School’s out for summer! Without the commitment of scheduled classes, this is an opportune time to teach children, teenagers and young adults heading to college about compassion—and the importance of getting involved. In the first of a three-part series on fundraising ideas for youth and college-bound young adults, we present several reasons why kids can and should give back, stand up for something they believe in and raise funds for important causes. Next week, we’ll focus on teenagers.
The lemonade stand run by a child eager to raise money is a ubiquitous summer sight, but kids keen on squeezing more out of the donation jar can kick it up a big notch with crowdfunding. When supervised by a parent, the experience can be rich and rewarding on several levels. It can teach children about leadership and the power of kindness as they spearhead the fight for an important cause and come up with a campaign strategy. Meanwhile, it instills a newfound appreciation for the latest technology and utilizing their smart phones and computers for much worthier endeavors than texting and posting the latest selfie.
Here are a few great fundraising ideas for kids:
1. Raise money for disaster relief efforts
The news is everywhere nowadays, including on kids’ Twitter, Instagram and other social media feeds. Kids are more in tune with what’s happening in the world than children of previous generations. When disaster hits, both at home and abroad, children often ask the same question as adults: “What can I do to help?” The answer is, “Plenty.” Even small contributions make a difference. The key is for kids to realize that every effort is appreciated, and it’s the small steps along the way that eventually combine to create the biggest impact.
One fundraising idea for kids is to mix offline endeavors—such as making crafts—with online crowdfunding. Example: When the tsunami hit in Japan in 2011, Nina Miguel of Rochester, N.Y., made and sold colorful beaded bracelets to her friends and parents’ friends. She used the power of social media to get the word out and boost sales, with all proceeds going toward the cause. Today, kids can incorporate the crowdfunding model into the same strategy, encouraging people to donate their desired amount to the online fundraiser in exchange for a bracelet or other handmade craft.
Kids can also simply set up crowdfunding campaigns for important organizations that are helping with relief efforts in areas such as Nepal, which is still recovering from the recent earthquake. Nepal Through ActionAid, International Medical Corps and the American Red Cross are three worthy organizations, but there are countless others.
2. Help save an endangered species
Most kids love animals and usually have a favorite. Many species around the world are nearing extinction or threatened, and kids with a big heart will always step up when a cute, furry or mighty creature is involved.
Kids can start crowdfunding campaigns with donations earmarked to nonprofits such as National Geographic Society. Offline efforts can also help fuel the online campaign, with ideas such as selling peel-off animal tattoos at sporting events and performances, having animal drawing competitions among schools and asking the first-, second- and third-place schools to donate a certain amount to the cause, while other participants also contribute a set amount.
3. Fund a musical group performance or team competition
It means a lot for a child to participate in an important sports competition or a rewarding musical performance in another state or country. Oftentimes, however, the there isn’t enough money to cover the cost of travel and accommodations. This is a perfect opportunity for kids to play a part in fundraising for a cause close to their hearts through crowdfunding. When the big event comes, it will feel that much more special to them because they had a part in making it happen.
Kids often feel helpless when they see someone they know and love suffering, especially when it is another child. A great way for them to lend a hand is to start an online fundraising campaign to support a community member. Rallying the community to get behind the cause is an added benefit, since many in the area, including businesses, may know the recipient. One great way to significantly boost donations is for kids to enlist the help of a local business to match funds made by donors on the site. Throwing a picnic at the end of the campaign to honor the recipient with the funds raised is a nice way to finish off the campaign, thank supporters and have fun.
For a little inspiration, here are two wonderful crowdfunding campaigns kids have put together on YouCaring.
Three compassionate girls set up a YouCaring fundraiser to benefit Tupelo Children’s Mansion, a home for orphaned or disadvantaged kids in Tupelo, Miss. The girls wish to raise enough money through matching donations to provide at least $3,000 worth of books for children.
Children in the Charlotte, N.C., metro area are aiming to provide hundreds of stuffed animals and books to kids in two area hospitals: Levine Children’s Hospital and Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital. Usborne Books & More is providing a 50 percent match for every donation. A small act of kindness goes a long way!
Feeling inspired and ready to launch your own free YouCaring campaign? Create your fundraiser today.