In the second of a three-part summer series on fundraising ideas for youth and college students, we focus on how crowdfunding can be a teenager’s best friend when it comes to drumming up money for important endeavors and humanitarian causes. Our first installment covered fundraising ideas for kids. We’ll wrap up the series with a piece on fundraising ideas for college. In the meantime, it’s teen time!
Fund What Matters
Crowdfunding can help alleviate financial concerns that apply to all age groups and fund important humanitarian causes. For teens in particular, it can provide access to life-changing experiences and resources, and educate them about the importance of being compassionate. From camp to health expenses to social initiatives, adolescents can use crowdfunding to finance their dreams and help others in need. And with this younger generation’s Internet savvy and wide social network, they can access a generation of givers who empathize with their cause.
- According to Pew Research, 24 percent of teens are online “almost constantly,” making them particularly comfortable with the Internet.
- This generation is generous: 60 percent of Millennials give around $481 to nonprofits each year, according to statistics from Nonprofit Tech For Good.
- The same set of statistics also addressed where our values lie: Out of a list of causes that included global health, disaster relief and education, among others, 18 percent of Americans cited issues related to youth and families as the most important, meaning that the public is likely sympathetic to issues related to teens.
Through an online fundraiser, they can collect money that allows them to pursue their personal goals or give back to their community. It can help them pay for enriching experiences or allow them to relieve the suffering of others. Not only do teens develop marketing and communications skills by running their own crowdfunding campaigns, but they also learn how significant small acts of generosity can be to others. Here are some fundraiser ideas to get you started.
Six awesome fundraising ideas for teens:
- Pay for camp
Camp can be a hugely formative experience for teens, particularly because it lets them get away from screens and technology for a while and experience the outdoors, and it provides a relaxed environment in which to socialize. Teens can crowdfund to help pay for camp or to send someone else who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it. Disabled Adventure Outfitters provides an example of the latter form of crowdfunding. This organization used YouCaring to help send young people with bleeding disorders to river rafting and kayaking camps. Their multiday river activities provided these teens with an opportunity to spend time with peers who face similar health challenges, while also enjoying the wilderness and getting active. They financed these trips for people with special needs who wouldn’t be able to afford it on their own.
- Raise awareness of mental health issues
According to the National Comorbidity Survey’s Adolescent Supplement, approximately 11 percent of young people have a depressive disorder by the time they turn 18. While this statistic is alarming, teens can respond by working to raise awareness in their community and planning events that help remove the stigma surrounding depression. Lafayette High School in Missouri held a 5k race named Run for brAvery in memory of a student named Avery who committed suicide shortly after being diagnosed with severe depression. The proceeds of their run and YouCaring campaign went to the CHADS Coalition, an organization that focuses on suicide prevention with children and teens. Their work provides an example of a community coming together in the wake of tragedy to help others.
- Finance creative endeavors
How many future Van Goghs and O’Keeffes lurk among us, unaware of their incredible potential? For young people who lack the resources or inspiration to pursue art, camps, art classes and special showings can provide the spark that ignites a life-long passion. Crowdfunding campaigns can either benefit an organization that caters to low-income teens, or they can directly benefit an individual who has an idea for a project. If a teen needs funding for a short film, research for a written work, or to pay for supplies, they may consider turning to crowdfunding. Not only does it force them to articulate their creative vision, thus providing their project with a clearer direction, but it also allows them to share their ideas with their community and access the funds necessary to realize their idea. And there are many ways for teens to give back through art, including making a mural in their community, using recycled materials, or selling their art for an important cause.
4. Challenge a health crisis head-on
Whether a teenager in your life is suffering from an affliction, wants to help a friend who is, or wants to promote a health cause close to his or her heart, crowdfunding through YouCaring can assist in covering expenses. One family turned to YouCaring in the midst of their teenage daughter’s health crisis in order to raise money for her treatment. Meghan Ross of Allen, Texas has faced a variety of afflictions, including digestive issues and brain damage from a concussion that had huge long-term health consequences. Because her concussion resulted in tunnel vision that made reading, riding in cars, and other simple activities excruciatingly painful, she needed specialized care just to resume everyday life. The costs of consultations and treatments began to pile up, putting her parents into debt. But so far they have raised over $17,000, and through therapy and a unique set of prism glasses, she has begun to improve her vision and continues her battle with other health issues.
- Teams and athletes: Just do it
An athletic team that wishes to compete at a high level may be forced to travel or pay fees in order to attend competitions. If these expenses prevent some members from attending, an organization or individual can turn to crowdfunding to raise money. Justes Donald Nance, a high school student from Calabasas who excels at the long jump, provides an example. After he finished in first place at a competition in Chicago, he earned himself a spot to compete in the IAAF World Youth Championships in track and field, but was also presented with a new challenge. Training and participating is expensive, and his mother was worried about covering expenses. So together they created a YouCaring campaign, Making Team USA in Track & Field, to raise money. And with a little help, Justes has arrived in Columbia and is currently preparing for the competition!
- Help combat youth homelessness
According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 1.3 million homeless students were identified by public schools last year. The widespread nature of this issue is unacceptable. Making sure that children and teens have a safe place to sleep at night is one of our most basic social responsibilities, and only as a community can we effectively combat this crisis. Teens may consider crowdfunding to benefit an individual in their community, a local homeless shelter, or to keep a specific family in housing. While a teen or family may not want to be publicly identified online, you can create a fundraiser to benefit local homeless youth without revealing a specific person’s name.
Crowdfunding can provide teens with access to the money they need, and it can also provide them with an opportunity to focus on the well-being of others.
Are you a teenager or know one who is ready to create a rewarding, meaningful campaign? Start your free fundraiser.