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The best thing about being The Waffleman (as I’ve said before) is the chance to travel throughout Nebraska and meet some of the most amazing people! Last week, I was fundraising for the Stromsburg Volunteer Ambulance Service.
Today, I realized during my event in Seward for the Seward 4-H Foundation that I had reached another milestone as The Waffleman! Today was officially the last event that I worked that was scheduled by original Waffleman Doug McCallum. Everything from here on is all new!
While I constantly am looking forward to bringing new waffle-y things to the good citizens of Nebraska, on days like this, I can’t help but look back and be so grateful for everything that has come before me. Doug left a terrific legacy of goodwill throughout the state and I (as always) am honored to carry on his tradition.
-Bill “Waffleman 2.0” Maltas
I had a great summer and am kicking off my second year with a bang! I have met some wonderful people across this great state of ours and I am looking forward to travelling to all corners of our state bringing happiness and waffles along!
This year, I have had an unusual amount of people calling me already for booking their graduation parties in May and June. Last year, I didn’t begin receiving those calls until January/February. This year, I already have 3 graduation parties booked for May and June! An increasing number of my repeat customers are choosing to rebook the day of their events, locking in next year’s date before I leave.
Point is, I often get asked how far in advance people should book. My motto is: it’s never too early! I already have a couple of bookings all the way into 2018! The earlier you go, the more choices you get on securing the exact date you want! (I’ve already had a couple of events I had to say “no” to because I had already been booked.)
Basically, it never hurts to ask. Even if you don’t book “right then,” you will at least have the information for when you are ready! So fill out my inquiry form and don’t hesitate to ask away!
So you’ve heard about The Waffleman and his wonderful waffle events but have never hosted one before yourself? Here are just a few hints that we have gathered over time that will make sure you maximize your waffling!
- Make sure the electrical supply is in great shape
-No/poor electrical supply means no waffles or delays as we deal with popped circuts, etc. Having the electrical supply right from the beginning ensures a great time for everyone!
- Make sure your volunteer staff is in place (and over-fill the back end!)
-With Cameron as my full-time kitchen manager, we sometimes don’t need as many volunteers in the kitchen. The more help we have, the easier and more fun it will be working the event! One recommendation that I get from people looking back on their events is to have more people scheduled at the END of the event to help clean up. People are tired (especially if they have been working the event the whole time) and want to get things done as quickly as possible.
- Go for the captive audience!
-Schedule your event alongside another event that is already happening with your organization. If there is already going to be a church service, concert, basketball game, or meeting already, why not schedule The Waffleman to come and feed all those hungry people?
- Make The Waffleman your “bonus source” of fundraising!
-Make your first source a silent auction, family activity night, or other money-making event for your organization. Then the money your group makes from having The Waffleman there is just gravy! (Or syrup!)
- Consider having a “topping sign-up.”
-The Waffleman brings everything you need for a complete Waffle feed fundraiser from 6 different kinds of syrup and whipped cream right down to the plates and napkins! But what if sponsoring families pitched in and brought things like fresh strawberries, marshmallows, and chocolate chips? This has the potential to make your waffle feed a lot of fun! (Do be cognizant of those with food allergies however!)
If you have hosted The Waffleman before and can think of anything you would like me to add to this list, please message me!
It’s been a while since my last post, so I thought I would bring you up to date on what is going on in Waffleman world!
Summer time is usually low season for the Waffleman since schools and church groups (who make up the bulk of my business) are on a break…although I did have quite a busy June doing employee appreciation events for several companies and working at community festivals. One of the best things about my work is that I get to travel our beautiful state and some of the best people around!
Some exciting changes are also coming to The Waffleman. Don’t worry…the recipe remains the same and the waffles will be delicious as always! Most of the changes will just be cosmetic. A little paint, a little cleaning, and I will be ready to ramp up my busy season once again at the end of August. Stay tuned for some pictures and more updates!
In the meantime, I have also been filling my summer hours in my fourth season as musical director for Pinewood Bowl’s summer musical, now in its 67th year! We are putting on Seussical, the Musical: a terrific family story that combines almost all of Dr. Seuss’ best-loved stories into one great show! We run the next two weekends, and if you haven’t ever been to a Pinewood musical, I highly recommend it! It is very inexpensive family entertainment and a great way to spend your summer evenings.
In my line of work, I work with a lot of teachers, administrators, and parent organizations looking to raise money for their respective schools. I see on an almost daily basis the care and dedication that these people have and the love that they show for their students and their subject areas.
