Update: The Ralph C.Smedley Fund: A Perfect Gift

Update: The Ralph C.Smedley Fund: A Perfect Gift

Continue the legacy of the organization’s
founder by donating to this fund.

The year is coming to an end, and it’s time to reflect on the past 12 months. One good question to ask is: Has your year been better because of Toastmasters? If so, consider making a contribution to the Ralph C. Smedley Fund. By doing so, you continue the legacy of the organization’s founder and help others gain the same benefits you’ve enjoyed, while also honoring a special person or event in your life.

As a nonprofit organization, Toastmasters International relies on the financial support of its members and supporters. The Smedley Fund is one of the means to provide that support. This fund is set up in Dr. Smedley’s name to help ensure that the Toastmasters program remains competitive, offering new and innovative approaches to effective communication and leadership at an affordable cost to members.

The Smedley Fund accepts donations throughout the year. As outlined in the Toastmasters 2010 Strategic Plan, “Additional revenue provides the opportunity to invest in education and training, which in turn supports a higher-value Toastmasters experience.” This means that any gift you present to the fund will not only honor your special person or occasion, it will help members of your community develop their public speaking and leadership skills in new and better ways.

This gift fits all shapes and sizes: 

• Individuals. Members and nonmembers may contribute to the fund. If your Toastmasters experience has led to improvements in your own life, consider commemorating your success by giving to the fund. If you’re not a member but would like to improve your community, you could be responsible for the development of new and innovative educational materials, which means more people learning, growing and achieving through Toastmasters. 

• Clubs. Groups may arrange for a regular contribution to celebrate an important date, such as a club anniversary. Did someone in your club progress from nervous novice to speech contest champ? Here’s a great way to let your club celebrate its success as a haven for that kind of personal growth. 

• Honorary. You may make a donation to honor a person or event. Did your cousin perform a fantastic college commencement speech? Recognize this success with a donation to the fund. Celebrating the birthday of a longtime friend and raconteur? Here’s your chance to honor those you know – as a holiday, birthday or anniversary gift. A Smedley Fund donation is a creative way to pay tribute to someone just because they’re great. 

• Memorial. What amazing people have filled your life? Do you know how to celebrate their lives? A memorial donation shows how much that person’s life has meant to you. When Toastmaster and writer Craig Harrison interviewed legendary basketball coach John Wooden for the Toastmaster magazine, he felt a profound impact on his own thinking. Later when Coach Wooden passed away, Harrison paid his respects by making a donation in honor of the coach and his wife, Nell, to the Ralph C. Smedley Fund. 

• Corporate Contributions and Foundation Grants. If you run a company that wants to acknowledge the achievements of its employees or recognize its valuable customers, the Smedley Fund is an excellent choice. Your gift helps the Toastmasters mission of making “better communication and leadership a worldwide reality.” It also provides a practical means by which your company can find qualified leaders. 

Enjoy the Personal Benefits of Planned Giving
With some preparation, you can maximize the effects of your gift while minimizing your personal financial impact. Here are a few options to consider when making financial decisions: 

• Bequests: an affordable way to keep your memory alive. Planning your estate with Toastmasters in mind demonstrates your commitment to continuing Dr. Smedley’s legacy while preserving the financial security of your estate. 

• Save now on investments. Protect your portfolio from paying capital gains tax on investments when you make certain types of donations. Cash, stocks, bonds or mutual funds can be prudent choices – worth discussing with your financial planner. 

• A simple choice: Make Toastmasters a beneficiary. Including the organization in your preparation regarding life insurance and retirement plans can be a good financial move. 

A Great Tax Deduction
What’s more, your gift to the organization also provides an end-of-year tax deduction.

Toastmasters International holds a 501(c) (3) U.S. Federal tax exemption, which means that any contribution may be listed as a deduction on the donor’s U.S. Federal Income Tax return (and in some cases listed on a State Income Tax return). If you live outside the United States, please consult your tax advisor to find out if your donation is tax deductible. 

How to Make it Happen
Contributions may be made via check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover cards. If making an honorary or memorial contribution, please indicate the name and address of any person(s) to whom acknowledgement should be sent. Contribution forms are available at www.Toastmasters.org/smedleyfund.

Contributions should be sent to:

The Ralph C. Smedley Memorial Fund
Toastmasters International
P.O. Box 9052
Mission Viejo, CA 92690-9052, USA

New Year Brings Web Site Advances

The Toastmasters International Web site is being upgraded over the holidays to benefit members in many ways. Chief among these benefits is a greater ability to access Toastmasters materials and information. Features will include streamlined administrative processes, an enhanced digital content offering and visibility into one’s own Toastmasters achievements.

“The goal is to provide members with the highest-quality service possible,” says Toastmasters Executive Director Daniel Rex. “To that end, we are enhancing the site to give all members access to the information they need.”

To accommodate the Web site upgrade, specific sections of the site, including the online store, will be inactive from 11:59 p.m., December 15, until 5 a.m., January 3, 2010. (All times are Pacific Standard Time).

Remember: You will not be able to log in if you share an e-mail address with another individual; every member must have their own unique e-mail address.

Single sign-on benefits you by providing a safe, secure and private online system.

Other online improvements: 

  • Opportunity to purchase select digital content online. For example, instead of purchasing a pamphlet that would normally be mailed to you, you can download it for immediate access and save money on postage. 
  • Enhanced “My Profile” section will allow detailed access to members’ education awards and overall Toastmasters history, including previous club memberships. 
  • Streamlined online processing of dual members and reinstated members.

These features – as well as more to come – will combine to make the Toastmasters Web site a user-friendly tool that enhances the member experience.