By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting
Do you want to do more for your favorite cause but don’t know where to start? If you want to strengthen your fundraising ability and show your favorite nonprofit some love at the same time, why not organize your own individual fundraiser? No matter what nonprofit job or volunteer opportunity you pursue, fundraising skills will always come in handy and taking the initiative to develop these skills yourself is sure to impress. There are a number of creative ways to host your own fundraiser, but here are few fun and easy ways for those just starting out.
Use online tools
Tools like Facebook Causes (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=43952236636) cast a wide net among your contacts and are a quick way to raise money. I have often seen friends ask for Causes donations rather than birthday or holiday gifts. The advantage to this approach is that that this type of appeal makes it easy to reach out-of-town relatives, school chums and anyone else you already connect with whether they are near or far. For a tool with more versatility, try a Fundraising Page on GivingFirst.og. Pages allow donors to construct their own virtual appeal with very personal touches, such as photos and videos. Tell your friends why you love the cause and why you think they’ll love it too. And be sure to upload a photo of you volunteering. There are tons of possibilities with this approach, and anyone in your network can donate online directly to the cause.
Host a happy hour
I’ve heard of friends and coworkers hosting breakfasts, happy hours or similar parties in their own homes benefiting all sorts of incredible charities, and I love the idea! Friends and family will jump at the idea of pleasant company and delicious food while you reap the benefits of having a captive audience willing to learn about your cause. The possibilities here are endless: decorate with or center your menu around social enterprise goodies, invite guests from the organization to speak and hang up some photos of the great work the organization does. Some organizations, like Global Bag Project, have really embraced the individual fundraiser idea and even offer kits to host your own party. Communicate with the organization to see what resources they can provide, such as marketing materials, so your guests can learn more.
Spring clean for a good cause
If your spring cleaning has lingered into summer, you’re in luck! Your first fundraiser could be as simple as hosting a yard/block sale with the profits being donated to local charities. Ask your friends to contribute items or even staff a lemonade stand. This type of fundraiser is a win-win situation for everyone involved—you get to rid your home of unused items while relaxing with friends and working on your tan and a lucky nonprofit gets an unexpected donation.
If you have hosted a small fundraiser, share your lessons learned and success stories in the comments section below. What ideas do you have for a simple summer fundraiser?