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Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising

By Rebecca Lynn

Summer break is finally here. Kids are out of school and are either attached to some form of screen or are bored already. This is the time of year that parents search for ways to get their kids off their tablets and entertained for longer than 30 minutes. Kids of all ages love projects, especially ones that allow them to be key players, see the impact of their efforts and, of course, are fun to do.

Make a Plan

According to Eventbrite, it takes planning to put together a fundraiser or collection drive. The extent of the event, complexity of plans, and age of the kids will determine how much parental participation is needed. Below are a few steps to help plan a fundraiser or donation drive:

  1. Determine a cause or organization to focus on: Whether it is a dog shelter, domestic violence organization, homeless shelter, or local library, it is important that it is something that your kids (and you) feel passionate about.
  2. Set a goal: Are you focusing on money, in-kind donations, volunteer times, or a specific need for an organization for your fundraiser?
  3. Budget: This is probably where parents may be needed. It’s important to make sure that anything that is spent for the fundraiser is taken into consideration and hopefully kept to a minimum.
  4. Find a good place to hold your fundraiser: The location should have all the features needed to host your event.  Whether it is your house, a park, or a local venue, it is always good to make sure that the space is available and you have permission to use it.
  5. Decide on a theme: The theme can be as simple or as complex as you want. Doing something unique will increase interest in your event.
  6. Advertise for your event: You can use various forms of social media, Nextdoor, Craigslist, email, post flyers in the neighborhood, ask locations to keep a stack of flyers for people to grab, or contact the organization itself for other ideas on how to get the word out. The key is to tell as many people as you can. The more people who know about it, the more people they will tell, and the more successful the event will be.
  7. Decide how donations will be accepted: Are you planning an event where the cost of admission or items bought will go to the charity? Are you having a donation drive where you want people to bring specific items like canned foods, gently used clothes or books? Or, maybe you will charge an entrance fee that will be contributed to the organization. Regardless, you need to be prepared with bins, a small cash safe (and some change), or something as simple as a big jar to hold donations.

Now that the charity and form of donations have been chosen, the venue secured, and your event advertised, it is time for the fun to begin!

Ideas for Kids & Teens

Options for fundraising are endless and there is something to do for all ages. Researching online can provide numerous ideas and resources. For example, searching under “making cards for kids” will pull up a variety of organizations that request handmade cards for foster children and hospitalized children.  Below are some ideas for events that are ideal for preschoolers to teens. Most events can either work with charging an entrance fee, selling items, or in-kind donations where a specific item must be donated to participate in the event, including:

  • Movie night with concessions,
  • Used book sale,
  • Bake sale,
  • Gardening (pre-planting your own or helping neighbors with gardening),
  • Craft sale,
  • Pizza party,
  • Sports competition (basketball, kickball, race,etc),
  • Valentine carnation sale,
  • Mothers Day rose sale,
  • Bingo,
  • Collection drive,
  • RC car races,
  • Pet parade and contest,
  • Cakewalk (toy-walk, book walk, etc.).

You can also collect items like toys, books, clothing and unused gift cards to donate to your agency of choice.

Websites like Fundly also provide ideas on how to make a difference in the summer heat, including a lemonade stand, ice cream sale, barbecue, and dog wash.

Fun ideas for Adults

There are just as many easy ways for adults to help non-profit organizations with monetary or in-kind donations. According to Wise Women’s Favorite Funding Strategies, here are some fundraising events you can host:

  • Fun-run,
  • Baby shower where all gifts go to a local shelter to assist pregnant moms,
  • Silent auction,
  • Wine and cheese party,
  • Community garage sale,
  • 50/50 raffle,
  • Auction,
  • Chili cook-off,
  • Donation day at work (set a day where co-workers can pay to wear jeans, dress up in a costume, wear a hat, bring in canned food, or collect loose change etc.).

Donating Time

Fundraisers and collection drives do take time and help keep non-profits stocked with supplies. However, it is just as important that people volunteer their time, whether virtually, in person or on the phone, working directly or indirectly with those in need. Most non-profits function fully on volunteers, people who have a passion for a specific cause and making a difference.

You can research volunteer opportunities by visiting local non-profit websites or organizations.  There are many nonprofits online that are national organizations, like BTSADV, that successfully use virtual volunteers to raise awareness about domestic violence. Kids that do good is a site that provides opportunities for kids (and their parents) to volunteer their time at organizations within the community. Whatever your age, availability and passion, there is a volunteer opportunity waiting for you.

If you’re interested in volunteering with Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence, visit: https://breakthesilencedv.org/volunteer/.

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