In the Community
FUNdraisingApril 20, 2016
Of course! There are the usual expectations: making a personally meaningful gift to the organization yourself, selling tickets for any fundraising events your nonprofit holds, and introducing your friends and acquaintances to the executive director. But there are so very many more!
- Consider “contributions in lieu of…” For any occasion for which folks might give you a gift (birthday, wedding, anniversary, retirement, holiday), ask people to make a gift to your favorite nonprofit in your honor instead. Wouldn’t you rather have that over another box of golf balls, bottle of wine, tchotchke, chocolates, cigars or flowers anyway?
- The next time you host a gathering at your home, tell your friends that their contribution to the event (instead of bringing a dish or a six-pack) is a check to your nonprofit. It could be a simple dinner party, a movie night, the Oscars, Monday night football or March madness, election night, a card or board game night, costume party or even a wine and cheese party. It could be a morning coffee, afternoon tea, or evening garden party. It could be a bonfire, oyster roast, or clambake. No matter, your friends will have a great time, and your organization will benefit.
- When you do something competitive with your friends, such as playing golf or bridge, bocce ball or tennis, ask everyone to put some extra money in a pot to support your charity—and if you win, ask them to double it!
- If you work outside the home, consider options to get your office colleagues to ante up for your organization. How about a swear jar ($5 goes in the jar for your nonprofit each time someone is caught with a foul mouth), or a cell phone jar ($5 each time the phone rings aloud during a meeting), or have the boss declare an outrageous tie or scarf day (failure to participate costs $10, but the most outrageous entry gets an extra day off or a two-hour lunch.) Have competitions between departments or teams regarding total money raised in contribution to your charity.
- Tell each club or group to which you belong about your charity, and suggest that each time you meet, you would like to take up a collection. This could be a book club, a Sunday school class or small group, a canasta club, or a luncheon group.
- Ask your friends and family to support your efforts to run a marathon, lose pounds, stop smoking, jump from a plane, de-clutter your house—you name it—in the name of your nonprofit. Collect your pledges of support, and make it happen!
- In each of these cases, there are add-ons that could be included. For example, everyone could bring a gently used piece of art or book, or a tasty homemade dessert or bottle of wine to your event, club meeting or party. Your guests could buy the donated items, with the proceeds going to your charity. You can package a skill of yours (are you a handyperson, a pie-baker, a gardener, an accountant, lawyer, artist?) and offer a day of your talent to the highest bidder. Just imagine how many directions your creativity can go, with your charity being the grateful recipient.
And the list goes on. There is no reason that raising money needs to be drudgery; it can be great fun! And in virtually each of these cases, you would be educating your friends and family about the great work of an amazing nonprofit while encouraging its financial support. Living generously means helping others to do the same, and this can be the most rewarding thing of all!
Denise K. Spencer
President and CEO