Braille Monitor                                                     December 2007

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The words "In the Spotlight" appear at the top of this article, and a spotlight is shining on the words "Affiliate Action."


Fundraising Suggestions

Local chapters and state affiliates of the National Federation of the Blind must raise funds in order to support and carry out the programs essential to our mission. They can choose any of dozens of fundraising projects to meet their needs. As protection for chapters and affiliates, the NFB has an organizational policy against contracting with professional fundraisers until planners have conferred with the national president; however, almost any other project you can imagine may well be a successful fundraiser for you. A reasonable definition of a good fundraiser is something the members get excited about and are motivated to work on.
Recently representatives from several states who enjoy fundraising got together and compiled a list of some of the fundraisers they knew one or more chapters have carried out. With imagination and energy any chapter can do several of these projects a year and raise thousands of dollars.

Drawings:
For handmade items: quilts, afghans, sweaters, scarves; appliances; donated merchandise from stores; baskets of gifts; or money (50/50 pot divided between winner and organization, or specific amount).

Sales:
Sales of specially designed items such as T-shirts, canvas bags, hats, etc.
Bake sale, garage sale, candy sale, craft sale; sell NFB jewelry, NFB art calendars; coupon books, used books; donations of products sold from restaurants/stores, or percentage of sale donated (e.g., coffee sales in restaurant on White Cane Safety Day or book sales in book stores on January 4, Louis Braille’s birthday). Other product sales (e.g., evergreen wreaths available from Frank Likar before Christmas, stuffed Christmas stockings, or ice cream at an ice cream social).

Ticket Sales:
To dances; barbecues; luncheons; banquets; spaghetti, chili, Italian, etc. dinners; concerts; gospel extravaganzas; talent/variety shows; etc.

Memorial Gifts:
Invite people to make memorial gifts to the chapter or affiliate when members or members’ loved ones die.

Entry Fees, Business Sponsors, Pledges:
Walk-a-thon, bowl-a-thon, dance-a-thon, bike-a-thon.
Collect Change at Meetings

Staff Booth/Table at Fairs, Festivals, Conventions, Shopping Malls, Etc.:
Sell items such as food, beverages, helium balloons, senior books; collect donations while you distribute free literature and write names in Braille. Booths may have both free items and items for sale.

Auctions:
Traditional auctions, silent auctions, Chinese auctions, art auctions, or auctions combined with a meal or concert.

Sell Advertising:
In state convention agendas or other special events.

Grants:
Apply for general grants or grants for specific purposes such as scholarships, NFB-NEWSLINE®, equipment, helping to send new people to convention, providing Braille Is Beautiful kits to schools, Scout troops, etc.

Write Something to Sell:
Cook books, activity books, etc.

Promos:
Some businesses offer special opportunities to nonprofit organizations. We know of Barnes & Noble, Wal-Mart, and Outback Steak House. Contact store managers for more information.

Items Group Can Make for Sale:
Candy wreaths, Hershey’s Kiss roses, wooden crafts, greeting cards, etc. Use your imagination.

Member Pledges at State Conventions:
To state treasury, Imagination Fund, SUN, PAC, Jernigan Fund, or tenBroek Fund.

Car Wash

Chapters and state affiliates should plan to share income with the national treasury. We all benefit from the activities that are coordinated at our national headquarters, and we need to participate in supporting them financially. Consider the Braille Monitor and Future Reflections, NFB-NEWSLINE®, the Independence Market, the International Braille and Technology Center, the Department of Governmental Affairs, advice on discrimination cases, the Records Management Center, the Kernel Books, to say nothing of the new National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute. These and other activities benefit every blind person in the country, and they could not happen without the kind of national headquarters we have.

As a chapter or a committee within a chapter gains experience with the kinds of fundraisers mentioned in this list, the group may wish to take on even bigger projects. The national president can help you make contact with groups that are already doing large and complex fundraising events. Not every chapter will want to or need to organize big events. Fundraising–from the little projects to the huge ones–can be challenging, stimulating, strengthening to individuals and chapters, and very rewarding. Of course we need the money, but the benefits of fundraising beyond the income are every bit as important and exciting as the money itself.

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