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December 16, 2018

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Taking Inspiration From a Young Fundraiser

by Neill Wilkins

Being around charities and nonprofit organisations for a while it is very easy to become slightly jaded. You raise some money and hey guess what, before you know it they need some more! You spend your whole time trying to come up with novel fundraising ideas and new strategies. You spend time writing fundraising letters and trying to attract new volunteers but sometimes something seems to get lost. Its at times like this that it pays to stop and take stock, to review.

I was pondering on this over the Winter Holiday. Perhaps the turn of the year can make us all a bit reflective and however much we enjoy what we do sometimes it can seem a bit like Oh well here we go again. I'm never quite sure what this is - losing sight of the big picture perhaps, or maybe just needing an inspiring shake to your imagination or the ways of thinking you have fallen into.

This year however I was jolted from my inertia by the efforts of a young fundraiser. Nothing that remarkable, no great defining vision, no never to be bettered fundraising idea. Just a young person getting on and doing it.

Rosie is 13 years old and is one of those teenagers that make you smile inside. Since doing a school project a couple of years ago she has raised money for a girl's school in Africa. Nothing grand or fancy just the usual kid's fundraising ideas - sponsored silence, Easter Egg Hunt you know the sort of thing. She has however quietly raised some much needed funds for something she has chosen to get involved with.

Anyway Christmas offered the chance of doing some Carol Singing and not being one to miss an opportunity Rosie had soon got her sister and a few friends organised. Importantly however she also made a few preparations.

  1. She made sure they could actually sing and knew the words.

  2. She planned where they would go. This was for their personal safety but also to maximise the fundraising opportunity. They went for quality not quantity and got a good reception on the local roads where many people knew them.

  3. She prepared a sheet with a few paragraphs explaining about the charity they were collecting for. I'm sure this impressed householders and re-assured them if they did not know the girls.

  4. She made sure they were well turned out, polite and enthusiastic.

  5. She rewarded her volunteers, and made them feel special (with Mum's help) by taking them back to her house for pizza after they had finished.

The carol singing was a success. Rosie and her friends raised over 50.00. As with all donations for Africa this money will obviously buy a lot more on that continent and will be much appreciated.

Working around fundraising and charity I come across a lot of people who talk a lot about how much they want to raise money for their favourite good causes but then never seem to get around to doing it. It also seems to me that however long your list of fundraising ideas becomes its the enthusiasm with which you go about them that can make the difference. Perhaps as we get older our expectations are raised which mean we can miss the delight in the simplest of ideas and the joy of raising a steady stream of small amounts.

I think perhaps that there is something to be learned from a young fundraiser.

Good organisation, good preparation and a bit of get up and go. That's the key to fundraising success.

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About the Author:

I have worked in charities and fundraising for a number of years and believe great fundraising is down to great ideas and great people. Please check out the (very long) list of fundraising ideas on my website:

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