Fundraising Has No Age Requirement

Author: Molly Fast on 26 April 2012 | 1 Comments


Molly Fast's niece JuliaThis post from our own Molly Fast is featured on the Parents magazine goodyblog. We agree with Molly that kids make great fundraisers. Sign up for our enews to learn more on this topic. We’ll be offering fundraising materials for kids and the classroom soon.

I’ve written before about how I’m the go to fundraiser in my family. Previously, I was helping my cousin raise money for juvenile diabetes. But today I’m writing about how I helped my 6-year old niece, Julia, raise money for heart disease.

I received an email from my sister stating “Julia's learning about children with heart disease and wants to do her part to help. She'll be participating in Jump Rope for Heart.  In addition to raising money for the American Heart Association, your donation will help Julia's school win free physical education equipment. And the class that raises the most gets to have lunch and recess with the gym teachers--another big incentive for Julia! Thanks for any amount you donate.”

I went directly to Julia’s fundraising page only to discover that her fundraising goal was set to $200. Not only was it entirely too low for my liking, but she had almost reached her goal. As a result, I didn’t really feel compelled to donate.

Here’s what happened next:

Me: Please increase her goal to $500 and then I’ll make my donation :)
Sister: How about $300? I don't plan to hit up many people! I figure we have a lifetime of these asks ahead of us.
Me: $500
Sister: Yes ma'am.
Me: Donation made.

I can’t stress enough the importance of setting a challenging goal and updating it as you get closer to hitting it to ensure people will still feel compelled to donate. Within one day, and with the help of Facebook status updates from her three aunts, Julia’s fundraising went through the roof and she had met her fundraising goal. Within two days, Julia raised $615 and became the top fundraiser in her 1st grade classroom.

If you’re looking to engage children in fundraising, here are some tips you’ll want to consider:

  1. Make the message as simple and relatable as you can. Julia understood that it was as basic as asking people for money, spending some time jump roping and she’d be helping people she’d never meet.
  2. When engaging children, use video as much as possible to show them who they’re helping and why. Julia remembered the name of the girl in the video - Britney - and could even describe how her heart sounded (with a “whoosh”). More than that, she understood that what she heard wasn’t normal or the way your heart is supposed to sound. The video helped her connect and stay connected to Britney.
  3. Connect the activity to the cause. In the video they played at school to engage Julia and her classmates, they witnessed Britney getting better and even being able to jump rope. Julia was really impressed that Britney could now jump rope and learned that jumping rope would make her own heart strong too.
  4. Incentives work for all sorts of people as my friend Jill Stewart recently shared and this couldn’t be truer for children. Even better, when you’re dealing with tiny humans, they don’t need anything that costs money. The thought of winning lunch with her teachers was enough to keep Julia focused on the task at hand! And then, Julia was rewarded for all her hard work when she learned that the teachers changed their mind and instead of just inviting the top class, they decided to also invite a few other big fundraisers. She was psyched to get an invitation from her gym teachers to join them for lunch for being the top fundraiser in her class! These kinds of things cost nothing and go a very long way with children!
  5. Take any opportunity you have to remind children that we all share in the responsibility to help people who aren’t as fortunate or as healthy as we are. 

The bottom line is that there’s no age requirement when it comes to fundraising. In fact, the top fundraiser in Julia’s school was in kindergarten! Regardless of your age, there are important and valuable lifelong lessons that fundraising can teach you. Why not start early?

Check back soon for part two when I talk about why children make great fundraisers.

Molly Fast is a passionate advocate of event fundraising and customer service. She has been working as an event fundraiser since 2002 and with Event 360 since 2004. As the daughter of a 13-year breast cancer survivor, cancer has hit very close to home and Molly has dedicated herself to helping others see their potential in making this world a better place. At Event 360, Molly gets to combine her love of customer service with event fundraising.You can find Molly on Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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  • This is great advice! Plus, it's fun to get involved with your kids. It is cool and effective that Julia picked her own cause. My kids and I will be helping to support JDRF later this year. I'll take this information and help us improve.

    Posted by Chris Kauffman, 27/04/2012 12:18pm (3 years ago)

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