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At the 2014 National
Conference in Orlando, CAI-GLAC received the Public Affairs Award in the Very
Large Chapter Category for the Spark of Love Toy Drive event last December.

Each December the Spark of Love
campaign, sponsored by the Los Angeles County Fire Department, collects new,
unwrapped toys and sports equipment for underserved children in our communities
as well as children present at their 911 calls.

To"spread the word" about
the value of our organization to a wider audience, CAI-GLAC participated in
ABC-7’s "Stuff-A- Bus" event. Chapter members collected a record
number of toys and delivered them with fanfare, parading into the event in
holiday-decorated cars. CAI-GLAC’s contribution was recognized on TV during
ABC-7’s live early morning newscast.


The goal of the Chapter’s participation in the 2013 Spark of Love Toy Drive in 2013 was to
collect a record number of toys and to expand awareness about CAI to all of
Southern California.

The CAI-Greater Los Angeles Chapter (CAI-GLAC) made a
commitment several years ago to give back to the Greater Los Angeles
communities they serve by participating in several community service projects
each year. The Spark of Love Toy
Drive is one project that Chapter members and friends enjoy supporting. This
December Toy Drive is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Fire Department. TheirSpark of Love campaign collects new,
unwrapped toys and sports equipment for underserved children in our communities
as well as children present at their 911 calls. Chapter members have previously supported the
Toy Drive by bringing toys to the November Educational Luncheon and also to our
Holiday Happy Hour in early December. In past years, the few toys collected have
then been dropped off at a local fire department.

The ABC7 Morning
, the most popular news show that broadcasts throughout Southern
California with an average of 246,000 morning viewers, gets behind the Spark of Love with their “Stuff-A- Bus”
event. Every Friday in December, their well-known weatherman, Garth Kemp,
broadcasts from a different Southland location and invites companies and
individuals to come out and “Stuff-A-Bus.”

Since one of CAI-GLAC’s greatest challenges is to “spread
the word” about the value of our organization to a wider audience, the CAI-GLAC
Community Outreach Committee decided to increase our exposure to the greater
community by participating in the ABC7’s “Stuff-A- Bus” event. The goal was to collect
a record number of toys and to hopefully be recognized on TV during ABC7’s live
early morning newscast.

Publicizing to Members

Marketing the Toy Drive started in October and continued
through the “Stuff-A- Bus” event. 

Publicity included:

  • Flyers distributed to each attendee at our October
    and November Educational  Luncheons

  • E-blasts sent periodically over a two-month
    period to all of our members

  • An event announcement placed on the Chapter Web
    site’s Home Page

    Members were invited to bring their toy donations to the
    November Luncheon and to Holiday Happy Hour. Members were encouraged to come
    out for the “Stuff-A- Bus” event on Friday, December 13, 2013 in Canoga Park.  

    Toy collection was maximized by:

  • Placing decorated collection boxes at member
    companies and communities in order to encourage toy collection and raise
    awareness about CAI. 

  • Setting up a donation option prompt within our
    online event registration system.

  • Setting up an online toy registry through www.amazon.com and www.toysRus.com so members could easily
    participate in the Drive without having to physically shop for toys.

    The day before the “Stuff-A- Bus” event, the Chapter sent
    a tweet to Garth Kemp, “Community
    Associations Institute (CAI) is parading in with toys for Spark of Love
    tomorrow—watch for us!
    “ Garth re-tweeted it to more than 25,000 of his
    followers! The Chapter also sent an e-mail blast to its members, encouraging
    them to watch the news in case CAI-GLAC appeared.

    The Event

    On Friday, December 13, members met at 5:30 a.m. at a Starbuck’s
    location close to the drop-off site to decorate their cars and trucks with
    holiday lights, a CAI banner, wreathes and garlands.  They positioned the toys (which included
    bikes, giant stuffed animals, dolls and sports equipment) so they overflowed
    the five vehicles. Everyone was decked out in Christmas hats, elf outfits and
    whatever red and green garb they could find.

    At 6:00 a.m. the group paraded their vehicles to the
    location with music and fanfare. Members were warmly greeted by the ABC7 News
    Team and a whole crew of Los Angeles County Firefighters. Garth Kemp posed for
    photos with us. At 6:47 a.m., we were on live TV during his weather report, and
    our Executive Director was briefly interviewed. A clip of the interview is
    attached. This clip was immediately posted to the ABC7 Web site. The Chapter
    also uploaded the clip immediately to the CAI-GLAC Home Page for member viewing.


    The experience was a tremendous success and accomplished
    our goals:

  • The Chapter collected a record number of toys
    and was a major contributor to one of the eight buses filled that day.

  • We received positive press—and recognition
    throughout Southern California.

  • Our members loved the fact that we were on TV.

    We have already scheduled our involvement for next year
    and plan to double the number of people participating at the event and possibly
    reserve a meet-and-greet booth there with other supporters, such as Honda,
    Foster Care Counts and ESPNLA 710.