Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Becoming More Than Just Mom and #Autism Advocate: Fundraising Tips

Hello, again!

This is another post that was originally written for a site titled Character Boost, which I recently discovered that this site is no longer in operation. I decided to make this post available for my readers in a post linked to the original post. I will post the second part of this post as soon as I possibly can. Please enjoy the original guest post as it was submitted to Character Boost a little over six years ago. Thank you for your understanding and continued support! ~Lorrie

Those of you who follow our family autism blog will know that, besides my being Nathan's Mom and Advocate, I am very involved in my son's school and in our local community. I started out by just volunteering in each of my son's classrooms and in the elementary school office. Three years ago, I became a Substitute Teacher in my boys' elementary school where I enjoy working with children. I have had the privilege of being able to "pay it forward" in the special education department at my son's elementary school. Our family has been fortunate enough to have had an awesome team of individuals that have used their knowledge to help our son use his coping skills to navigate his always unpredictable journey on the Autism Spectrum.

My loving husband, our very supportive extended family, and having the faith to rely on my precious Lord, are what has given me the strength to get through the difficult times before and since Nathan's diagnosis five years ago. Within a few weeks of Nathan's diagnosis, I started our Family Autism Team "Nathan's Voice" and we walked in support of our son, Nathan, in the 2008 Oklahoma Walk Now for Autism Speaks held in Oklahoma City. As the team captain, I had organized two large indoor sales to benefit autism, one for each of the next two years, as our big annual team fundraiser for the annual walk. I hadn't realized how taking on this responsibility would affect my family. It is very important to remember these tips when organizing team fundraisers:

  • Pick a fundraiser that is realistic and one that is not too complicated. It is better to start with something small and then decide to add more features, after having it become a huge success and recruiting more volunteers.
  • Find a location for your fundraiser, possibly an indoor venue so that you don't have to worry about the weather and you will most likely have more volunteers. If a local church is willing to allow you to have your fundraiser indoors, you should list them as a sponsor on your advertising.
  • Select a tentative date and the times for your fundraiser. It is good to have another date available, in the event of bad weather or other scheduling issues. Be sure to check with each of your volunteers, suppliers, and sponsors whom you would like present at your fundraiser.
  • Make a detailed schedule so that each of your volunteers will know when they are expected to work during the fundraiser. Remember to send each of them a friendly reminder, thanking him/her for the help each of them will be providing during your fundraiser!
  • If you will be using price tags, and want a certain format used, you may want to create your own custom template in Excel and share it with your volunteers via email. I have found that you can insert a small logo, personalizing them to advertise your organization. 
  • Put something together as a personal "Thank You" to present to each of your volunteers after your fundraiser is complete. Possibly, a small token of your appreciation or along the lines of what your organization represents or provides to the community.

While you are busy organizing your fundraiser, it is important to keep your family's needs in mind. We hope that you have enjoyed this post, and we look forward to following it up with tips on keeping everything in your household running smoothly.

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