat at a picnic area shaded by Australian Pines. s

To the north end South Lido Park, you can take a walk on a nature trail with beautiful vistas and boardwalks. The park’s amenities include restrooms, picnic tables, cooking grilles, playground equipment, volleyball court, nature trails, observation tower and decks and a canoe/kayak launch. Lifeguards are only watching out for you from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Lido Key is a great location to spend a day, a weekend, a two-week vacation or live year round if you like the sun, surf and sand.

Medical Profession Challenges in 2016

IMG_1266 1000pxThe Affordable Care Act is far reaching in how it has affected the healthcare industry.

Some are critical of it while others praise it.

Let’s take a look at how people are looking at its impact on the medical field — the doctors, dentists, ophthalmologists and surgeons — and the newly-insured patients.

The ACA is by far the biggest revolution in the medical world since Medicare was passed in the 1960s.

First, under the ACA more procedures and services are covered, as well as more people. No longer can health insurance companies deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. The ACA created “essential health benefits” that must be covered by health insurers. Every year you are entitled to an annual physical. These “essential” benefits include mental health, maternity care, drugs, rehabilitative therapy and chronic disease treatment.

The medical field is seeing the advantages and disadvantages of Obamacare.

One big plus is that doctors are seeing patients now who previously could not afford to get medical treatment. Before the ACA, people with pre-existing conditions were denied coverage unless they were in a group plan. These people could have needed a dental surgeon or an oncologist to treat their problems.

Of course, depending on the health plan people are on under Obamacare, money still can determine whether they choose to receive medical treatment. If you have a deductible of $5,000 and don’t have the money for a medical procedure, the insurance still isn’t helping. But if it gets you to see the doctor because the co-payment is only $25 it does help.

Depending on who you believe, the ACA increased the number of people covered totaled 13-14 million in 2014 with another 4 million in the first part of 2015. Another estimate is 22.8 million newly insured people which is decreased by the nearly 6 million people who lost coverage. Net number of people getting covered came to almost 17 million people. There are probably lower estimates out there, too.

The Kaiser Family Foundation reported the number of uninsured non-senior people in the country totaled 32 million in 2014, which is down from 41 million a year before.

To the critics of the ACA who like to point out that companies have ditched their group plans because of Obamacare, the Kaiser foundation reports that the number of uninsured people increased during the first decade of this century because fewer companies were offering group plans. People also lost their insurance during the Great Recession when they lost their jobs.

A lot of news articles reporting about the companies that said they were dropping health insurance because of Obamacare, but this trend had started decades before. Now, the companies were able to shift blame from themselves to the ACA.

With such an increase in the number of people insured it certainly was going to have an impact on the medical field.

That meant that more people were going to look for primary-care physicians. I don’t know about you but when I received my Obamacare policy I had to look for a new doctor (which has never bothered me). I found a lot of doctor offices on the plan who said they were not taking on new patients. Even my old doctor’s office refused me at first because I had been gone for two years, but eventually I got back with him.

As a result, health insurance companies have had an all-out push to enroll more doctors into their network. Another new factor that doctors have to address is payment plans for their patients. With high deductibles and maximum out-of-pocket expenses, more and more patients will have to pay for their medical care first out of their pockets before the insurance companies start picking up the tab.

You do get the benefit of the negotiated discounted rates from your medical care providers, but you still have to pay a lot of it yourself. For some of these plans, you are better off looking at them as a safety net if you you need catastrophic coverage.

That is why I always look for a plan that allows me to visit my doctors with a small co-pay before the deductible kicks in. Some ACA plans, specifically the bronze-level ones, require you to meet the deductible, which can be like $5,000, before they start paying for almost anything. One healthcare service that is always covered is the annual physical (to game the system, if you change plans in the middle you get to have another physical at no cost. Take advantage of it if you have any chronic problems).

There are a lot benefits coming out of the new healthcare law, and a lot of challenges, as well for both doctors and their patients.

Remodeling Ideas for Your Bathroom

jeff-sheldon-photo-9Renovating your home can cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.

So, instead of undertaking the extreme makeover of your entire house, perhaps it is wiser and less expensive to consider renovating one floor, one room or one closet at a time.

Let’s take a look at various bathroom remodeling ideas.

