Who knew it could be so hard to put the “fun” in fundraising?
It’s tough enough pounding the pavement by yourself. Throw kids into the mix and you’ve got yourself a combustible, short-fused combination.
You know better than anyone that there’s no such thing as a guaranteed complaint-free outing with the kids. That’s doubly true for fundraising activities that may or may not involve lots of sitting around and asking the same questions over and over: namely “would you like to learn more about our [team/organization/fund]?” and “could you spare $5?”
But these six fundraising ideas at least allow for the possibility of kid-friendly fun. Try one for yourself this season.
- Table at the Grocery Store
This is a classic idea, and it’s surprisingly kid-friendly. The key is giving your restless little ones something to do that doesn’t involve running willy-nilly through the checkout area. Task smaller kids with holding cash donation boxes; have bigger kids answer questions about the beneficiary organization’s mission and plans for the funds.
- Hand Out Candy
Sounds too good to be true, right? According to the experts at ABC Fundraising, whose fundraising products include cotton candy and other sweets, offering goodies is a great way to get parents and sympathetic non-parents to part with a few bucks here and there. Promise your little helpers a portion or two of the leftover product and they’ll spring into action on your behalf.
- Make It a Playdate
The best fundraisers are built around exciting events that donors actually want to attend. Provided your planned fundraising event is suitably kid-friendly, encourage fellow parents to bring their kids and make it a playdate. Even if your kids don’t take point on the fundraising itself, they’ll be present for the duration and may learn by osmosis.
- Set Up a (Safe) Distraction
Use a reasonable share of your fundraising budget for safe, kid-friendly distractions, like a properly anchored bouncy castle or face-painting station. The better entertained you’re able to keep the kids, the better equipped you’ll be to focus on the reason you’re there: raising money for their extracurriculars.
- Put the Kids in Charge of Monitoring Progress
Task a responsible little one with monitoring your fundraising progress. That might mean adding a new panel to your outdoor fundraising thermometer, writing a quick update on your organization’s blog, or creating signs announcing your to-date and hoped-for hauls.
- Assign Age-Appropriate Preparation Tasks
Give older kids a stake in your efforts’ outcome with age-appropriate preparation and day-of tasks: making signs, setting up tables and chairs, collecting donations, printing flyers, making donor calls, and so on. Whatever you can do to give your kids the sense that they’re making meaningful contributions to your efforts is welcome, so long as they’re not in a position to unwittingly sabotage the whole thing.
Today’s Little Helpers Are Tomorrow’s Leaders
Don’t let their complaints get to you. By giving your kids a front-row seat to your fundraising efforts, you’re teaching them valuable life lessons about leadership and resolve. Every “no” is a potential learning experience, a data point that they can incorporate into future fundraising efforts. (Or any work requiring an “ask,” for that matter.) Here’s to hoping that, one day, they’ll come to realize that those long mornings at the grocery store really were in their best interests.