Make a (Digital) Difference with these Fundraising Ideas
Yeah, fundraising has never been easy — and 2020 definitely hasn’t made it any easier. But as each surgery can cost as little as $240, every fundraiser you carry out has the potential to change many lives around the world. Here are a few virtual fundraisers to consider that will not only rally your club but make more smiles possible!
Instagram “Raffle”. This worked well for a club in the southern region of the U.S.: “Raffle” off a gift card or a swag item via Instagram! Above, you can see the club’s example.
Virtual Walk or Run. Setting up a remote 5K is a great way to go the extra mile for children born with cleft conditions. And while we know this won’t be the same as running a race together on the big day, this is a great way to rally your community around a great cause without having to bring together a large crowd. All you have to do is pick a day (see if there’s an awareness day or holiday that can make your run even more meaningful!) and sign up your supporters. Of course, runners can log their kilometers at any point during that day and wherever they feel most comfortable. Consider asking your supporters for a donation to Operation Smile in exchange for a race T-shirt, and reach out to local businesses to see if they might be interested in sponsoring the 5K. As a bonus step, we encourage you to ask your participants to use the free app Charity Miles as they run, so Operation Smile can score additional donations.
For a great example of a successful virtual walk/run, we look to the club at Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Club leader Nina Dao said their Walk for Smiles fundraiser almost rallied enough for four surgeries! We asked Nina what made Walk for Smiles so successful, and she shared this awesome tip sheet for virtual events:
– Make templates and flyers your members can use (We made a tracker our members could log their donors)
– Reach out to athletic teams/school PTAs to participate
– Update your Smile Fund page with announcements
– Send a thank you email to all supporters
– Collect pictures of members doing their runs
– We did not do this but make it a contest for your members! We have a point system so if they participate, they will earn points that are needed by the end of the year.
– Have fun! This is our biggest fundraiser ever for a small club like ours — all clubs can do it too!
Amazon Smile. Add a little love to your Amazon cart when you make a purchase through Amazon Smile! All you have to do is shop through smile.amazon.com and choose Operation Smile as your charity; when you make eligible purchases, Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of eligible purchases to Operation Smile! And with the holidays around the corner, your Amazon boxes could really add up to make a big difference!
Instagram Live Zumba class. Our students in Panama have had great success with this idea! And it’s a flexible idea, too — any kind of class can work well under this model, maybe even trivia! Simply team up with an instructor (is there anyone at your school or in your community who can help?), see if you can charge viewers a donation to Operation Smile (consider using a Smile Fund!), and livestream the class via Instagram Live or any platform you prefer.
Try a Venmo challenge. These fundraisers are especially effective for our university students: What you do is create an Instagram story graphic with a couple circles representing small-dollar amounts, like $1, $3, $5. As people commit to a dollar amount, you repost the graphic with their handle pasted over the amount they donated. Our College Leadership Council recently held a Venmo challenge — you can download their graphics and check out their efforts here!
Team up with an influencer or local business. Do you know someone who has a significant audience on Twitch who might be willing to hold a charity night for Operation Smile? Or do you know someone with a big following on Instagram who might be willing to tell her followers about our cause? Maybe there’s a local business who might be willing to put out a donation jar on their counter? Look around your community and explore ways you can partner up to make a difference.
Try a cashola night. From chains to local favorites, restaurants will donate a certain amount of money depending on how many people you get to come out and support Operation Smile! U.S. spots such as Chipotle and Five Guys make it a particularly easy and efficient experience. Given the times we’re in, be sure to see if these restaurants will still honor the cashola night if your supporters order carryout.
And once you’ve held your wonderful fundraiser, make sure you reach out to Student Programs’ content producer Bethany Bogacki — she can share highlights on Student Programs’ social media and global monthly newsletter!