Tips for a Successful Fundraiser

by Carolyn Clemons

State your organization’s name, describe the fundraiser and indicate what you plan to do with the proceeds.

Plan your fundraising date at least 3 months beforehand, more if you can. Are there other events that would conflict with yours? Shall you choose day or evening? We chose evening at 6:00 PM on a Saturday night. It was right after St. Joe’s mass so people came straight over afterwards for food and the auction. Go to your local Chamber of Commerce to get an idea of a good date.

Choose a place that is well known and has kitchen and restroom facilities. We chose the parish center in our local town. A member of our support group was a member of the congregation there and we got a discounted rate. Also the members of that church pitched in to help us.

Have signs made professionally so you can use them again. Check around for the best price as they vary greatly. Be sure the print is big enough to read from a car and use only the basic information. We had 3 signs, one each at north and south ends of the courthouse and one in front of the parish center.

Tell people exactly what you will e doing. For example, are you going to have a live or silent auction? We did both.

Live Auction – We also hired an auctioneer to auction off the more expensive items. Although you might be able to get an auctioneer for free, you might get we felt ours ‘pulled’ more money into it as he made it fun and personal.

Silent auction – Use this for your lesser or personal items. Don’t be tempted to put ” collector’s items” into the live auction because they will not earn as much. However cakes made by certain loved individuals can bring a nice price. It was not unusual for us to get $60. for a cake.

We had a lunchbox meal consisting of ham and smoked pork sandwiches, chips, baked beans, a drink and a piece of cake that had RSD/CRPS on it. A local cake decorator charged half price for the cake and the remainder was donated. Go easy in the way of food. Have extra desserts and drinks to sell for those not purchasing a meal. Some grocery stores may give you items to supplement your meal costs.

One month ahead of time send personal letters of RSDers experiences to the Letter to the Editor section of your local newspaper. Do you have more than one paper in town? Send different stories to different papers. These letters will help you get the word out. Always mention the date and time of the fundraiser as well as requests for donations for fundraiser. Also list the fundraiser and your contact information in your local paper under ‘Things to Do’. We do not have a local TV station, but if you do try and get the word to them also. Coverage by paper and/or TV the day of auction would be a plus. We collected money even after the auction was over.

Items for Fundraising
When you are collecting items for the fundraiser contact local industries in your town for donations. Our local office manufacturing company gave us a $400 desk chair.

We did not have good luck with raffles. We had two hand made quilts and a 50/50 jar. It didn’t work for us but it might for you.

We had some wonderful items to auction from local grocery stores, individuals, businesses and manufacturers. We had items such as country hams, pictures (these were used but went for a good price, Willow Tree collections, picnic table, jewelry, corn hole games (BIG $ ITEM), cordless screw drivers, air compressor, Adirondack chair, pontoon rental, B & B nights, Office chair from local manufacturing, cookbooks, baskets of misc items, chiropractic visits, fire extinguisher, tool box, local restaurant coupons, several golf outings, American flags, new purses, etc. That is only a sampling of what we had. Do not buy items at regular price thinking you will sell them for more because they most likely won’t. Most everything we had was new but a few pre-owned pieces went well.

Ask your local Wal-Mart if they will help you with the fundraiser. They may give a check or may help with food expenses. Our local store has been very good to our community.

Don’t forget the RSD/CRPS
Have plenty of RSD/CRPS brochures on hand. Have someone with CRPS give a short talk just before the auction when you have everyone’s attention. If you have video availability then use it for showing local people with RSD. I understand most RSDers do not feel like helping much but try to be there to greet people. I took extra meds just to get through it but it was worth all the pain I went through to think that we were helping others.

Thank-You Notes
Send thank-you notes to all who gave items to sell and to those who helped in any way with the fundraiser. Everyone like to be appreciated so let them know they are.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Carolyn Clemons
270-879-4023, carolynclemons@yahoo.com.