You can do an extreme makeover that includes hiring a contractor/plumber to rip out the bathtub and sink and replace them with the latest in bathroom and sinks. Or you can DIY in a weekend? Another option is to hire a professional bathroom refinisher.

Before you embark on any home renovation project you should decide why you are doing it? Is it an investment in your home? Is it to get rid of an eyesore in the house? Is it for yourself?

If you are doing it as investment in your home, understand that in many cases you will not make back the money you invest in a major renovation project.

That is why you should always find out the cost versus value of any home renovation.

According to U.S. News & World Report,  “a homeowner can expect to recoup about 70 percent of the cost [for a bathroom remodel] upon resale…, according to the Remodeling 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, which compares the average cost of 36 types of remodeling projects with the value retained at resale in 102 U.S. markets The survey found that a midrange bathroom remodel costing $16,724 would only add $11,707 to the resale value of a home in today’s market.”

Extreme makeovers can be very costly. Homeowners should weigh the pros and cons carefully before undertaking any home renovation of this magnitude.

Of course, if you are handy around the house, you can try to do it yourself.

But even replacing just the bathtub can be costly as an article from Angie’s List points out.

“Your tub has gotten old and unsightly and you are ready for a change. You may be tempted to buy a brand-new bathtub unit for as little as $300 at a retail hardware store….”

A $300 project sounds very affordable but Angie’s List offers words of caution:

“To start, most bathtubs are installed in a home during its initial construction and trying to get it back out is not easy. To remove an existing tub, finish items such as trim, bathtub surrounds, plumbing and sometimes even tile will need to be torn out and depending on the tub’s size, you may have to find a way to cut it into pieces to fit through a door frame.”

Not a very enticing image.

“And you haven’t even brought the new tub in, reworked the plumbing to accommodate and replaced all the finish work you took out with the old tub,” the Angie’s List article states. “Suddenly, your $300 tub has grown into a $3,000 bathroom remodel project with a headache to match.”

What is a homeowner to do?

Your old bathroom is depressing to look at every day. The tub is old and scratched. The sink looks like it was installed pre-1940.  And don’t get me started on the wall tile. Ugh!

Another solution is to reglaze or refinish your bathtub, sink and wall tile. There are countless DIY reglaze kits on the market from which to choose.

However, rather than do it yourself, Angie’s List recommends hiring a professional company to reglaze or refinish your bathroom. “Bathtub refinishing is a probably a job best left to the professionals. Stripping an old finish off a tub, repairing and patching holes or cracks, and ventilating a room to expel the fumes produced by the refinishing process are all steps better left to a trained professional.”

That is where a company such as Total Koatings can come in, reglaze your bathtub, sink and wall tile, save you thousands of dollars in renovation costs and the headache of trying to do it yourself.

“Why replace when you can refinish your bathtub, shower or sink to look and perform like new at a fraction of the cost and with minimum downtime,” said Jerry Smith, owner of Total Koatings in Sarasota.

Smith said when you refinish your bathroom you get:

  • A glaze that hardens to a true porcelain coating, meaning it will be scratch resistant.
  • A 5-year warranty that will typically outlast other “refinishing” products
  • Non-toxic chemicals, meaning there will be no harmful fumes spreading throughout your house, while the surface is being restored.

Now, if you want the look of an extreme makeover without the cost here are some other cost-conscious decorating tips from Lowes to combine with the refinishing of your bathtub, sink and wall tile:

  • Replace your toilet seat and lid. (If your toilet is pre-1980 you should consider replacing it with a new high-efficiency model that will save you money on your water bill and be nice to the environment.)
  • Replace your showerhead with one that features pulsating sprays, adjustable heads and rainfall-style heads.
  • Add hooks and bars. (Although this article did not suggest it, I recommend a heated bath towel rack for those cold, chilling mornings in winter.)
  • Replace a faucet with one that has a WaterSense logo which means it is about 20 percent more efficient. Added bonus: You save on your water bill.
  • Replace lighting fixtures

There, you have it. There are many different ways to remodel your bathroom from a total renovation to DIY to hiring a professional company to reglaze your bathtub, sink and wall tile. If you choose the latter option, consider other low-cost, but aesthetically-pleasing bathroom upgrades to give you the feel of an extreme makeover but at a fraction of the cost.