This was an amazing project. Expensive, stressful, and daunting at times, but amazing. When all was said and done, we raised over $1,500, far more than I imagined was possible when I began!
To recap, this project consisted of me painstakingly creating a superhero costume in preparation for a 5k hosted by a local non-profit that helps children in need. The goal was to raise as much money as possible by using social media and a blog to update donors on my costume progress. The project ended at the 5k where I was able to connect with the organization I was supporting and a group of civically engaged individuals who shared my passion for helping those in need. I received countless messages of support along the way, was featured in a local non-profit blog, and learned a ton about fundraising. Here are some of my takeaways:
1. Passion matters. In this project, I aimed to combine two things:
– Supporting a local non-profit that I care about. (i.e. CASA)
– A hobby or passion I enjoy. (i.e. creating my Star-Lord outfit)
Both of these were important. I don’t think I would have had as much fun if I couldn’t passionately communicate CASA’s mission or if I didn’t care about what they do. Similarly, if my project wasn’t something I generally looked forward to working on, I would have burned out. When picking an organization to support, choose you are become emotionally invested in.
2. Momentum happens. Once I started blogging, I began receiving feedback from friends, family, and strangers. People started to follow the project. As people realized what I was doing and recognized the time, effort, emotion, and money I was investing in the process, they began to donate. These donations spurred me to continue blogging and the cycle repeated itself. Blog, feedback, donations, blog. Once I realized that people are invested in what I was doing, emotionally or financially, there was no way to stop. At least, no way to stop without feeling incredibly guilty about letting everyone down. Once you commit, you have to see the project through.
3. Convey your passion. This is why people donate. Sure, your donors feel good about supporting a good cause, but that’s not why they do it. There are countless worthy causes, organizations, and campaigns out there that need money. They donate to support you. You have to convey your passion for the organization, the hard work you’re putting in, and then show them the results. That point deserves its own bullet…
4. Show your donors the results. I received a ton of feedback from individuals who had already donated. They enjoyed seeing my updates, my training, and pictures from the day of the run. A donor is someone with whom you have developed a relationship. They are invested in you and your project. You owe them feedback. They love seeing the results and you will love showing them.
5. You can apply anything to this method of fundraising. The link between my “hobby” and the organization I was supporting was fairly self-explanatory. CASA created the Super Hero run and I merely picked the costume I wanted to create. However, there’s no reason you couldn’t create your own campaign using whatever hobby you enjoy and any organization that needs help. There are numerous platforms online for you to create a fundraising page. Pick a project people can follow and an organization that you love…and get started!
Projects like these enrich your community, enrich you, and enrich those who follow your progress. Fundraising doesn’t have to be tedious. You can do good in the world and enjoy the process as much as the payoff.