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Master Calendar 2000:
April Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas

by Deane Brengle


Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for the future month.

If your group has a fundraising activity that is centered on a holiday or season please tell us about it at brengled@fundsraiser.com


April 1st - April Fools Day
April 9th - 15th - National Volunteer Week 2000
April 15th - Tax Day
April 16th - Palm Sunday
April 20th - Passover
April 21st - Good Friday
April 22 - Earth Day
April 23rd - Easter Sunday


April Fools Day

In English speaking countries on April 1, men, women and children play practical jokes on each another. The victims are called April fools.

The observance of April Fools Day originated in France after the adoption of a reformed calendar by Charles IX in 1564. France was the first nation to adopt this calendar.

Up to then, the New Year celebration began on March 21 and ended on April 1. When New Year's Day was changed to Jan. 1, some people still celebrated it on April 1. The people became known as "April fools."

For those of you choosing to hold an event tied to April Fools Day there are a lot of benefits:

  • April Fools Day isn't trademarked so you can use the name without danger of being sued or paying a royalty.
  • It has national recognition by all groups of people
  • The press (newspaper, radio and television) covers the event in some form every year.
  • April Fools Day is a light hearted affair that lends itself to good time fundraising events.

Types of events suitable for April Fools Day

  • The Phantom Ball

    April Fools, there is no Phantom Ball. It's a non event fundraiser.

    The details of a generic non event are:

    • The concept is to ask people to contribute what they would have spent anyway on a ticket to a charity event, but instead stay home and enjoy an evening to themselves. The idea originally gained wide acceptance in areas where upscale donors were being deluged with charity event invitations. Now days it works in all areas and with all levels of donors.

    • Some nonprofits push the 100% tax benefit to the donor as a major benefit. This is achieved because the nonprofit isn't providing dinner or prizes or anything else. Great profit potential for the nonprofit - very little overhead.

    • The non event can cause confusion among ticket buyers. If they call with questions, use this opportunity to start a relationship with a new potential donor. Think of it as a chance to get your foot in the door. Don't look to create confusion, spell out the details of the non event in the invitation, but make sure to include a phone number for questions.

    • As an incentive for people to buy a ticket, have a drawing from all the ticket buyers and award a prize. Announce the drawing and the prize in the invitation.

    • Ideas for themes for the non event:
      • Non Fishing Tournament - include a fishing lure in the invitation.
      • Non Tea Party - include a tea bag in the invitation
      • Non Film Fest - when the donor purchases a ticket he receives a gift certificate to a local video store for a free movie rental.
      • Bake-less Bake Sale - don't bake anything, just send a check.

  • "Goat Riddance"

    The Shawnee, Oklahoma Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club raised $2,875 with this April Fools' Day fund-raiser in 1998.

    The Boys & Girls Club advisory council members and volunteers entertained the town with the "Gotcha Goat" fund-raiser. Two goats were brought to businesses across town. The business owners then had to pay a $50 "goat riddance" fee before volunteers took the goat away.

    The lucky business people had their picture taken with the animals and received a certificate of appreciation from the club. Each victim also got to decide who would receive a visit from the goats next.

  • April Fools Day Parade & Celebration

    It's party time. Make a day of it. If the holiday falls in the middle of the week, you may want to hold the party either the Saturday before or after. If you hold it before, call it "Make Ready for April Fools Day Party", and if you hold it after, call it "Procrastinator's April Fools Day Party".

    Hold a contest, pay to enter of course, to see who can dress the part of the fool the best. Then have a grand parade of all the contestants, judges and attendees, with the winner leading the parade. Have a party afterwards, pay to enter again. It can be a fun time and a fund raiser too.

  • Run/Walk Events and Golf Tournaments

    If your community's calendar is crowded at other times of the year with these events, spring can be an opportunity for your group to secure an open spot on the calendar. I would be willing to bet not many communities use this holiday for these events yet.

Resources

These online resources will help you with your April Fools Day event :

More on holding a nonevent and a sample invitation (look for "don't come")
http://www.home.gil.com.au/~pnash/funds/

Have fun with the food. Here are some gross but fun recipes


National Volunteer Week 2000

National Volunteer Week began in 1974, when President Richard Nixon signed an executive order establishing the Week as an annual celebration of volunteerism. Every President since has signed a Proclamation promoting the Week. Additionally, governors, mayors and other elected officials make public statements and sign proclamations in support of National Volunteer Week. Sponsored by the Points of Light Foundation and the national network of Volunteer Centers, National Volunteer Week is a time to recognize and celebrate the efforts of volunteers at the local, state and national levels.

