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Fundraising Lessons from Summer Camp

Posted by Scott Barron on Sep 23, 2014 9:26:07 AM
Scott Barron

Have you ever played or witnessed cage ball games at camp? Summer camps often feature teens playing two or three games a day with giant multi-colored canvases filled with air. To keep the ball airborne takes at least three teens jumping into it, achieving the objective of directing the massive ball into the goal Big Ball Playposts to win.

For those who have never seen these games before, the task of scoring seems daunting. But once they realize the team needs to work together to direct the momentum of the ball, the game becomes more fun and less work. Collaborative fundraising is similar to that camp game. The objective takes effort and hard work, but when the entire team works together, everyone wins when the momentum is focused.

What is collaborative fundraising? Collaborative fundraising is when multiple businesses or organizations combine their fundraising efforts with the purpose of seeing a larger return than possible when done individually.

Finding Partners

While it’s nice to think that any combination of people and organizations will do, the combined efforts work best when the potential collaborators have the same target audience. For example, a local bicycle shop, an energy drink company, and a Cycle For Health charity could combine efforts to raise money for their needs because they are each focused on the active bicyclers in the city. Instead of seeing small returns on their effort from their individual networks, combining networks to reach a common goal will be of far greater benefit.

The biggest key to establishing a successful collaborative campaign is trust. Educators are no strangers to how long relationships take to cultivate, especially when it comes to that relationship resulting in an open wallet. Likewise, finding trustworthy partners to join you in your fundraising venture takes time. Not only will these partners trumpet the greater cause with you, but they will also dig deep into their network’s pockets to see that goal realized.

Reaching Your Fundraising Goal

Start within your school. Cast a vision for your board, staff, and volunteers. Get them excited about what you want to do. Ask them to invite their friends and neighbors to join in. Show them your dedication and energy first and naturally their enthusiasm will follow. Establish a social media campaign that challenges people to engage.

The ice bucket challenge had been around for years before ALS started their campaign a few months ago. But when the social media challenges were issued, people jumped in enthusiastically to show their network they weren’t afraid of a little ice and water. And who can say no to raising awareness for a good cause? What really prompted the challenge to take off was when people of influence got involved. Celebrities challenged other celebrities. CEO’s accepted the challenge and passed it on to other CEO’s or politicians. It become cool! Suddenly, the campaign spread like wildfire and a cause that had only seen just over $1 million in fundraising were astounded to see a jaw-dropping $4 million pour in.

ALS didn’t have to push and shove and beg for the momentum to continue. People added personal stories of how ALS affected their families to their videos and the ice bucket gained its momentum. ALS cast an overall vision for the campaign, but allowed the marketing to spread as it did.

Brainstorm for ideas outside of the norm for your school. Find a visible place online and in the community to launch the campaign. And when you have the right partners on your team, you’ll see results you never imagined. This is just one example of fundraising lessons from summer camp.

Topics: Fundraising

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