fundraisingOne of my least favorite activities as a full time youth worker was the dreaded “fundraiser.” Over the years we did all of them. We sold calendars, pizzas, Christmas trees, light bulbs, plants, coupon books, just to name a few.  We did youth auctions, car washes, bake sales, chili feeds, spaghetti dinner, paper drives, leaf raking and more.

One fundraiser I will never forget took place when I was a youth.  We had a company donate upholstery samples that we sewed together, and stuffed with fleece scraps donated by another company. Once the pillow sets were together we sold them.  I am sure that to this day, some 30 years later, if you search the closets of Hope Lutheran Church, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin you can find bags of fleece scraps. Yea there is a lot more to this story then this post will allow!

Through all these events I watched people pay more then they wanted for product they didn’t need so they could support our youth ministry.  So several years ago we started a new non-fundraiser, fundraiser.  Let me explain, since people are willing to buy just about anything so your organization can get its small profit why not cut out the product.

For years now we have been offering members, families, and friends an opportunity to invest in our youth! We have held a “Youth Stock Fund Sale.”  Here are a few simple steps to a successful  stock sale.

  • PROSPECTUS  Offer your stock for sale with a Stock Fund Prospectus complete with an investment envelope. The prospectus should lists the goal of the sale, the cost of the shares, (we always sold them for $1/share) the distribution of funds, and the desired outcome of the event or trip.
  • STOCK CERTIFICATES For each investor print a formal and personalized stock certificate.  For an added touch have them hand delivered by those who are recipients of the funds.
  • COMMUNICATE Stay in contact with the shareholders and make them aware of how their dollars are being used.  Print 3 sets of mailing labels for all stock holders.  Have the youth write a thank you card prior to the trip or event. A second note from the youth should be sent to all stockholders from the event sharing what they are experiencing.  The third label can be used so send a formal invitation to your investors to attend the annual stockholders meeting.
  • STOCKHOLDER MEETING Following your trip or event invite the stockholders to a stockholder meeting.  This meeting should include a meal or a desert reception along with a report on the fund.   We expect all participants who received funding from the event to attend this meeting acting as hosts.  We ask them to sit among the stockholders for personal conversation.
  • FUND PRESENTATION REPORT At the stockholders meeting present an investors report with photos, and personal testimony from those who attended the trip or event. Create a video or slide show to highlight how their investment was used.
  • INVITE THEM TO RE-INVEST If the stock fund is managed well, and it should be, most people are happy to re-invest in the fund.  Offer this to stockholders through a new prospectus for the next year.

So pack up your light bulbs, and candy bars and make your next “free” car wash a “free” car wash and accept NO donations.

QUESTIONS: What was the best fundraiser you ever participated with? What are you raising funds for right now?  Let the conversation begin. CLICK HERE