Monday, June 6, 2011

good deeds ~ hosting a fundraiser

well our bake sale is over now.  a whole lot of hard work, time, energy, and love went into the making of our fundraiser and i am so excited to say that it was a HUGE success!  we were able to raise $480 for the pablove foundation, after just a few hours.  it was a gorgeous day and we were in the perfect spot {thanks to our hosts vacation vinyl} to meet tons of neighbors out and about.  the good people of silver lake definitely came through and bought up just about everything {which was a huge task - we had so much food!}.  brandi and i really can't thank you all enough for your support - whether you baked, came out to help us saturday, or spread the word on twitter, your blogs, and facebook.  we had so many bloggers and non-bloggers alike supporting us, and the baked goods were A-mazing, definitely treats we were proud to sell for our good cause.  we could not have done it without all of you!

 {l-r: amanda, me, brandi, erin}

the good news is you can still donate to pablove anytime, anywhere.  it's such an amazing cause, being run by the most amazing people, so you can be sure your money will go to help children with cancer and their families in really important ways.

how to host your own fundraiser
many of you live too far away to have helped us in direct ways, but after my experience throwing a fundraiser, i just had to share the how-to's with you.  this was my first time hosting an event like this, and it was far easier than i thought it would be.  here are some of the tips i learned:

* find a great charity that you can feel passionate about.  large charities like the red cross are amazing and deserve a fundraiser in their honor, but not everyone can feel personally connected to an organization this big.  try checking out the non-profits and charities in your own community to find something that is a little more personal to you, or consider helping organizations which have helped a friend or family member {such as, raising money for the rescue shelter where you found your furry four-legged love}.

* contact the charity which you choose.  non-profits and charities are more than happy to help you work out logistics and advertise for your event.  megan, from the pablove foundation, was instrumental in helping us find a great location to host our bake sale.  usually charities have connections with other people and businesses in the community who can help host your event, thereby avoiding issues of city permits, rentals, etc.  you can also get some great tips from the charity on what other people have done when fundraising.

* find a partner.  brandi and i were so thankful to have partnered up with each other on our bake sale.  together we were able to brainstorm, divide up tasks, rely on each other's unique skills, and double our network of volunteers.  fundraisers are only successful when people come together, so launch your efforts with a trusted partner from the very beginning.  

* ask for lots of help. reach out to anyone and everyone.  you may be surprised to find who will be excited to get involved, or how many of their friends will join in.  we had all sorts of folks bake treats for us, one of whom i had never met before, but was a friend of a friend.  asking for help from volunteers also makes things so much easier for you in spreading the word {some of you who promoted our bake sale don't even live in the US!}, and for setting up/taking down on the day of the event.  brandi and i were so lucky to have had erin, amanda, and the mister help us get everything started {and by the way, setting up definitely involved the most amount of work so have plenty of volunteers on the day of}.

* share a google document.  this may sound simple, but it was so incredibly helpful.  since brandi and i didn't live near each other, it was essential to stay organized and to keep an ongoing form of communication.  we were able to see who was handling each task and which things still needed to be done, all without having to fit in too many phone calls and skype sessions during our busy schedules.

* sleep really well the night before, reserve time to exercise, and use lots of sunblock.  these are probably self-explanatory, but the day of is inevitably going to be pretty crazy. get good sleep, find ways to de-stress, and remember to stay safe if you're out in the sun.  that way once you get going with your event you can sit back and have fun making the world a better place.

so those are my main tips for hosting your own fundraiser.  if you want extra advice i would be happy to share more specifics from what i learned this weekend.  like i said, it really was a lot easier than i expected, and i hope this can be of some inspiration for those of you considering hosting your own event.  our bake sale was just a small idea in the beginning, but we ended up raising almost $500, money which the pablove foundation would not have had without our "little" idea.  just a wee bit of effort and you too can make the world a better place!

{all photos borrowed from brandi}