How dancing helped me raise $16,000

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“We should do a flash mob”

The whole table looked at me weird, and waited until I made another point. 

I told them that was my idea, and that we were moving forward on it

Why a flash mob? Because we were doing a dance marathon! We needed to dance!

So we set to work to get a group to choreograph it, and then find a group to film it. We managed to do it pretty easily (free swag can move people to do some awesome stuff)

And sure enough, our flash mob bounced around and drew tons of eyeballs to our event. As a result of that, our event helped to raise over $16,000 for the local children’s hospital.

Moral of the story…don’t do a flash mob….what do I mean? Let me explain

Our flash mob worked because it hit on these 4 steps.

  1. What’s your cause/event about?

For us, it was dancing for those who couldn’t. So a flash mob fit with the theme, and had a direct link to the cause/event we were doing. So a flash mob would be in bad taste/wouldn’t fit for certain things: your charity chess tournament, your ping pong tournament, or even your loonie drive (unless you had giant chess pieces dancing around….hey, that’s pretty cool!) Ultimately, find something that fits with the theme of your event and run with it…or dance, your call.

  1. Choreography

Not just of the dance, but make sure you plan out every element. This includes the boring stuff: like paperwork and waivers, all the way up to getting the people involved and the items you’ll need. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail…..and you wouldn’t want to be a failure. Sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, but not typically when it comes to charity. You’ll also want to make sure you plan for times when there’ll be the most eyeballs on you, giving you the best exposure. A flash mob seen by one person isn’t so cool. A flash mob seen by a hundred people is pretty awesome!

  1. Be social, but the right kind

Don’t just hide behind the screen, but get out there and be social with people. We blended the social element, being there in person, with the social media element of sharing the video to get awareness around what was happening. This helped generate some fear of missing out (FOMO) and gave those there a feeling of being in on something cool. So don’t post a status and wait for the likes to roll in…get out there and earn them

  1. Take notes

Take note of those who say things about what you’re doing, and ask them to do that more! Follow up and ask them to be part of the event, or to share your stuff more. Why would you turn down offers of free help? Especially when it means you get a further reach! So take notes on who helps/talks about you, and praise them!

So don’t do a flash mob….or do it….either works so long as you follow the above steps. Follow them religiously and you’ll be laughing! And dancing….maybe…….up to you

The Anti Bake Sale

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Since fundraising time-immemorial, volunteer fundraisers have long sought to raise money for the causes they cared about. And all too often, the same methods to raise money have been employed, and almost always they are met with contempt. Yet one stands above the rest that draws the most groans and eye rolls…..the bake sale. So today, I’m here to free you from this vicious cycle, and introduce you to your new favourite fundraising endeavour: The Anti Bake Sale

What’s an anti bake sale? The premise is quite simple. Instead of spending the hours baking baked goods, only to have them go sale and having to basically give them away, here’s what you do. You instead will get some recipe cards printed up with cool facts, as well as mild threats of a bake sale if donation goals aren’t met. You hand these out to people at your office/school/wherever you’re doing your fundraiser at. Then you see the money start to roll in as a result! Think of it as a protection tax from another bake sale coming onto your turf…..because we all can remember when that happened, and very few people were happy.

This fundraising endeavour accomplishes a few things

  • It makes sure you don’t have to bake anything
  • You don’t have to waste money on baked goods
  • Your items are all recyclable (yay environment)
  • You get people laughing, which typically is a good thing
  • It’s super low cost (think a few cents per print out)
  • It’s creative, which will get people’s attention
  • It isn’t a bake sale

So now you may be wondering “how can I possibly execute this?” Well, let’s explain it in ways that those with bake sale on the mind can understand….with cook book steps

Step 1: Ditch the recipe, keep the cards

Don’t bother heading to the grocery store (you can do this all from home). Instead, head online and find some interesting facts about the cause you’re raising money for. This could be the amount it costs to feed someone, how much it costs to put a young person through a program, or perhaps something about the environment. In addition, throw on some funny jokes about “only you can prevent bake sales….by donating to our fundraiser today”. If you have the space, throw on a sudoku or crossword puzzle to keep people interested.

Step 2: Get to baking….sort of

Instead of baking, send your design to a printer. You can also use a printer at home, assuming you’ve got some nice card-stock, thicker paper to print on. Since you’re not spending nearly the same amount as you would have for baking, you can spring for the good stuff. Then make sure they’re all cut and stacked appropriately, or go pick them up from the printer.

Step 3: Get to asking

You’ve got your cards. You’ve got your spot. Now it’s time to ask! Start by handing out the cards around the office/campus/event space, and give them your elevator pitch. Be sure to also let them know that you can accept money later, or even come by and get it at a later date. Also be sure to have some credit card readers with you so you can accept money via credit or debit, and watch the money come in!

Helping you do Good, Better