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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fundraising Follies

This weekend, we are going on a trip to California for my husband’s business.  He is a church music director and his children’s choir is singing at a festival and Disneyland!  Being the music director’s wife is like being a pastor’s wife – you’re expected to lead in supporting the ministry.  Sooo, I became the unofficial chair of the fundraising committee – a committee of two with my dear Katie to help.  We both work full time outside of the home so we were a bit handicapped out of the gate.  In fact, we didn’t start fundraising until after the first of the year.

Our big fundraiser was a multi-basket raffle.  We assembled baskets with themes and sold raffle tickets that the purchaser used to pick the basket(s) he or she wanted.  I enlisted the choir moms to either create entire baskets or donate items to include in a basket.  Some of the “complete” baskets were 25 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, a tool set, a spa basket, and a cooking basket complete with fancy kitchen supplies.  The other baskets were assembled by Katie and I and included individual items we put together.  We made a “Mom Relief “ basket that included perfume, jewelry, picture frames and thank you notes and a homemade teddy bear.  We also assembled a “Scrapbook” basket where we broke into our stashes and came up with albums, stickers, paper, tools, embellishments and a certificate for a day crop at a local scrapbook cottage. 

I learned several things about basket raffles: 
1.  If you ask people to put together a whole basket, let them choose the theme. 
2.  Ask people to donate items, group them together and create your own theme.  We had a “Religious Items” basket (complete with reserved parking and a front pew for Christmas and Easter). 
3.  Don’t be limited by the obvious themes – restaurant, manicure, movie gift certificates (although those are great), but use your imagination!  Our baskets included, among other things, a Scentsy warmer, homemade booties and a bag of Dove chocolate. 
4.  “Regifting” is encouraged!  It's best use of a gift you don’t want/need. 
5.  Don’t be afraid to ask local businesses!  We had donations from salons, a scrapbook cottage, a well-known Nascar driver, a photographer and a casino. 
6.  Think outside the box – what about a gift certificate for dry cleaning, grocery store, house cleaning services, the local hardware store, even babysitting from some teens at the church? 
7.  You don’t have to have a “big ticket” item in the baskets.  We did have a couple of baskets that included tickets to sporting events and a trip to Cancun, but those weren’t even the most popular baskets.  The most popular was the “Foodie” basket with bottles of wine, wine glasses, snacks and local restaurant gift certificates. 

The best part was that over a three week period of selling tickets after our masses, we raised over $6,000!  That was before the “tried and true” bake sale we had on Super Bowl Sunday.  Tomorrow I will give you some of the best tips I learned for bake sales.