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Fundraising Idea of the Month:
Real World Lessons

by Doug Nash

If you believe the media, it seems that in our modern times nobody does anything without first thinking “what’s in it for me?” Especially the younger generation that too often is tagged as “Generation Me”. I don’t agree with this rather depressing view of our current society. An interesting point in this though is as fundraisers, what we can offer those young and talented people to donate their time and effort. There is much we can offer however it is up to us to communicate to them what it is that we have to offer and they have to gain.

Skills and experience is the key and these offerings are worth more than money. What we can offer, the younger generation can take with them for the rest of their lives, it can give them a kick-start to their professional lives and make them better people. By becoming fundraisers they can learn real life lessons, gain invaluable real world experiences that will help them get that first job and gain confidence that can make a real difference in their lives.

Kids can learn interpersonal skills that we older folk take for granted and do so in situations that doesn’t have to be stressful. Some of the skills they can learn are:

  • the importance of teamwork,
  • being on time,
  • developing a firm handshake,
  • starting a conversation,
  • looking someone in the eye when speaking,
  • and speaking clearly.

I believe that the sooner kids learn these skills of life the better off they will be. With these skills learnt it gives them more confidence and this gift can not and should not be underrated.

Fundraising experience teaches kids how to handle rejection (or how to hear no and not feel rejected) and deal with difficult people. To watch how their elders handle things when the plan doesn’t go to plan can be invaluable. Many teachers have told me that kids learn a massive amount by watching their elders.

Students or kids can learn not only the importance of planning but how to create and execute a plan. Until the kids witness the creation of plan from start to finish how can we expect them to do so? It is my experience that some aspects of planning is seen by kids as some mystical kind of voodoo.

A real world skill that we can offer is how to handle money. This to me is one of the most important skills of all that kids need to learn. This is a true story that happened to me not two days ago. I was purchasing an item that cost just over two hundred dollars and handed to the sales person a mixture of twenty, ten and five dollar notes. The sales person looks at me in an apologetic manner and asks “could you please count them out for me as I never really got the hang of counting?” How could this person, that I judge to be in their late teens or early twenties have such a job and not be able to count out dollar bills?

These are just some of the intangible benefits or rewards we can offer, here is something we can offer that is tangible and of vast importance. I am not talking about certificates, while they can play a role, sometimes they are handed out like confetti and have no lasting value. I am talking about information that can be included in a resume. Lines that prospective employees will read and take note of or can be used to start conversations in an interview. Can we really underestimate the value of this? We can’t expect our teenagers to understand the importance of a resume and it is up to us to help them in this regard.

There is so much more that could be covered in this article however I believe this to be a good beginning. Next time you are thinking of recruiting fundraisers think carefully on what you can offer and do not hesitate to use these advantages, you may be very pleasantly surprised at the response you get.

One last point, when involving kids in fundraising, fun and safety should be paramount. Make sure that you have put in enough time to secure the safety of all your fundraisers and create an environment that is fun to be part of.


    About the Author: Doug Nash lives in Logan City in Queensland, Australia. He has graciously consented to share a fundraising idea with us every month. Although many of the ideas aren't new, each of them has a unique flair that comes from being developed and refined half a world away from ours. Visit his web site at for more fundraising ideas.

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