If we played a word association game, and I said, “Girl Scouts!” a whole bunch of people would answer, “Cookies!”
The Girl Scouts run one of the most iconic fundraisers in America, but they aren’t alone amongst pint-sized fundraisers. Students, clubs, church groups, and individual kids who care about causes are some of the most determined peer-to-peer fundraisers we’ve encountered.
There’s a lot of fundraiser lessons adults can learn from kids.
1) Put The “Fun” In Fundraising
Kids who fundraise don’t approach raising money as a chore. They’re ready to have fun, step up to a challenge, and even get a little silly.
Caption: This Girl Scout and her dad went viral with their cookie song. I’ll bet she sold more than a box or two.
In exchange for donations kids will jump rope for hours, or cut their hair. They’ll do push ups or dance, if it will encourage charitable giving. Take a cue from kids, and do something wild or wacky to encourage people to give.
Caption: The #LakeDipChallenge raises money for nonprofit Her International by challenging supporters to donate and jump into a body of cold water.
2) Share Your Passion
Kids who fundraise aren’t just adorable. They are often passionate advocates for a cause.
Sometimes kids are empathetic, like Amelie, who used her Bat Mitzvah to raise funds to help bring solar energy to rural Africa.
Caption: “I have learned that nearly 620 million people in Africa live without electricity. Here are some examples of what that means: children can’t study after sunset, there’s no refrigeration for medicines and vaccines, and people drink dirty water because they don’t have the power they need to pump clean water from below ground.”
Amelie presented an excellent, passionate appeal for her Innovation: Africa campaign. First, she educates her audience on the problem, and explains what the organization is doing to solve it. She closes by sharing her own contribution, and then inviting everyone to join her: “ I am personally pledging $300 of my Bat Mitzvah money toward my goal of $2500. Will you join me?”
Sometimes, kids are personally impacted by a cause, like Tabatha, who raised money for her own special glasses.
Caption: “When I was little, the doctors said that I may never walk, talk, or see. Well, I have proven everyone wrong. I can walk and talk and now I would like to see.”
Tabatha describes her first time using the special glasses. She doesn’t hold anything back from her audience: “I was so nervous when we went to try the eSight glasses. I was afraid that they wouldn’t work. I had my fingers crossed to tightly that it hurt. When I tried the eSight glasses I could see many things. I could see everything that I had hoped to see. I looked out the window and saw people. I could read words across the room. It was so amazing that words can’t describe it.”
Share your passion like kids do by sharing your heart in your appeals, and letting people know why a cause matters to you personally. Consider dedicating special occasions to raise money for a cause you’re passionate about.
One of the things that makes Girl Scout cookies sell is the fact that you can’t get them all the time. Girl Scout cookies have a season, and when it’s over, it’s over. If you miss getting your order in, you’ll have to wait an entire year for Thin Mints.
Caption: This illustration is literally a cookie that is a Girl Scout, but don’t worry about that. Focus on how they use urgency to sell cookies.
At CauseVox, we usually find that peer-to-peer campaigns work best when they have a sense of urgency. Shorter campaigns can outperform longer ones. If people feel like they have a big window to give, they’ll put it off. Instead, encourage them to hop to it by keeping your campaign as short as possible.
4) Set Personal Goals
Fundraising campaigns have big total goals, but individuals should have their own personal goals, too.
Get more inspiration from the Girl Scouts. They set goals for how many boxes of cookies they want to sell as a troop, and as individuals. They work that number into their sales pitches, which encourages cookie buyers to buy more.
Personal goals help adult fundraisers, too. In the same way that a cookie buyer is more likely to buy more to help a scout get to her goal, donors give more when they can see the progress and understand how their donation impacts the goal.
5) Build Teams
Kids have a lot of natural opportunities to form teams– they’re already in classes, troops, grades, and sports teams. Teamwork keeps fundraisers going by building team spirit, increasing the reach of the team, encouraging friendly competition, and making fundraising social.
In Philadelphia, AIM Academy recently raised funds to provide 18 bicycles with World Bicycle Relief. Individual kids competed to raise money in coins, but each grade worked together as a team, too. They participated in “Dollar Dress Down Days,” made hummus to sell, and held a candy-counting contest.
Caption: The kids at AIM Academy raised $2,646 to provide 18 bicycles–four more than their goal!
Team fundraising is also great for adults. You can raise more together than an individual can alone, each team member can play to their strengths, and team members encourage and inspire each other to keep going.
You might not have a scout troop at the ready, but what about your department at work, or your church choir, or your block club? Even a group of friends can become a team and harness the power of “together.”
Fundraise Like A Kid
Consider approaching your peer-to-peer fundraising like a kid. Jump in with your whole heart, and look for opportunities to have fun and share your passion. Find your team, set goals, and keep your campaign short. You may not have cookies, but you can still be a great peer-to-peer fundraiser.