charity · fundraiser · Tips

Thinking of throwing a fundraiser? Do it!

About a month ago I threw a High Tea for Nepal with the help of my beautiful family.

When my friend (who experienced the Nepal earthquake with her own eyes) told me her story, I immediately felt the urge to help. I donated as much as possible, but still felt that wasn’t enough and more could be done.
So I had all these ideas, but didn’t know if they would appeal to other people…
In the end I decided I had nothing to lose and could only do good with it, whatever the outcome would be.

The result: a cozy, joyful afternoon among friends and family. But most of all, by catering for an intimate group of only 30 people we managed to raise 1100 euros for the Nepal earthquake victims in one afternoon. What did I lose? Nothing. I spent a weekend baking and planning with my family, which I love to do, and had a great Sunday afternoon.

What I try to say is: We might feel small and powerless in this big world but there is always something you can do.
If you have an idea which could help other people, you should always go through with it, there are no excuses.
Or like a Nepali saying goes:
न बिराउनु न डराउनु ।
            “Na biraunu na darau nu
Meaning: “If you do right things, you don’t have to worry.
Tips on doing your fundraiser:
1. Write down all the ideas you have and then choose the one that you REALLY like.
While doing this you should be asking yourself:
– Do I see myself preparing/putting time and effort into this?
Is this something I would like to attend myself?
– Which public do I want to attract with this? Is this idea appealing to them?
In my case I decided to ask an intimate group of people asking very close friends of mine, some family and some friends of my parents. Appropriate to all ages and tastes, a High Tea was perfect. What’s even more the case is that I LOVE HIGH TEA, so it was really fun to organise one myself.
(But if I would have chosen to do it for a group of only young people I would have probably gone with a charity concert with snacks and drinks instead, if the group only existed out of fancy working people I would have maybe done a wine tasting, etc…)
2. Get a team together.
It’s great that you have all these ideas but are you really going to do them alone? A team can evaluate your ideas, make you think about things that haven’t come into your mind with all your enthusiasm and most of all once you’ve thrown your idea in there: there’s no way back. You’ve decided you’re going to do this thing and you’ve chosen your people. To give it an example I chose my mum and my sister to help me: My mum is the one with the life experience, she knows what’s practical and realistic and what is definitely not, she also knows what she would expect of a charity event, etc.. My sister is the one who puts everything into practice: she loves baking and is extremely good and handy at it, also she’s kind of a perfectionist so if she does something she does it good. One thing they both agreed on: “It’s quite smart of you to let us invite people we know, now we feel responsible that everything goes well so we try our very best, we don’t want any failures now!” 😉
3. Decide on a price.
This is the hardest one. We asked for a minimum entrance price of 20 euros for an afternoon that consisted of unlimited high quality teas, ice teas, chai lattes and one course of mini wraps, one course of scones, one of finger sandwiches, one of bruschette, one of exotic fruits and then to end an incredibly dessert buffet with heaps of choice.
The amount of money we asked was a minimum, many people gave us more than that (ergo:1100 euros). But still my team as well as most of the guests agreed that the minimum price could have been MUCH more: let’s say 35-50. We had given them so much food that most people couldn’t even finish the sandwiches (only the 3th out of the 6th course). Also we had a lot of feedback of people that were saying that they only expected to have some cups of tea and some cake and scones for the small price of 20 euros, they weren’t expecting this huge variety and amount of food! And they are right for this huge high tea you would pay at least 40 pounds in a London High Tea room.
Next time we will either cut down the amount of food we give or raise the minimum price.
Still, it’s hard. You don’t want to ask too much either. How much would you give for this yourself? Another mistake we made is that we thought people would expect the same as if they would go on a restaurant and pay 20 euros. Believe me they don’t, because it’s charity! So if you have the time and means to do something big, do it but ask at least the price it would cost you when going out eating, if not more. (We also had the luxury of not needing to pay the ingredients, because my father sponsored us on that. So keep in mind that if you don’t want to pay for the ingredients yourself, this cost goes off your end result).
4. Be original (and stay in the charity theme).
A movie night? Okay, cool but think of nice snacks you can make to accompany it. Think of a movie that’s extraordinary or really fits the theme.. Not a fan of cooking? That’s okay too, but don’t go to the next big convenient store and buy coke and cheap chips. You are doing something for charity, so look for fairtrade snacks for example (even better if they are coming from the country you want to support), or if you are supporting a local charity project sell something that they make (if they are kids or people with some time maybe they can make something as well?), or maybe there is a local independent baker who can cater for you,etc…
It’s good that you are raising money but it’s a little bit silly to be supporting multinationals like Coca Cola when doing so, while you could do double good by going local/and or fairtrade.
Make it something people remember. You can always do an ordinary bake sale on your porch but that is less fun for you, you will raise less money and people won’t really stop and think about why they are there.
Also don’t forget to really repeat why you are doing it. Before we started eating I did a short speech together with my friend (the one that was in Nepal). I also printed out the beautiful blog post she wrote to pass around, so that people could really understand what it was like. Ofcourse for us our biggest perk was the fact that she was on our High Tea to really explain why help was needed and talk about her own experiences. If you are able to have someone come and speak about it in person, that of course is a HUGE plus. (A lot of people also just came up to her and had a short conversation about it with her, she was happy that people were interested and the ‘sponsors’ were happy too because they knew where the money was going and why they were donating.)
5. Enjoy (and then reevaluate).
Enjoy the day and what you are doing. I had an incredibly intense weekend baking and planning, but I felt happy the whole time. I was doing something I love and it was going to people who need it. It was the best feeling. And you could see it on my family too: we all had that glow.
When the day had come to an end, we toasted on our great outcome and had a finishing talk about how it all went, what could have been better, what people said, if people liked it,etc… Now, we know what to expect in the future and things we could improve still. Over all: it was a great experience, we just loved doing it and I’m sure many more will follow.

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