Kids in Fundraising

Getting Kids involved in Fundraising

Do not – even for a moment – think that involving children in fundraising is exploitative. It’s not! They learn some great life lessons:

  • Things don’t ‘just appear’ in their classroom. Just like they must save pocket money to buy the latest gizmo, the cool new playground doesn’t just materialise; it’s worked for.
  • Being a part of the sales team teaches community spirit.
  • Involvement in fundraising boosts self-confidence too.

Done right, incentive prizes are also important. Do not offer anything so outrageously generous that children will take inappropriate risks to achieve it. For a larger prize such as this, you are better to offer it as a random participation prize – where every participating child goes into the draw to win it! Some product suppliers actually offer incentive programs. From my experience, prizes don’t have to be costly or extravagant: an ice block for returning the form is a welcome reward on a hot summer school day; pizza for lunch for the class that returns the most orders is cheap, yet ‘awesome’.

  “Out of the mouths of babes…”

Children’s views are fresh and honest. Why not ask for their ideas about a fundraiser, such as what prize would work as an incentive for taking part. One school I know did this and discovered that a high bounce ball was motivating all the kids one year, and it turned out to be the least expensive incentive prize – a win-win! …But it may well ‘suck’ the next year.

A word of caution though…

Children should never ever sell products or seek sponsorship door-to-door without parental supervision.

Chapter 4 of the Practical Fundraising Handbook has all the info for a product drive from kick-off to driving the sales home.

Some fundraisers involve children directly. Think a-thons: walk-a-thons, spell-a-thons; skip-a-thons, swim-athons. These are great because they inspire a sense of achievement in children. Every child can have a go and achieve his or her own Personal Best! There may be an educational focus or a health focus – and that’s a bonus too.

Mother’s Day or Father’s Day themed fundraiser may be either produce-based or event. Photography, custom-labelled wine and child-inspired art immediately come to mind as potential product drives. From an event perspective, consider a ‘girls only’ shopping tour for mums.

Family events like Christmas carols lend themselves to the addition of direct sales such as glow sticks and flashing candles as spur-of-the-moment or mood purchases. School fetes present opportunities to drive home order-based sales and sell pre-ordered stock.

Kids in fundraising can make things a bit slower and more complicated. Ultimately though, what you want is to enable a new generation of people to learn new skills and take responsibility. Who knows? A bit of work now can reap a new generation of volunteers and fundraisers.

Next article: Tips for Getting Volunteers.

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