Kids Helping Kids:

A Guide to Family Friendly Virtual Fundraisers

A Guide to Family Friendly Virtual Fundraisers

Lemonade stands, Facebook Fundraisers, birthday party donations, even class projects are just a few of the ways we have seen children and young adults give back to the families we serve at Horizons. The young philanthropists who have created these innovative and successful fundraisers to help children in need continually inspire us! 

Before the pandemic, Horizons was fortunate to regularly be on the receiving end of acts of generosity from young people and their parents looking for unique ways to give backThree high school students raised funds for Horizons through Facebook and in-person event for a project in their community service class. The students were able raise over $1,500 for Horizons and shed a light on family homelessness in their local community, even earning a mention in their local newspaper. Eight year-old Avery found her own way to support Horizons by starting a book drive to help fill the shelves in our Playspaces. At over 210 books, all of the books on the list conveyed themes of courage and perseverance to help Horizons’ kids cope with the instability of homelessness. These were just a few of the ways young people were actively engaging to further Horizons’ work.  

 

Avery, advocating on behalf of Horizons.

 

“It’s amazing to see young people taking matters into their own hands and making a difference in the lives of others,” said Tara Spalding, Chief Development and Marketing Officer at Horizons. “We’re very proud of the young people in Horizons’ extended community and what they have accomplished for our families.” 

Fundraising with COVID safety in mind 

With COVID limitations in place, many of the ways that young people may have raised funds in the past are on hold.  Inperson gatherings or drives that involve transfer of items can be risky. But for those who are committed, there are some great examples of how to meet community needs in smart and innovative ways. Here are a few examples:  

Most recently, a local Girl Scout troop in central Massachusetts sold yard signs that thanked essential workers through the COVID-19 crisis. All of their selling and delivery happened with social distancing in place. Selling 100 signs, the troop donated all of their proceeds to support Horizons during the pandemic. 

One family decided to host a read-a-thon! Kids solicited “sponsors” who agreed to donate a certain amount per book read in a defined time period. The child asked for book recommendations and gave a brief virtual book report to raise extra money. Books were tracked and photos of the event were posted and shared through Facebook.   

high-school aged photographer hosted a Family Picture Day where she offered her services free of charge, letting “clients” know that all the money she raised would be donated.  She invited families, for a donation, to meet her outside in their yard for a photo shoot. She scheduled timeslots throughout the day so families had an appointed meeting time, gave the resulting digital photos to the families and invited each family to make their donation to a webpage she setup. 

Instead of hosting an in-person fundraiser, one family hosted a virtual one. They hosted a cooking class from their kitchen, sending out the list of materials needed in advance. Participants bought a “ticket” through the website and got to join the Zoom session. The mom and child led the cooking activity and encouraged their viewers to join them, all from the convenience of home This idea also works for other lesson or activities like painting or crafting. Just build out your website and get the virtual party started. All of these are great ways to give back, can be safely implemented and make family togetherness more productive than ever! 

Raising Funds and Awareness 

With more physical time together as a family, parents are looking for ways to teach their children while enjoying the time together. Instilling the importance of helping those in need is high on the list of many families who are grateful for what the pandemic hasn’t taken away. With the entire country feeling the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, many parents are taking the time to show their children how important it is to help those less fortunate.  

“It is very important for children to learn that while everyone deserves to have equal opportunities and equal advantages, it is simply not the case,” said Meghan Schafer, Horizons’ Southeast Playspace Program Director. “Teaching children about the importance of giving back is about building empathy and showing how their actions can impact others in a positive way.” 

For young children, Meghan highlighted broaching the topic on a child’s level, through tangible examples. “I talk to young children about giving back in terms of being ‘helpers,’” said Meghan. Talking to a child about what they have helps give a reason for gratitude. Eventually that leads to a sense of responsibility and in turn, a desire to give back. 

As an organization, Horizons is so impressed by our young supporters and their shared passion for our mission and welcomes more community involvement! Each time we see a birthday party where donations are requested over gifts, or virtual fundraiser identifies Horizons as the beneficiary, not only do our families benefit, but we’re reminded of the good in the world 

This piece was written by Rachel San Giacomo, a regular contributor to Horizons’ blog. 

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