4 Ways Communities can Fundraise for National Disaster Relief

Natural-Disaster
It seems like every time I turn on the television there is another natural disaster happening in one part of the world. Natural disasters are an unpredictable part of life – they not only come as a surprise, they come with a high cost too. Since many families directly affected by a natural disaster may be left with no home, food or possessions, fundraising is a critical step to getting them back on their feet. Good fundraising, when properly implemented doesn’t only bring in funds, it can also keep supporters and would-be supporters apprised of the future goals and developments of those affected by the disaster, it allows those not directly affected by the natural disaster become a part of the healing process. This is especially important when the natural disaster occurs outside of the local area where supporters live. Offering supporters a chance to donate funds and necessities to those affected can make getting food, shelter and supplies to those in need happen a lot quicker. Read on my 4 ways communities can come together to raise funds for those affected by natural disaster – the more of us that get involved, the bigger difference we can make!

#1: Concerts

A concert is a great way to raise a lot of funds at a single event. Especially if you can find local and national talent that will perform for free and can find a hosted venue that can be used without payment. Regardless of the community that you live in, there is musical talent in every part of the world making this an accessible fundraiser for any community. You can spread the word of your concert through ticket sales, posters and flyers.

#2: Tournaments

This is another great fundraiser for any community – since all communities have a couple of sports that can be enjoyed year round. If you live in a warm climate, then a golf tournament is a fundraiser that would go over very well. If you live in a cold climate, you could work with a local ski resort to host a skiing or snowboarding tournament. Even small communities that don’t have resorts can host their own tournaments via sports games hosted at their local church, community center or even a large park. You could raise more funds with a tournament by selling personalized megaphones and food tickets.

#3: Silent Auction

A silent auction is a fantastic way to not only support those affected by a natural disaster, they are great for supporting your local community too. You could gather prizes from local shops, restaurants, boutiques, and studios for the silent auction. During the silent auction these small businesses receive a lot of free advertising  and exposure to individuals that otherwise may not have known about their services. This is especially effective when individuals win the prizes and are able to experience the services first hand and possibly shopping at the venue again in the future.

#4: Online Fundraising

Online fundraising is perfect if you would don’t have a lot of time or volunteers to host a traditional large scale fundraiser. You could put up a simple Facebook Fan Page dedicated to raise funds for the national disaster of your choice. Then, by adding a button for people to donate funds via PayPal or their credit card, you can watch the funds start to trickle in. Since it is fairly easy to get a page shared on Facebook via your personal community, you can potentially raise a lot of funds when working with your friends and family to get your page shared throughout the social network.

YOUR TURN: How have you and your community raised funds for national disaster relief? Please leave your comments, they support us all!

photo credit Witthaya Phonsawat via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

7 Ways to Fundraise for Breast Cancer Awareness All Year Long

Breast-Cancer-AwarenessIn the U.S. alone, more than 230,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Chances are you or someone you know has or will be affected by Breast Cancer making Breast Cancer Awareness super important to all women in our country. As a community we can help by raising funds to further cancer research, support those currently affected by the illness and boost awareness for women everywhere. While Breast Cancer Awareness Month may not happen until October this year – you can raise funds for this very special charity all year long. Read on for 7 of my favorite ideas for banning together with members of your family, friends and community to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness.

#1: Dinner Club

A wonderful way to stay connected with friends, family and neighbors is by hosting a monthly dinner club. Each family within the club takes turns hosting a dinner at their home or desired location for the rest of the club members. You can turn this amazing experience into a fundraising machine, by asking each family to donate a specific amount of money to join the dinner club. You could order personalized place cards for each person who joins the club and they could turn their card in at the end of the night to the family who will be hosting the next dinner – almost like a dinner r.s.v.p. card. All of the proceeds from the dinner club are then turned over to the Breast Cancer Awareness program of your choice to further their efforts.

#2: Healthy Bake Sale

Bake sales are always a fun way to raise funds for your favorite charity. Since a healthy lifestyle is based on healthy living – why not host a healthy bake sale at your church, gym, office or other place where you can offer your healthy baked goods to a large group of people. You could gather volunteers to bake up batches of healthy treats that are packaged with personalized gift tags and ready to be sold. This is also a fun event to do with your children – instead of a summer lemonade stand, they could host a healthy bake sale at the entrance to your neighborhood. You could advertise your healthy bake sale with personalized pink ribbon posters too!

#3: Partner Up

If you are a member of a yoga studio, gym, pottery studio or other establishment, talk to the owner about partnering up to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness. You could work out an arrangement for each new person that you refer to their studio, they donate a % of the membership fee to Breast Cancer Awareness. You could offer to help host a “visitor’s day”, where people from the community are offered a yoga or pottery class with all of the proceeds going to the fund. Many businesses love to donate funds to charities and you will be surprised at how many of them will say yes – just ask.