Celebrate Volunteers!" is the theme for the 27th annual National Volunteer Week, April 9-15, 2000.

For those of you choosing to hold an event tied to Tax Day there are a lot of benefits:

  • National Volunteer Week 2000 can be used without danger of being sued or paying a royalty.
  • It has national recognition by all groups of people
  • The press (newspaper, radio and television) covers the event in some form every year.

Types of events suitable for National Volunteer Week 2000

  • Finding Volunteers

    Use this national event to motivate your nonprofit to enlist the help of an army of local volunteers to participate in a project for your nonprofit.

    Your nonprofit can also use the prestige of this national event to motivate local corporations, labor unions, schools, churches and fraternal organizations to participate in volunteering with your nonprofit.

    National Volunteer Week is covered by the media every year. Nonprofits, volunteers and their organizations will all benefit from the publicity. It will be a motivating factor in getting organizations and volunteers to participate.

    This is how you get your foot in the door at local corporations, labor unions, schools, churches and fraternal organizations. If you play your cards right, you can leverage these contacts into long term opportunities for your nonprofit. Donations of cash, labor, volunteers, materials, and supplies are yours for the asking if you can develop the relationship.

  • Recognizing Volunteers

    Use this week to have an event or special function to recognize your volunteers or special volunteers within your nonprofit. Nothing will renew the vigor of your volunteers more than a pat on the back and a sincere thank you from your leadership, and community leaders if possible, and the recognition it brings from their peers and community.

National Volunteer Week 2000 Resources

The web site, http://www.pointsoflight.org/nvw2000/nvw_index.html, has materials and information to help celebrate the first National Volunteer Week of the new century -- whether it is a special event to recognize current volunteers or special service projects to encourage new volunteers to join your efforts and make a difference in your community.

You can download the online media and promotional kit. It includes the following materials:

Backgrounder
Publicity tips
Key messages
Sample press release
Sample media advisory
Sample op ed
Sample letter to the editor
Logo slicks (color and black and white)
Ad slicks for print Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
Scripts for radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
Sample speech
Volunteer statistics and trends
Quotes relevant to volunteering
How to get your government involved (with sampleletter and proclamation)
Recognition certificate
Feedback form


Tax Day

The last day when tax forms are supposed to be mailed in the United States.

For those of you choosing to hold an event tied to Tax Day there are a lot of benefits:

  • Tax Day isn't trademarked so you can use the name without danger of being sued or paying a royalty.
  • It has national recognition by all groups of people
  • The press (newspaper, radio and television) covers the event in some form every year.

Types of events suitable for Tax Day

  • Tax Day Party

    Make your party theme, Welcome to the Poor House. Have guests dress down to match the theme. A good way to have a more relaxed party while still raising funds.


Palm Sunday

A yearly Christian holiday, the Sunday before Easter, observed by Christians in commemoration of Jesus's entry into Jerusalem, when palm fronds were strewn before him.

Although there are possibilities for religious institutions to incorporate fundraising into this day, I list it because in some communities it may not be a good day to plan a fundraiser because of prior commitments by some or most of their members.

Passover

A yearly Jewish religious holiday, an Annual feast of the Jews in memory of the sparing of the Hebrews in Egypt, when God Killed the first-born children of the Egyptians.

As with the other religious holidays this month, Passover is a day that most fundraisers shy away from. It does have some opportunities for limited fundraising though.

For those of you choosing to hold an event tied to Passover there are benefits:

  • Passover isn't trademarked so you can use the name without danger of being sued or paying a royalty.
  • It has national recognition by all groups of people
  • The press (newspaper, radio and television) covers the event in some form every year.

Types of events suitable for Passover

  • Sales of Items

    Sales of candy, cookbooks, kosher food items and traditional items used to celebrate the holiday (seder plates, kiddush cups, Elijah's cups and Miriam's cups) can all be successfully used to raise money.

Resources

These online resources will help you with :

Artistic Judaic Promotions- artistic seder plates, kiddush cups, Elijah's cups and Miriam's cups (beautiful but pricey) they have an affiliate program for fundraising also
http://ajp.com/

Imprints Plus, Inc.- Passover Candy sales brochure for fundraising
http://www.imprints-plus.com/passover.html

General Publishing and Binding, Inc.- Passover Cookbook for fundraising
http://www.fundraising-cookbooks.com/buy.htm

Kosher Supermarket Inc.- A Kosher Internet Supermarket with a fundraising program
http://www.koshersupermarket.com/fundraiser.htm


Good Friday

A yearly Christian holiday, the anniversary of Christ's crucifixion, falls on the Friday before Easter.

