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Weekly Discussion: Fundraising Ideas

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#1
Credit to @Trinny for the thread idea.

Running a unit in general, as well as trips and other events can be costly. Whilst sometimes we need to "just" raise subs, in some areas this isn't an option.

What are your fundraising tips and best ideas? Please try and give as much detail on how organising it went and the "payoff".
Conversely is there any type of fundraising that didn't work as well as you'd hope and lessons learned that you'd like to pass on.

There is a previous thread for putting your "insider" workplace tips for fundraising (What workplace tips do you have for fundraising? )
 

ker-stee

SGP Enthusiast
GuiderPlus
#2
We do an annual coffee morning at the Church we meet in. They host a coffee morning each month and different organisations can run it for their own cause. It's so important to do a fundraising event which brings in money from more than just the parents (As otherwise they might just as well put subs up!)

At the coffee morning we do: tea/coffee/juice, biscuits, cake stall, bric-a-brac, tombola, other games. We ask girls for donations of bric-a-brac and tombola prizes (We get quite a few unwanted Christmas presents and people having a post Christmas clear out!) The girls are invited to do their hostess badge which means they come and invite their families too. Then obviously, in addition to their families we also get a lot of people from the church supporting us too.

On average we raise between £300 - £400 in a 1.5 hour period. It takes a bit of time on a leaders point of view for doing the tombola, setting it up and a week at Brownies to make signs/table decorations etc but it's so worth it. This year we're doing it joint with the Rainbow unit at Church so we will hopefully raise even more!
 

badgemad4

Veteran (100+ posts)
#3
I think any fundraiser can be a pay off if you tailor it to your area and knowing when to "play your cards right".

It might sound obvious but look at what type of events have been successful in the past and what other events are going on in the area that season- the enthusiasm for a jumble sale might not be as great if one of the schools hosted one the previous month. If you are running a sale of any kind charge an entry fee, even 50p can quickly add up.
There are lots of schemes, societies and clubs out there that might be willing to lend a hand to help fundraise or make a one off donation but some only allow one allocation per a certain time frame. Work out what are going to be "big" hits are going to be and where you are best off applying for each cause.

A few years ago I knew of some TSS members that ran a couple of "badge days" for Brownies in their division. They managed to get a waiver on the hall fees and got donations for the materials. They charged a flat fee per Brownie and raised somewhere around £100 per day.
 

Quack

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#4
So much depends on the reason for the fundraising. Raising subs should be the response for covering normal week to week expenses, though our reserves fell when we had fewer members and we struggled so we had to fundraise to cover rent for a couple of terms...hence the reason to legitimately some funds in reserve.

Things that have worked, are bag packing at the local supermarkets but you need to get the girls to participate. Coffee evenings at Guides...

For more specific items such as camping equipment, or an individuals international expedition, it's worth applying for grants. We've had funds from the parish council towards new tents. The District Council have funds for 'community engagement'. Some of the local supermarkets do the carrier bag money, so you apply with a project and they give a cut of the money raised from 'carrier bag sales'. There's quite a waiting list for some but the small Co-op in the backstreets of town didn't have any applications until word got to a local Brownie unit and they've had about £300 from it. Sometimes it may have more impact if you apply as a District or Division and split the funds.

I also used to recycle the toner cartridges from work and the company I used gave me a cheque for the unit, that was about £25 every quarter...

Also find out who the parents work for...a number of large organisations will give donations to charities connected to employees or match fundraising totals so worth asking ...
 

chopperchick

Veteran (100+ posts)
Staff member
GuiderPlus
Moderator
#5
Knowing WHY you want to fundraise has to be the starter.

If you feel your running costs are increasing, and for whatever reason you don't raise subs, then fundraising may be an answer ...... but bear in mind whether you're then going to have to commit to fundraising regularly.
In that situation, the fundraiser really needs to be something which the wider public will support ......... because if its just parents who support it, they why wouldn't you just increase subs? Same people, same level of money.
I think we're usually loathe to increase our subs ........ not sure if it's because we think we're a voluntary organisation thus shouldn't be seen as expensive ........ but like any, we have to cover costs.

