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April 16, 2021

4/2/2021 9:03:00 AM
In spite of the pandemic, Kiwanis Radio Auction maintains tradition
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.
Anyone familiar with the Kiwanis Club of Dodgeville is aware of a long standing tradition that was able to proceed the last couple years with a few tweaks.
For the past 40 plus years, the Kiwanis Club of Dodgeville's biggest fundraiser has been the Kiwanis Radio Auction. This has been made possible through the partnership with local radio station WDMP Dodge-Point Broadcasting Company.
As past officer Terry Edwards says, "it takes a village" for the annual fundraiser to take place each year. It starts with coordinators Deb Poad and Ginger Jones who handle the organization. It also involves the local radio station allowing four hours of air time, spread throughout two weekends-this year the event taking place Saturday March 13 from noon to 4 p.m., and the Saturday following.
In the weeks prior to the radio auction, Kiwanis club members contact local businesses for donations of goods or services to be auctioned. Between 40 members, 170 local businesses are contacted.
It then involves finding a place to conduct the auction, and this year the event was held at Dodger Bowl.
"The owner of the Dodger Bowl, Nick Portzen, is always so community minded, and has really came through for us," Edwards said. "Because in the COVID-19 era we really needed a place to spread out."
Holding the event also requires multiple phone lines for listeners to call in their bids. Phone calls are answered by Kiwanis volunteers, as well as members of the Dodgeville Key Club, the High School equivalent to Kiwanis. In order to make this possible, two volunteers for two shifts have the opportunity to speak about each of the auction items graciously donated by local businesses. Steve Vivian of Mount Horeb Telephone Company (MHTC) was able to make connecting multiple phone lines happen. There are many volunteers each weekend-from taking bids, to keeping track of the bids through the whiteboard, to radio announcers sharing conversation about the organization as well as the auction items.
Due to the pandemic that has occurred throughout the last year, there were some changes that needed to be made to ensure the safety of all volunteering. Last year the organization had to postpone the second week of the auction until it could be determined on how to do it safely. The event was held also last year at the Dodger Bowl, as it has one of the largest facilities in Dodgeville-allowing volunteers to spread out, wear masks, social distance and have hand sanitizers on hand. The location has also been where the local organization has held its weekly lunch meetings.
This year the concern was that donation amounts would be lower with the trials local businesses experienced due to the pandemic. However the organization's fears were unfounded as local Iowa County businesses were generous and provided the organization with a plentiful amount of donations.
The Kiwanis Club of Dodgeville received a grand total of $12,476.00, right in line and a tiny bit higher in comparison with previous years. Funds raised go back to the community for many causes.
"I was really surprised at the amount of businesses that still contributed even due to the pandemic," Radio Auction coordinator Deb Poad said. "We were very low on the number of people that did not contribute this year, just because of that. I was pleasantly surprised at that, COVID didn't really affect our donations that we got."
"I enjoy the on-the-air bantering between our auctioneers and the spirited bidding that makes the auction popular with our volunteers and our callers," Past president Jim Massey said. "It is a great example of a fun way to raise money for a community. Each of us has missed many things during the past year, whether it be visiting relatives, traveling or socializing with friends. I discovered during the past two Saturdays that one of the things I missed the most was the fellowship of Kiwanis."
Current President Kari Wunderlin stated that it was her first time this year to be an announcer during the radio auction.
"I was nervous to be on the radio, but I enjoyed myself," Wunderlin said. "It was very fast paced and the couple hours flew by. It was a lot of fun."
The radio auction is not the only fundraising event for the organization. The chicken barbecue is coming up in August . Farmers Appreciation Day is also another event for members (which will also look different this year) to volunteer and socialize. Stay tuned for announcements regarding next year's radio auction.

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