Putting some FUN in FUNdraising

Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching the joy of giving. – Henry Rosso

Who doesn’t love a good bake sale? Let me be the first to say that I do! I love buying at the bake sale. However when it comes to “giving baked goods” I was the mom who stopped by Safeway and picked up cookies or muffins and sheepishly took them in to sit beside the loving home made muffins. I love to bake but I am not very good at it and I don’t often have (take) the time.

So, when I have chaired various events or raised money for class field trips I seldom deferred to the bake sale because it is not in my own strengths. However, I have seen and experienced several other very successful fund raisers. This week, I would like to provide a few ideas for fund development that may provide some new (or refresh old) ideas.

Friends and Family bottle drive: this involves sending an email out to all your friends and family and asking for their bottles. Give a few weeks’ notice and let them know where the money is going to. You will be surprised how much money a couple of bags of bottles will bring in. With the new bottle depot in Fort McMurray, taking recycled bottles in has never been easier.

Make a Change: Have everyone in your workplace bring in as much change as they can for a “Change race” It’s not about how much you bring in, it’s about how much space your change takes up. In a large floor space, line the change and see how far your change reaches. A little time consuming but lots of fun. (Please note: to the people who take 20$ and buy rolls of change, that’s not the point! Just donate the 20 bucks).

Have a coloring contest: Each participant pays a set amount (say $5.00) to enter a coloring contest. On the day of the coloring contest, each participant is given the same picture with the same 5 or 6 colors of crayons. They go home and color the picture. On the day they bring it back, each picture is auctioned off. The deal is, one picture has been randomly assigned a special prize (1 day off with pay, a spa package, a fishing package etc.) Other pictures could have small prizes – but you don’t know what you are bidding on except the beautiful piece of “art”. A fun way to raise money – and win prizes!
Dress this way: As a group, wear a theme to work each Friday and pay a small amount to a jar. For example, dress for the gala one Friday, dress in jeans, dress in white and black etc. Over the course of the year you will have gathered lots of toonies and had fun doing it!

Taco in a Bag: Purchase some nacho snacks (cheese Doritos are my personal favorite) in a bag, add lettuce, salsa, sour cream or any other fixings and sell them at lunch to your staff.

Silent auction with a twist: This year United Way staff will be having a fun silent auction. We will be bringing something loved from home to donate. We can also donate “ideas”. For example, I am going to auction off “Grandma for a night”. I will offer to go to a family’s home and babysit their little ones for the evening so that the adults can go out for supper or a movie (or both). It will cost me a little of my own time, raise a few dollars for our own United Way campaign and give a night off to a busy mom/dad. Another colleague says she would pay good money for a voucher offering to start her car and wipe the windshield off 3 times in the winter. For the silent auction, give of your talent. If you have a talent, offer it up. I would happily bid on a few private guitar lessons, or singing lessons, or script reading lessons. Are you a great cook? Offer to bring the highest bidder a full meal for their own family. I personally would pay good money for a home delivered Jig’s Dinner.

Ice Cream Social: Take in all the fixings for a great Ice Cream Sunday. Your colleagues then would make a donation to purchase one on their afternoon break. (Be conscious of allergies) Even 10 ice cream Sundays at $5 a piece is $50. That would pay for coffee at the Centre of Hope for 5 days!

Most importantly, giving should feel good. Whether it is your time, your effort, your skills or your money Thank you for making a meaningful contribution where it matters to you!

It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving. – Mother Teresa


Author: Sherry Duncan

Sherry proudly calls Fort McMurray home. Having lived in several mining communities with her family, it has been her experience that the heart of a community can be found at the volunteer pancake breakfasts, food bank drives, parent councils and similar community events no matter where your travels take you. From an early age Sherry volunteered in service to others under the watchful eye of her socially conscious father. As a parent to her own 3 (adult) children she has practiced and passed on those many life lessons. Over the years she has Chaired several volunteer events including (more recently) a Keyano United Way Campaign and served as board member for various organizations. Fort McMurray has no shortage of opportunities to be involved at many levels. Most recently Sherry's volunteered both front of house and on stage for Keyano theatre, Tedx Fort McMurray, Safe Communities Wood Buffalo PARTY Program, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo and The Western Canada Summer Games. Sherry has completed the internationally recognized Chair Leadership Academy as part of her position as Chair and Instructor in Childhood Studies at Keyano College where she was also awarded the President's Instructional Leadership Award. She is a proud Leadership Wood Buffalo alumni, facilitator and keynote speaker. For 29 years, teaching children and adults has been her career allowing her many opportunities to travel, present, facilitate and engage in both educational and philanthropic activities. Joining the United Way will truly bring together her passions for teaching, learning and making a difference in the heart of her community and the Wood Buffalo Region.