A New Twist to Fundraising for your Organization

By: Michael C. Podlesny

For 13 years I volunteered my time as a youth baseball coach in New Jersey. Nothing was more daunting but also very important then raising funds to keep the league going above and beyond the normal registration fee the league charged. Here is an idea that goes beyond the normal selling candy (which most of the kids eat anyway).

A very simple way to raise a good amount of funds that everyone in your organization can take part in, is a pancake breakfast buffet.

First you need a venue to cook the breakfast and allow your customers to sit down and eat. We teamed up with a local church who had a complete kitchen. You may look into doing the same or even a firehouse.

You serve pancakes and sausage and that is it. Anything more than that and you are creating more headaches then what you need. All the food, pancake mix, syrup, sausage etc., can be obtained by having your members donate it to the cause so there is no out of pocket expense for supplies.

Your money is made in two fold, the first is obviously charging a nominal fee to attend the breakfast, usually $5.00 for adults, $2.50 for children and seniors. Pricing will vary on your area.

The second, and this is really where the money comes in, is from selling small, business card sized advertisements that will be displayed on a placemat (11 x 17 sheet of paper). We charged $25 for each business card sized ad and $2.00 if someone just wanted to put their name on the placemat under the heading, "We would like to thank the following for the support of the XYZ Organization...".

Depending on the size of your organization (ours was quite small, only 100 people), you can make in access of $1,000 or more. As with any type of fundraiser, the more organized you are and the more effort you put out, the better return you will have. I know of one local school in the area that did it and made nearly $10,000 from the fundraiser.

Keep in mind when hosting this fundraiser that you should have 2 or even 3 people cooking the food in rotating shifts so that no one is getting burned out. You should also have a few people (depending on the size of the venue), showing customers to available seats, cleaning up tables and putting down new placemats. Also, if your venue allows it, you will want to keep a list of what customers attended, by having them fill out your welcome sheet that captures their names, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers etc. You will use this list the next time you host this kind of event to let them know you are having it again.

Trust me when I tell you that I am not much of a sales person, but the ads were extremely easy to sell. Businesses in the area gladly paid the $25 for the spot. They were helping a good cause and at the same time got some ad space in front of potential customers. I recommend starting to sell the ads to businesses you already work with...your local grocer, drugstore or pharmacy, corner deli etc. You can sell names at work to relatives and so on. Now multiply that by the number of people in your ogranization, and you can see the funds add up quick.

Well there you have it. It is a great way to raise some funds that will be profitable to your organization and fun for everybody.

By: Michael C. Podlesny

Money Management
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