Fundraising – Outside the Box – Diabetes Education & Camping Association

Fundraising – Outside the Box

Lisa Gier, Executive Director
Idaho Diabetes Youth Programs / Camp Hodia

What do fundraising and mismatched socks have in common? 

…you are right! 

That was a hodgepodge word mash up with no real answer. Regardless of if you answered nothing, everything, or something in the middle, you are right. The same goes for how we approach fundraising.

The diabetes camp industry is filled with the best brains and hearts on earth. But just like the lack of connection between fundraising and mismatched socks, when we get focused on all there is to do at work, we may get stuck in process rather than embracing the connection between our heart and our brain. Engaging our heart when we need to write a thank you note or our brain when we create a spreadsheet. Today, I’m going to encourage you to stretch your abilities and connect your superpowers to raise money for your organization!

Have you done a mashup of your brain and heart recently? Let’s give it a try, I promise it’s going to be fun!

Let’s start by activating our noggins. Take a moment and think of a low – medium income generating fundraising strategy that your camp uses.

What came to mind? Was it your annual donation letter mailing, a golf tournament, Giving Tuesday, something else?

Alright switching gears, let’s ask our heart about something entirely unrelated. Now take 30 seconds and think of a few things you like to do. No parameters, it doesn’t have to be things at camp, just jot down anything that brings you joy. 

Please do remove things that are not child friendly.

Okay awesome, what is on your list? Traveling, exercising, opening presents, eating gooey donuts, getting a bear hug from someone you love, going to the opera, a day at the fair, or something else?

This is where the mashup gets really fun. Take what you put as your fundraising strategy and visualize spilling the fun things you like to do all over it. Coat it completely! 

For instance, if you said annual donor solicitation letter and bearhug, how about writing this year’s appeal in a bear hug card? Actually cut the card in the shape of a bear, with big ‘huggy’ arms that you need to open to be able to read the note inside. Inside of the hug, write a note how your donor means the world to you, they make your mission possible, here is a bear hug from camp, and invite them to make your mission possible again this year via the enclosed envelope. 

If you said annual golf tournament and opera, what if you add some camp silly factor to this year’s tournament. At check-in where you sell mulligans and licorice ropes, what if you also sell momentary opera interference tokens? For $X the golfer redeems a token to summon one of the designated opera singers to have them stand beside the person that they want to be distracted and sing an opera style song right next to them while they attempt their next turn. (The opera singers are campers and camp staff– not real opera people, unless you have an opera diabetes camp and, in that case, rock on!)

What does your mashup look like? Even if it is not polished, what is starting to come together? How funky is it? How strange is it? How exciting would it be? It’s okay to get excited about the possibilities! 

The key is to find low risk opportunities and try to start scooping in the fun. If you are bored with an event or fundraising strategy, it is likely your donors are bored too.  

Oh, and if by chance anyone is now contemplating a sock puppet show as the main attraction at the next gala, or something else to give our original mashup momentum, bonus points for you! 

I hope that adding some fun into this fundraising gives your event more income AND is more fun for you. Diabetes camp is so fun, it’s okay for our fundraising to be too!