How to Organize a Fundraiser with Your Children
By Sylvia Cochran
Has your church decided to “adopt” a charity? Are you trying to train your children in civic involvement through volunteerism and charity work? Do you want to spearhead a fundraiser with your children, but need a bit of help getting started? Your questions — answered!
Planning the Nuts and Bolts of the Fundraiser
- Start small. While raising $10,000 is an admirable goal, why not shoot for $100 to begin with. An animal shelter, your church, the local homeless shelter — and a host of other community organizations — will be tickled pink to receive an unexpected $100 windfall.
- Next, decide on the duration of the fundraising events. Will you advertise and actively beat the drum for the event for two weeks or a month?
- Set the date of the actual event. Make sure you have a space allocated for the occasion. If you are hosting the fundraiser in your condo association’s club house, apply early to secure permission to use the venue on that day.
- Enlist help. Officially enlist the help of your children to get started. Involve them in all of the aspects of the fundraiser, even if it means that some tasks take twice as long to complete. Children learn best when they are involved in a project hands-on, and this fundraiser is as much a charitable effort as it is a teaching tool.
- Choose the fundraising vehicle. Food, raffle or quiz event? Let the children have ample input!
Fundraising with Food
Food is a premier fundraising vehicle. You and your children have the option of hosting a sit-down meal for donors who purchased tickets. Attractive food choices include barbecued foods, comfort foods and spaghetti dinners. If you shop at a warehouse club store, buying the raw ingredients is cheap; with your children doing the work and also serving the meals, they are involved in various facets of the fundraiser.
Raffling off Goods
Visit local businesses to see if you can get donations of gift baskets, consumer goods or gift certificates. If this does not yield good results, go ahead and scour your home for a gently used item that is nevertheless highly desirable. Appliances, game stations, or homemade gift baskets are some of the items that you and your children may find. Purchase a roll of standard tickets at the office supply store and then sell them to friends, family members, your co-workers, the parents of the children’s fellow students, and anyone else you can reach. Take pictures of the items that you will raffle off, so as to spark interest in them.
Hosting a Quiz Event
There is virtually no expense when hosting a quiz event. The entry fee is the donation amount. Think up a theme — if you are doing the fundraiser for your church, make it a Bible bowl, if it is for an animal shelter, make it a pet-related quiz — and come up with numerous questions. Think of some quirky questions, too, so that the answers will not be too simple. On the evening of the event, your children may act as quiz masters, score keepers, money takers or refreshment servers.
Promoting the Fundraiser
Stay within the community you intend to serve. Make up flyers and ask local businesses, faith communities and other charitable organization to display them. Contact neighborhood newspapers to advertise as well. If your area is not served by a neighborhood paper, contact a well-established local realtor to see if she uses monthly flyers to stay in contact with the community. Occasionally these professionals are willing to donate some ad space for a good cause.
Think twice before encouraging your children to undertake the time-honored tradition of setting up a lemonade stand. Although it has been the fundraising vehicle of choice for decades, more and more stories are coming out that tell the tale of local law enforcement shutting down these stands — and writing costly tickets in the process!
Photo Credit: “Roadside stand” by Al Stephenson/EPA/Wikimedia Commons via public domain license
About the Author: Sylvia Cochran is a Christian parent, book reviewer, freelance writer and editor. Having spent her formative years living in Germany and traveling through Europe, she brings a decidedly international flavor to her writings. Catch up with her on Yahoo! for additional writings on a variety of topics.
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