My birthday has always been my favorite holiday! It is the one day out of the year that presents a reason for the people that I love to get together with me and have just have a good ole’ time. I want my son to have that same excitement about his birthday. I want him to understand that giving is a form of joy and something to be excited about, as well. Helping others feels as good, if not better, than celebrating ourselves and the things we love. So, for each of his 3 birthdays, we’ve hosted an environmental fundraiser to plant trees across the world.
Although he is very young, I can still explain what it means to give, as I did when I told him about donating with Olive Gives (a platform that allows you to give monthly to non-profit organizations). Breaking it down for a 3 year old, I simply say that we’re sharing with friends, because that’s all it really is, right? Giving is an action that is so much bigger than us, and we’re grateful to have a community of friends that helps us make it possible to give back. Over these past 3 years, I’ve learned some ways to help make the fundraiser a success. Here is how we host our annual environmental fundraiser.
Tips to Easily Host an Environmental Fundraiser
1. Choose a non-profit organization to receive the donations, and set up the donation portal
Since my son’s first birthday, we have chosen to partner with organizations that focus on improving the environment by planting trees. This year we partnered with and are now officially proud ambassadors for Trees for the Future (trees.org). I love that they not only plant several trees per dollar donated, but they have a program that assists the families who plant these trees, helping them to lead better lives. Their Forest Garden Program educates and empowers people and their families in several countries in Africa to become self-sufficient business owners who plant trees, mend the soil, and plant food that feeds them and that they can sell as part of their business.
- Select a non-profit organization. What are you most passionate about? Research organizations that support that cause. It helps tremendously if the organization that you select has a secure and easy to navigate online donation platform that allows you to set up your own page to collect donations that go directly to said organization.
- Choose the dates that you want the fundraiser to start and finish. I’ve tried a different set of dates each year, but found this year to be the most helpful. I started the fundraise 1 month before Little Boo’s birthday, and ended it 1 month after his birthday. This allowed me to not overextend myself by having to promote an entire fundraiser around the time that we are celebrating his birthday. It also allows me enough time to promote the fundraiser without being brash or overbearing in a short amount of time. This is just what works for us, so just start – set up your fundraiser, and find what dates and how long will work for you. You can always extend the fundraiser!
- Set a financial goal. How much money do you want to raise for your selected organization? We set a goal of $100 x Greyson’s age each year. We surpassed that the first year, fell really short the second year, and got half way there this year. It was fun to have a goal! Even when the goal wasn’t met, we still gathered together to make a difference. That’s what matters the most.
2. Tell your friends, family, and colleagues about the fundraiser
In order to raise money for the cause that you so deeply care about, you have to tell folks about it! I like to create an image that helps people understand and relate to the cause I want them to help me support.
I use my computer and professional software (Adobe) or canva.com to add the wording to some of these images. There are several smartphone apps that you can also use to create an image with text overlay, such as Adobe Spark, Canva, and even Instagram and Snapchat can make that an easy task. For some photos, I let the caption do the talking, and I didn’t include any text on the actual image. Get creative or let the photo speak for itself, that all is up to you!
3. Share the fundraiser regularly!
This part always gets me, because I don’t want to get on folks’ nerves. It is really important to continue to share your fundraiser, why it’s important, and how to donate to it. If you think about it, big businesses do this everyday. You’ll see a brand’s commercial 3-4 times during your favorite show, a billboard for that brand on your way to the store, and an end cap full of their products while you’re in the store shopping. That exposure is what encourages people to buy it! The point of the story: the more often you expose your friends to the fundraiser, the more likely they are to remember it, and the more likely they’ll remember to donate to it and share it, as well! Think about it as advertising for the betterment of the Earth, since you’ll be raising money to help the environment!
- Give regular updates on how many days are left, how much has been raised, your goal amount, and similar information
- Post different facts about the organization that the money will be going to
- Share photos provided by the organization that you are donating to – they usually have stock photos that help tell the story of the great work that their organization does to help those and the environment in need
- Inform your friends of what a small donation amount could help achieve. Yep, like those commercials that say, “Your donation of $10 could help XYZ.”
- For those who aren’t social media savvy, share the fundraiser by meeting them where they are. Email the fundraiser link to family members who only trust email communication. Word of mouth still is a viable way to communicate about your fundraiser, as well. Collect cash from family and friends who would rather donate that way. Don’t think any means of communicating and telling the story of your fundraiser is too small. You never know where the person that will want to help you by giving to your fundraise will be.
4. Ask people to help you by sharing the fundraiser
This is another lesson in advertising. When you share your fundraiser with your friends, you reach your friends. When your friends share the fundraiser with their friends, the number of people who will see and possibly donate to your fundraiser grows exponentially. Text message and direct message your friends and family to ask them to share the fundraiser. Tell them about it the during a normal conversation. Take any chance to bring it up and ask for support, even if that support is simply sharing. That childhood saying still applies – sharing is caring!
5. Thank everyone for sharing & donating!
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Thank you so much to everyone who donated to Little Boo’s 3rd birthday tree planting fundraiser through @treesforthefuture! You helped us raise $161, and nearly 10 trees can be planted for each dollar. Even better – through their Forest Garden Program, the families who plant the trees are making better lives for themselves. We can’t wait to do this again next year! 💚♻️🌳 I’ll be sharing eco-friendly tips and ways that you, too, can host a birthday fundraiser on the @oldworldnew website this upcoming week, so be sure to visit the site to read them 💚
This year, Little Boo was able to record a video to thank everyone who donated to his tree fundraiser. It was extremely cute, if I do say so myself as his mama! You can thank friends for donating in several different ways:
- Give a personal shout out on your profile when someone donates money to the fundraiser. Make it fun and create a cute image thanking them specifically.
- Send a direct/text message thanking people when they donate
- Make a video thanking each one of them, or save each name and make a video thanking donors all at once, once the fundraiser is over.
What cause are you excited to support via a fundraiser? Have you worked with an organization that helps you easily host an environmental fundraiser before? Let us know in the comments below – shout them out and help each other find ways to host a fun & effective environmental fundraiser!
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