There are fundraisers that offer more than ‘just’ money. These can be the very best fundraisers around! Events can create connections within communities, some fundraisers donate funds or goods to other worthy causes, and other fundraisers create something special for families and communities.
Expressions have been creating this ‘something special’ with their tea towel keepsakes for the past 20 years.
What is Expressions?
An Expressions tea towel fundraiser typically involves a whole school, childcare centre or club getting each child to draw a self-portrait, do a handprint or sign their name. The kids’ artwork is then collated into a master design that is custom printed onto quality tea towels (aprons or carry bags too).
Expressions provide all the tools you need to run the fundraiser, including the paper, pens, order forms and a return envelope for getting the drawings back for processing.
The tea towels then find their way to our homes – used in our kitchen, put proudly on display or kept in memory boxes.
I spoke with Emma McNeilly, owner of Expressions, about their 20 year anniversary.
‘We are now seeing parents coming through who have an Expressions tea towel from when they were little. And now their kids are getting one done. It’s the best feeling being a part of that.
‘The vision I had when I started Expressions was that we were creating a really special memento that would be treasured for years to come. While I knew from the start that this was true, after 20 years I’m now getting to actually witness our tea towels becoming a part of a family’s history. I get a real kick out of the memories that people share with me. I’m proud of it. They have become a tradition for so many.
Hallway of Memories
Goodstart Early Learning Centre in Mosman, Sydney has taken it one step further. They have a gallery of their unique tea towels from every year framed down their main hallway. Older siblings can look up their handprint or drawing as they are dropping the little ones at kindergarten.
Director Brooke says “they are wonderful memories and are a record of every child and Educator that has been through our centre”.
‘Rainy Day Boxes’
I, for one, keep a box for each of my children. They are full of class photos, special drawings, certificates etc… OK, that’s a lie, I have ended up with two boxes for each of them!! I call them their ‘Rainy Day Boxes’ because that’s what my mum called ours. We literally would wait till it was raining and pull them out and rummage through them.
Two ‘Rainy Day Boxes’ for each of my five children
In each of my children’s boxes, I have tea towels from Expressions. it’s lovely to pull them out and reflect on who their friends were at different points in their lives and how cute their little drawings were!!!! I usually order two tea towels – one to use and the other to put away.
The tea towels also make a perfect gift for an Aunty and Grandparents and after so many years, I’m sure can be found in kitchen drawers and keepsake boxes in thousands of homes in every corner of Australia.
An Expressions tea towel for my eldest child from 15 years ago.
Emma has worked in fundraising over 20 years and has also served as a volunteer herself on many committees, starting with playgroup, the community kindergarten, she’s volunteered and coached for the soccer club, and onto the school P&C. Because of this, she has a rich understanding of the very important and far-reaching world of vital community fundraising from both sides of the fence.
Expressions aim to bring a creative, personalised, easy solution to vital community fundraising, using childhood mementoes to raise much-needed dollars.
Emma says “I love that I’ve created a business that delivers exceptional service, beautiful products and helps others.
We put the customer at the forefront of all our business decisions and know how precious volunteer’s hours are, so we strive to ensure our projects are easy to run, everything is supplied, and in turn, everybody loves them.
Our aim is that everyone involved enjoys the project and is left with a treasured keepsake, this is the reason we have become a staple of the annual fundraising calendar for so many schools, childcare centres and club”.
The Fundraising Whisperer
To request an information kit from Expressions, Click Here.