Whatever the reason for fundraising ........ plan it well. Think about how much you need / want to raise versus the type of fundraisers you could do. Selling quiz sheets for 50p may well be easy, leave them in shops, not much effort involved - but how many do you have to sell to send 10 kids to Ghana for a fortnight?! Maybe 2 or 3 smaller fundraisers would be "better" than one larger one - will all depend on who is offering to organise it, and who is going to support it.

The converse to fundraising, is to look at the costs of running the unit / trip and look at non-cash alternatives to some of the costs. E.g. would the employer of a leader / parent (officially) support all the printing / copying costs for the unit by offering free use of the workplace printers & copiers? The only downside of that is we need to plan for that leader / parent moving employer, and the cost then needing borne by the unit again.
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#6
Fundraising can basically be split into two categories - family, and beyond family. Efforts such as unit concerts, sales of work, sponsored events - the customers are basically the girls' families, so fundraising basically means them paying indirectly instead of directly. Beyond family activities are things like bag packing or jumble sales which reach out beyond the parents to the wider community, and therefore attract money from beyond the girls' own families.

Like anything else, fundraising is subject to fashion. An original idea catches on, then as more people use it the returns start to diminish and people start to look for the next big thing. Such has been the case with sales of work, concerts, sponsored walks, table sales, beetle drives, whist drives, barn dances, bingo nights, jumble sales, coffee mornings, cheese & wine, bag packing, etc. There is local variation over when each of these was at peak productiveness, and some have become fashionable again.

So for any fundraising, I'd suggest being aware of the risk of merely rooking the parents - we can all think of the coffee morning where the parents were urged to donate home baking, tombola and raffle prizes - and were then asked to turn out on a soggy Saturday and cough up an entrance fee for the pleasure of buying cake & candy, tombola tickets and raffle tickets - in reality, to pay the cost of what they had donated all over again!
 

dominoka

Beginner (10+ posts)
#7
We have raised quite a bit through the easyfundraising website. Most of it has been from me shopping to be honest, some of the parents have signed up but either they aren't big online shoppers or they keep forgetting to use it! But it's free money for an extra couple of mouse clicks when I order stuff online/book hotels etc, so its worth it.
 

Trinny

Veteran (100+ posts)
#8
As Badgemad mentions above with the SS badge days, I was thinking about running some holiday guiding for any Brownies in the area where they do a badge in a day but our unit makes a bit of a profit on it. The benefit to parents would be that they have a week/day of holiday childcare that is much cheaper than other arrangements. But then, if I ran it as a District badge day (for example), would any left over money have to go to the District, instead of unit level?
 

fenris

fenris
GuiderPlus
#9
As Badgemad mentions above with the SS badge days, I was thinking about running some holiday guiding for any Brownies in the area where they do a badge in a day but our unit makes a bit of a profit on it. The benefit to parents would be that they have a week/day of holiday childcare that is much cheaper than other arrangements. But then, if I ran it as a District badge day (for example), would any left over money have to go to the District, instead of unit level?
If your unit ran it, then your unit would get the income - regardless of which units' members you invited to be participants, from within the District, within the Division, or beyond.
 

Lynz

Veteran (100+ posts)
#10
Nothing wrong with running an activity day as a fundraiser and inviting girls from other units, with your unit keeping the profits, as long as you're up-front about this in advance. If you run a "district" day, with girls and volunteers from across the district, it would be reasonable to assume that by default any surplus funds would either be split between units or kept at district level, so I'd make sure that any leaders who agree to help you promote the day(s) to their units and/ or volunteer their time are aware of your intentions from the start to avoid any misunderstanding or ill-feeling further down the line.
 
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