Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fundraising 101

It's that time of year around here.

Not just in my home, but in my community at large.

And we love it.

People are preparing for all kinds of missions trips.

We've been so excited to be able to give to people traveling domestically with the Thorn Production, friends serving at an orphanage in Africa, kids leading soccer camps in Argentina, teens leading Young Life Camps here in Colorado, friends fundraising for an adoption, and young leaders with YWAM headed all over the world --- to name a few.

In the past few years alone, our children have made multiple trips to Mexico, Germany, Alabama, and Trinidad and Tobago.

I am thankful we live in a place where there is a culture of giving -- and going.

Today, I'd like to give you an inside look at our "fundraising" process for those also considering whether or not they can  afford to send there kids on mission.

1.  We encourage savings -- ALL YEAR LONG.  The average cost of a trip has been approx $2,200 per person.  In the past, Elizabeth has been able to save over $1,000 in a year -- and Hosanna (even without a job) has been able to save more than $500 to put towards her own costs.

2.  We insist that our children pay a portion of their own way before we seriously look at fundraising.  We want our children to be the first to take THEIR calling, THEIR mission seriously.  We remind them that it's a perfectly legitimate way for them to spend their birthday money.  If they aren't willing to "pay a price" -- or sacrifice for the sake of going -- we don't feel it's fair to ask other people too.

The cost we expect up front from a particular child is based on the child's age and ability to earn money.  Generally, any where from $300 - $500.

3.  Next, we sit down with the child(ren) and come up with SEVERAL ways for them to WORK and EARN the money.  Our older daughters have regular, paying jobs.  Easy.  Our younger children have to be creative.

Besides the usual babysitting and misc household chores they can do for the neighbors, Victoria can knit like a machine.  Here is a sample of her work:

She uses bulky yarn and knits on a loom for accuracy.  She is currently selling this hat/scarf set for a $30 donation.

Here's another example:

Victoria also makes and sells homemade laundry soap in 5 gallon buckets.  $15 per bucket.

Our neighbors and friends buy her soap and switch out their empty bucket for a full bucket when necessary.  She also sells homemade Glass and All Purpose Cleaner for $5 per container.

** Let me add a little note here:  Victoria profits off her scarves and laundry soap BECAUSE HER PARENTS BUY ALL HER SUPPLIES.  More on that later.

Benjamin wants to do "manly" chores.  Fine then.  He began by making a flyer which he attached to neighbor's doors with a rubber band.  Whereas it's not quite time for Coloradans to begin mowing their grass, all the snow/dirt/slush this time of year does make for messy cars.  He advertised he would come to their home, detail and wash their car for a $20 donation.  His mother also insists that he be a Poopper Scooper.  I do not allow any job to be "beneath them" at this point.

Insert (and expect) kink:  Shortly after the flyers went out, Benjamin broke his foot in a basketball game.  Cast and Physical Therapy for approx 9 weeks.  This makes any walking/standing activity difficult.  No impossible, but difficult.

Since he was limited, we decided to do an Intercessory Prayer Calendar.

Benjamin has been "selling" dates on his calendar.  If you buy April 1st, the cost is $1.  If you buy April 21st, the cost is $21.  When someone signs up to be his "intercessor" for that day, in exchange for their donation, Benjamin is mailing them an "Map" put out by Every Home for Christ (which we got free from our church) and a list of "Prayer Points" both for his mission trip and the country in general.  It's a great family activity -- and great for Ben to have had to sit down and research concerning the country he'll be working in.

We have several dates available April 4 - 14, and April 22 - 28.  

I allow them to use my facebook to advertise and from there they branch out to neighbors, their own friends, and family.

4.  Billy and I sit down and decide how much we can contribute to the trip.  After all, they are our kids.  In the past, we have funded anywhere from 30% - 100% of their trip costs.  However, we do not offer this money until after the work is done.  We want our kids to work as hard as possible to cover the costs themselves.  After all, they are going to work, to give.  It's not a vacation.

Also, if I decide that in March, for example, I can give my son $200 towards the costs of his trip, why not have him work for it?  In the past the kids have cut coupons, helped dad with yard work, maintained our cars, etc to get their money from mom and dad.  It's a win-win.

This also goes towards fundraising supplies.  If I ALREADY plan to give Victoria $15, why not buy her yarn to knit a scarf she can then sell for $30.

5.  At this point, they are well on their way to earning their own money for their trip.  Therefore, we now allow them to send out "support letters".  Again, because we live in an area where giving -- and going -- is a part of the culture, people are accustomed to such letters and WANT to be apart of young people learning to live on a mission.

Truthfully, we probably couldn't do it without the generous support of our family and friends.  It takes a village and we are so so deeply grateful for ours.

6.  Finally, we sit down as a family and discuss different ways to use our gifts and talents to create fundraising events -- and sometimes involve others who are fundraising in our efforts.

Events Calendar

Kindermusik Playdate, March 26th at 10am
Ages 4 months - 6 years and a caregiver
$10 suggested donation per child

Mountain Dew Cakes
$10 suggested donation per cake
Will deliver, Saturday March 30th

Car Wash, TBA

Krispie Kreme Doughnuts

In this way, we raise the remainder of the funds $10 at a time.  $10 becomes $100 -- and $100 hopefully becomes $500.

We pray that God would bless and multiply our efforts.

Does that sound like a lot of work?  It is.  Lot's of work -- added on to our regular, already full lives -- for several months a year. 

But, if my kids can't handle it -- how are they suppose to handle the hard work that comes from being set in a foreign culture, with foreign language and food, little sleep, and physical labor in the hot sun for up to 10 days at a time?

Worth it?  I think, yes.  The training process, the giving, the sacrificing, the hard work, the going -- all worth it.

Until next time,


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