#4: Drink for Pink

Whether you host a tea party at home with only close friends and family or invite all of the women from your church, book club or mom’s group to a tea party – the fundraising opportunities are huge. This is a fun activity in general but you will definitely have a great turnout when the charity is so important to all women. You could arrange to have guest speakers, workshops or classes incorporated into the event as well. Remember to send out beautiful, personalized invitations to your tea party – asking for a donation with their r.s.v.p.

#5: Race for the Cure

October is full of Race for the Cure walkathons and marathons – however, you don’t have to wait until October to start raising funds. There are several different races available throughout the year that you can sign up for today. You can even create your own Race for the Cure by collecting donations independently from your own sponsors and then turning the money over to the charity of your choice. You could thank your sponsors by sending them all a personalized Breast Cancer thank you note complete with the number of miles that you that you covered.

#6: Raffle It

It doesn’t matter what type of event you are throwing, a raffle makes any event even better! Whether you are hosting a family reunion, back to school party or beach bash this summer, why not incorporate a raffle for Breast Cancer Awareness. You can sell raffle tickets for a large ticket item that will be raffled off at the end of the night, or you can sell food and drink tickets and throw those in a large bowl to raffle off small prizes. Either way, a raffle adds a level of excitement to your gathering and since everyone loves the opportunity to win something – you are sure to raise a bunch of funds for the cure.

#7: Book Club

Many women are members of a book club – it is a great way to meet new friends, get introduced to great books, and a fun excuse to reconnect with friends each month. Instead of meeting at a fancy restaurant and blowing a lot of money on food and drinks – host your book club at a friend’s home, clubhouse or even a meeting room at the library. Ask your book club members to donate the money they would have spent at the restaurant to Breast Cancer Awareness. As a thank you give each member a special personalized Pink Ribbon bookmark favor thanking them for their donation.

YOUR TURN: Have you raised funds for Breast Cancer Awareness? If so, what type of activity did you use? We would love to hear, please leave your comments!

photo credit Scott Chan via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Graduation Party Themes that Can Also Fundraise for Your School

Graduation

I remember my school graduation party being a great example of fundraising while having fun. Our graduation party was hosted in our school’s gymnasium and was activity themed – there was a section for dancing, hanging out with friends, Sumo wrestling, carnival games, movies and more. When you purchased tickets to the graduation party, you were given a small roll of raffle tickets that could be used to “purchase” any of the activities or for food and beverages. At the end of the party, the tickets were placed in a large bowl and used to auction off fun graduation prizes!

Since graduation is right around the corner and chances are your school will be hosting a graduation party for alumni,  now is the perfect time to start planning. Especially if you plan to use your school’s graduation party to fundraise for your school too. Read on for 5 fun graduation party themes that could potentially raise a lot of funds for your school or charity of choice.

#1: Beach Blow Out

A weekend beach bash is a the perfect graduation party since the beach is usually a free location with plenty of space for party games, swimming, and sun bathing. Some beaches will also allow you to BBQ and have music as well. Your school could set up “stations” for different types of activities along the beach, such as; beach volleyball or soccer, an area for food and lounging and an area for beach games. You could send out beach themed invitations, order personalized megaphones for those on the sidelines cheering their classmates on and you could also give out drink and food tickets so that everyone enjoys their fair share. What graduation party would be complete without a raffle or two – enter each student that redeems their raffle tickets for a fun giveaway to commemorate the event.

#2: Picnic in the Park

If your school is thinking of hosting a graduation party where friends and family members of the alumni can also attend, why not consider a picnic in the park. Again, parks are a great location for a graduation party because there is a lot of space, pavilions can be rented out and it us a relaxing, fun setting that everyone will enjoy. Plan to host lawn games, set up a Sumo Wrestling area (where guests can dress as a Sumo Wrestler and wrestle each other), and set up an area of the park with picnic blankets for those that want to relax on the lawn while eating lunch. You could have waterproof posters to direct guests to the appropriate part of the park for the activity that they are interested in, or to direct them to the food and beverages. Instead of selling tickets to the event, sell waterproof wristbands (these would be great for a beach party too!) that can be worn all day since you may have guests all over the park – it’s a great way to keep those that weren’t invited from crashing your graduation party.

#3: Dance Party

Everyone loves to dance and a dance party would be another great party theme for graduation. Keep the dance party light by incorporating a fun theme, such as the 80’s! Decorate the venue with personalized dance party posters, sell tickets for raffles that will be held throughout the dance and giant wall stickers could be used to shout out catchphrases from the 80’s or whatever theme you choose. Since a dance party is so informal, you can advertise the graduation party all over campus by passing out and hanging personalized flyers that include all of the party details.

