The key for kids is to make fundraising fun and easy for them- and make it something they can do with what resources they have. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having kids participate in traditional fundraisers where you purchase something and then sell it- but it is important for me to show Wes that you don't have to have a lot of money to fund raise and make a difference. Do you hear that grown ups? Because it applies to you to! The reason it is important to me to teach him to do this with what he has, is that I want him to look back on this experience, and feel proud, because he knows that HE did it on his own. That is not going to work if he feels like mom did everything for him and he is just taking the credit for it.
Talk Talk Talk ASK ASK ASK
One thing is for sure, people are not going to help you out if they don't know you are fundraising. The same thing applies with our kids! Encourage your child to tell people what they are doing, and why. I don't just mean friends and family either! When we go into a local business, you can bet Wes is going to talk to everyone and tell his story. This opens up the conversation for their business to become a corporate sponsor for him. Now, corporate sponsor sounds all scary and expensive, but the truth is, it isn't! In Custer County, our sponsorships start at just $150 (and they are a tax deduction for the business!). I think you will be pleasantly surprised about how willing businesses are to help, even if it is not in a financial way. You might find a new place to sell hugs (or have a bake sale, etc) or they may be able to donate a small item for you to use in a silent auction/basket auction.
When I talk to people about asking businesses face to face for help or donations, they always seem reluctant. Here is what I tell them- the worst thing you are going to hear is no. Even if you hear NO- think about it in a positive way. You have just shared information about an amazing local event that fights back against cancer, and your excitement may have just created the next team, or participant! They may decide to come see what the event is all about for the first time, or- they may know someone who is battling cancer who could use help from The American Cancer Society. After all, we are all fighting for the same cause, so the word NO doesn't mean you aren't making a difference.
A great way for kids to raise money is by offering to help friends, family, and neighbors in exchange for fundraising money. Your child could help neighbors by taking out trash, or pulling trash cans to the curb for busy neighbors on trash day. It sounds easy and simple, right? Well it is- let me do the math for you... You have four neighbors that will pay your kiddo $5 a week to take trash to the curb on trash day. If you start 8 weeks before your event, that is $160!
If your child is older, another great option is lawn mowing. I will be totally truthful here and say I would WAAAAY rather pay someone else to mow my lawn. Just ask my neighbor, Chuckie- who doubles as my lawn boy!
Give adults a run for their money!
Is your event having a Talent Show, or a Mr. Relay event? Break the mold and ask your kiddo if they would like to participate! By far, this is Wesley's favorite thing to do. After seeing a Mr. Relay competition in 2011, he asked me why there weren't any kids participating (for those of you that don't know, Mr. Relay is when men dress up as women, perform a talent, and raise money!) When he asked, I realized he was right. In fact, I had never even asked him if he WANTED to do it. Welp, turns out he did. He had his eye on beating the long-running winner of Mr. Relay, a local celebrity named John Liddle. This created a really fun, friendly competition between the two of them. After a VERY close race, Wes was crowned Mr. Relay 2012. He raised a little over $500 in thirty minutes!
Wes and John (below) these boys are class acts!
This year, our event hosted a talent show where the top three participants would go on to perform on Relay night. The top three got voted in by donations- the great thing about this, is it gives him a chance to raise money not once, but twice! Now, I am not going to say this was an EASY fundraiser for us, because it has taken hours and hours of planning and practice- but if you ask me, it has been totally worth it so far! Wes decided to take two big pop culture things (Honey Boo Boo and Gundam Style), and "smash them together and add some relay stuff" for his act. Last night was the first talent show, and of course- I have pictures and video to share! I don't know his total yet, but I know I saw at least one $100 bill in his jar last night :)
Set realistic goals- then raise them!
Everyone loves to achieve and reach the goals they set for themselves! This goes for kids to! Set a realistic goal with them, and work towards it. When you reach that first goal, celebrate- but don't stop! Challenge your kiddo to set a new goal when you hit the first one. As Wes told Cheryl last night, "Now that I am at $1,000 I am going to go by halves, or 5's- $1,500, $2,000- all the way until I reach a MILLION dollars! And after that, I will go to infinity" Now that, my friends- is a heart warming statement for anyone who has ever been touched by cancer. Wes is in your corner fighting for a cure- to infinity!
Stay tuned! In my next post, I will share my favorite fundraisers for the rest of us- GROWN UPS! After all, we have some amazing kids to keep up with!
For The Cause!