Although there are possibilities for religious institutions to incorporate fundraising into this day, I list it because in some communities it may not be a good day to plan a fundraiser because of prior commitments by some or most of their members.

Earth Day

A day of environmental awareness, education, action and expression. Celebrated world wide since 1970. Most nonprofits use Earth Day to celebrate past achievements in ecological areas and to promote public awareness on future issues which are important to our environmental health.

If your nonprofit has any connection to environmental issues, Earth Day is a natural media springboard to community awareness for your group.

Other nonprofits can benefit from this holiday by partnering with an environmental group to achieve the same results.

For those of you choosing to hold an event tied to there are a lot of benefits:

  • Earth Day isn't trademarked so you can use the name without danger of being sued or paying a royalty.
  • It has national recognition by all groups of people
  • The press (newspaper, radio and television) covers the event in some form every year.

Types of events suitable for Earth Day

  • The List

    The types of events suitable for Earth Day are numerous. The resources listed below spell them out in detail better than I could ever do here.

    1. Scavenger Hunt
    2. Environmental Maze
    3. Plant Trees
    4. Contests
    5. Concerts
    6. Food Festival
    7. Parade
    8. Clean-Up
    9. Household Hazardous Waste Collection
    10. Ecothon
    11. Walk-A-Thon
    12. Recycling or Energy Fair
    13. Create a community garden
Resources

These online resources will help you with your Earth Day celebration:

Earth Day 2000 Online
http://earthday.envirolink.org/

The Earth Day Groceries Project, 2000
http://www.earthdaybags.org/

Louisiana Earth Day Events Calendar
http://www.deq.state.la.us/misc/events/earthday.stm

THE 2000 GREAT AMERICAN CLEANUP
http://www.deq.state.la.us/assistance/litter/gacu.htm


Easter Sunday

A Christian religious yearly holiday for celebrating Christ's rising from the dead. Falls on a Sunday between March 21 and April 26 every year.

As with the other religious holidays this month, Easter is a day that most fundraisers shy away from. It does have some opportunities for limited fundraising though.

For those of you choosing to hold an event tied to Easter there are benefits:

  • Easter isn't trademarked so you can use the name without danger of being sued or paying a royalty.
  • It has national recognition by all groups of people
  • The press (newspaper, radio and television) covers the event in some form every year.

Types of events suitable for Easter

  • Easter Breakfast or Brunch

    This isn't for the little kids (although they are welcome too) but for the adults and young adults. Should be planned for either before or after church (or maybe both) to take advantage of the holiday atmosphere. When people are all dressed up it gives them a good reason to go out and eat. Advertise in area church bulletins if you can.

  • Easter Egg Hunt

    Make sure and advertise your Easter Egg Hunt as a charity fundraising event so people won't think it's free. Make sure and give them lots for their money like a huge egg hunt, photos with the Easter Bunny, egg toss, candy, prizes, games, face painting, costumed characters, music and entertainment. Can be combined with the Easter Breakfast or Brunch with the Easter Bunny below.

  • Easter Breakfast or Brunch with the Easter Bunny

    An event designed for the kids and their parents. Make sure you have plenty of food kids love to eat. Can be combined with the Easter Egg Hunt above.

  • Selling Chocolate Easter Bunnys, Plants and Flowers

    Selling chocolate Easter bunnys, Easter Lilies and flowers can be a good fundraiser if you have a ready audience. Selling by order form before Easter with advance payment will cut down on surplus items after the sale. Selling to a captive audience like your church members will increase your sales.

Resources

These online resources will help you with your Easter event :

Oriental Trading Company for table decorations, seating cards, games and baskets.
http://www.oriental.com/

Gardners Candies for Easter candy
http://www.gardnerscandies.com/fund.html

Seroogy's Chocolates for Easter candy
http://www.seroogyschocolates.com/



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About the Author:

Deane Brengle writes for several free online publications that cover fundraising for small nonprofit groups. You can visit these publications and read more about fundraising in articles by him and other experts in the field at The Fund$Raiser Cyberzine, The Fundraising for Small Groups Newsletter, and Fundraising Booklets.



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