#4: Rooftop Dinner

If your school has a very small graduating class or you are looking for a more intimate way to celebrate, consider hosting a rooftop dinner. You can either have several tables or one long table that everyone will sit at together. When going formal, a beautiful personalized invitation and admission ticket will start the graduation party off on the right foot. You could sell drink and raffle tickets or set up a silent auction to raise funds for either the school or a favorite charity. Give the dinner a little extra pizazz with personalized place cards to show guests where they should sit.

#5: A Class Act

If you are looking for a graduation party that is out of ordinary and unique, why not book a professional or several to come in and teach the alumni a new skill such as baking, sailing, or yoga? You could even offer several different classes depending on the interest of the alumni and host them on a rolling schedule throughout the weekend, so students could attend as many as they would like. It would be a great way for them to try out several new activities that they may otherwise never get the chance to try and it would be a fun memory making graduation party.

YOUR TURN: Have you ever attended a graduation party that really knocked your socks off? We would love to hear about, please leave your comments below!

photo credit Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6 Fantastic Tips for a School Book Fair Fundraiser

Book-Fair-FundraiserA book fair is an excellent way to raise funds for your school while building community at the same time. Kids always enjoy a book fair, it’s a great way to see new books up close and personal. And while you will get a lot of children that come in and out of the book fair, possibly picking up a book or two with funds that their parents sent with them – the key to making your school’s book fair a fundraising success is to get the students’ entire families and individuals from the community to attend the book fair as well. The more people that attend the book fair, the more books that will be sold, equally a bigger fundraiser return for your school. Read on to learn my 6 tips for making your school’s book fair fundraiser a success!

#1: Get Organized

First and foremost, it is super important to get the book fair organized. Start by gathering a book fair committee made up of parent volunteers. The book fair committee can work with the school’s librarian and teachers to decide on a good part of the year to host the book fair as well as possible themes (read more about themes below). Your committee will also need to work with the librarian and teachers to pick out the best books to offer during the book fair and they will be responsible for assisting in publicizing, setting up and running the book fair too.

#2: Pick a Theme

Instead of simply setting the book fair up in a corner of the media center or school library, give it more personality by completely customizing it with a theme. For example, if your school has an auditorium or gym with a lot of room to spare, consider choosing a Mad Hatter theme. You could set the space up with round tables complete with funky tablecloths, colorful centerpieces and tea for guests to sip as they browse the books. The idea is to make the book fair an event that students will want to bring their friends, family and members of the community to. The more people that attend the book fair, the higher the dollar amount for the school at the end of the fundraiser.

#3: The Perfect Invitation

In the past, there have been many school book fair’s that I wasn’t even aware of. Mostly due to the book fair flyer getting smashed to the bottom of my son’s backpack or even worst lost in the abyss he calls a locker! A great way to ensure that the families of all of the schools students are aware of a book fair, is by formally inviting them. It would be fun to send personalized bookmarks with all of the book fair information on it and then giving them to parents at parent-teacher conferences or even mailing them to their homes. If you plan to send the invitations home with the students, you want the invitation to be something pretty and fun – maybe a personalized magnet for their kitchen refrigerator.

#4: Colorful Posters

If your school publicizes your book fair only through the morning announcements or by sending invitations home with the students – you are missing out on valuable customers. Make sure that you have several different marketing funnels set up for advertising the book fair. I am a huge fan of colorful personalized posters – they can be hung anywhere, come with fun graphics and look great hanging in the classrooms, halls, media center and cafeteria. They can even be given to local shops, grocery stores and medical offices. Just make sure they are hung at eye level for the kids to see and in high-traffic locations.

#5: Host a Special Event

While your Mad Hatter book fair will be much more fun than a traditional one – it is still important to host special events during the book fair week. For example, why not host your school’s ice-cream social or meet and greet during the book fair. If your school has a parent-teacher conference, theatrical play, or sporting event that will bring a lot of people to the school – host your book fair at the same time. For parents with younger children that need a break, you could set up a craft station near the book fair. It would also be fun to host a raffle during the special event – your prizes could be book gift packs or gift certificates to use at the book fair.

#6: Be Grateful

Make sure at the end of the book fair after the last book is sold, that you thank all of the people that helped to make your book fair a success. I am a fan of personalized gift tags attached to a small gift, it’s a great way to let your volunteers know how much you really appreciate all of their hard work. It’s also fun to invite the students and families back after the book fair to share with them the purchases that the school was able to make with the funds from the fundraiser. It gives them a visual as to where there money and volunteer time helped the school, and inspires people to be a part of the process next time.

YOUR TURN: What other tips have you seen used to make a school book fair a success?

photo credit stock images via FreeDigitalPhotos.net