Put a Spin on Wish List Fundraising

Put a Spin on Wish List Fundraising

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If your group has very specific needs, or items that need to be purchased, a wish list fundraiser can be just the thing to help you reach your goals.  Here’s a fun twist that will make yours even better.

A wish list fundraiser is when you create a list of needs for your group, and supporters can either donate items, or the cost of an item so that your group can purchase it.  For example, if your softball team needs new equipment, make a list:  5 bats, 20 balls, 4 helmets, etc.  Then specify the make, model, and other important details and make the list public to parents and community members by sending notices home, sending emails, posting flyers around town, etc.

Wish lists are often very effective because supporters like to know exactly where their donations are going, and wish list fundraisers give them that opportunity.  But if you’re more comfortable with a traditional fundraiser, there’s an easy way to put a spin on wish list fundraising to get the best of both worlds.

If your comfort zone is, for example, a candy bar fundraiser, you can use the wish list method by breaking down your needs by cases of candy bars.  Let’s say your school’s playground needs a new swing set.  Determine the total cost of purchasing the swing set and having it installed, and then break it down piece by piece.  Here’s an example of how that might work:

Total Cost:  $2,000
Breakdown:
– Swing set stand:  $800
– Swing seats:  $300
– Swing chains and hardware:  $200
– Playground sand:  $100
– Wood for sand containment:  $100
– Installation:  $500

Now determine the number of candy bar cases that need to be sold to pay for each item.  This works with candy bars, tubs of lollipops, Scratchcards, cookie dough sales, and many other fundraisers.  If you need help with this step, take your “breakdown” list and call your fundraising consultant.  He or she is not just there to sell you fundraising products, but also to help with things like this.

When you’re ready to kick off your fundraiser, put posters up for each item in your “breakdown” list.  Include the cost, and number of candy bar cases that need to be sold to reach the goal.  Stack the cases under the posters (ex: If you need to sell 6 cases to pay for the swing seats, stack 6 cases under the swing seats poster) so that participants can choose the item they want to help with, and take their cases from under that poster.

What makes this so successful?  Traditional fundraisers like candy bars are popular because they have proven histories of success, but it’s also true that participants are more likely to be motivated, and put their best effort into a fundraiser if they have an exact goal in mind.

When participants are responsible for part of a whole project, and they know that the project depends on their part if it’s to be completed, there’s a better understanding of the importance of each person’s contribution in reaching the group goal.   It’s also easier to get supporters to make a purchase if you can tell them exactly how the money will be used.  When there’s a clear understanding of the goal, everyone can get behind it, be excited about it, and feel a true sense of accomplishment as they see their efforts building towards something great!

Once your goal has been reached, and your swing set (or other item) purchased and installed, hold a grand opening ceremony to thank your participants for their contributions.  You can even print out achievement awards, so everyone has a lasting memory of how important their role was in achieving the group goal!  It’s a really fun way to get everyone working together, and when everyone works together, great things happen!

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