I think every one of us has a teacher in their past who somehow made a difference in their lives – that one special teacher who you can think of who made such a profound impact on who you grew up to be. I was lucky enough to have several. So many in fact that I started my professional career as a teacher and still consider myself to be one (in just a slightly different capacity!)
For National Teacher Appreciation Week, make sure you take time to thank those who help to educate our future leaders. Their jobs are tireless, demanding, and often 24/7. Teachers are often the first to arrive at school and the last to leave, and they often make up the majority of my volunteers at Waffleman school events!
Find your favorite teachers from your past or your present and take a moment to let them know how much they mean to you!
One of the things that makes Waffleman events so successful is having a good group of volunteers to help the event run smoothly. Many non-profit organizations run on huge amounts of volunteer help (often 80% or better) with only a small paid staff to manage the day-to-day operations. So how do you get people to give their time willingly?
It’s true that we all lead VERY busy lives and that our personal time is precious. With meetings, normal work days, managing households, and kids with athletic practices, rehearsals, clubs, scouts, lessons and homework, it’s no wonder that most people would rather just donate a set amount of money rather than give up some of their free time. In the case of The Waffleman, we are just trying to get enough people to do a one-time event. Now imagine the difficulty for non-profit arts organizations, schools, museums, churches and other who need to keep their volunteer pipeline full at all times! It can be a Herculean task at times.
Here are a few ideas that I have found that may help you change how you approach and engage volunteers. Nowadays, they can really be your most valuable resource, so treat them well!
- Ask them early – ask them often!
Ask them to volunteer well before an event so that they have plenty of time to clear their calendars. And don’t assume that a “no” now means a “no” forever! They may just have prior plans for this one event. So if they give you a no, ask them if you may call on them again for the next one!
- Create job/role descriptions
Often, volunteers simply don’t what they are supposed to be doing. If you outline their responsibilities and in many cases give them a brief training, they will stay engaged and not look at volunteering for your organization as a waste of time.
- Ask for feedback
Volunteers love to feel like part of the organization – and they are an important one! Ask them what went well, what could be done better and if they have ideas for future promotions. Who knows? You may find your future leaders this way!
- Value their time
A well-organized event with the right amount of volunteers will make sure that no one is left standing around. One reason why many people don’t return to volunteer is that they didn’t feel like they were needed. Having a plan in place with an organized schedule speaks volumes to volunteers and others that you truly care about having them there.
- Thank them, thank them again and then…thank them some more!
Let volunteers know that you truly appreciate their time and talents. Whether that is through a note, a gift or an end of year dinner or awards ceremony, people need to feel valued. Let your volunteers know that you really could not get along without them! It is their contribution that makes your organization hum!
Cake batter birthday waffles
YIELD: 8 Waffles
PREP TIME: 20
COOK TIME: 20
TOTAL TIME: 40
Crisco® Canola Oil No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 package Pillsbury™ Purely Simple White Cake Mix
1/3 cup Crisco® Pure Vegetable Oil
1 cup water 3 large eggs
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles, plus additional for garnish
1 cup fresh strawberries
- Coat waffle iron with no-stick cooking spray. Heat according to manufacturer’s directions on medium heat.
- Whisk cake mix, oil, water and eggs in large bowl until smooth. Stir in sprinkles. Pour 2/3 cup batter onto waffle iron. Bake 2 to 3 minutes or until done. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Top each waffle with strawberries, whipped cream and sprinkles as desired. Serve immediately.
It has been a momentous year in the life of The Waffleman! When original Waffleman, Doug McCallum started fundraising for non-profit charities in 2002, he had no idea the great number of people he would meet, help, and befriend along the way. His idea seemed simple: make a great product that was low cost enough that he could partner with local charities so that they could raise money for new equipment, trips, missions…anything that they needed, Doug was their partner in meeting that need while creating a sense of community around a waffle feed.
In 2015, Doug finally decided to “hang up the waffle fork,” and entrusted me with continuing to run “The Waffleman,” with the same integrity and goodwill that he did. In the four months that I have been doing The Waffleman, I have experienced the same pleasure of working with many of Doug’s clients (and some of my own). I have gotten to know many wonderful people and at the same time have raised over $20,000 for charity in just a few short months.
As we enter 2016, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone past, present, and future who continue to make The Waffleman what it is today: A great way to raise money, while bringing communities together to enjoy each other’s company and contribute to great causes.
May each of you have a great and prosperous New Year! Stay warm and toasty!
Bill “The (new) Waffleman” Maltas