Livvy and I learned several things about fundraising as we did our project this past year, and we thought that some of you who are doing a fundraising project might like to see what we feel like we learned. We owe a special THANK YOU to our wonderful Cousin, Jessica because she is our “Great Idea Girl” and to Sarah Edmundson for answering our post when we were feeling pretty discouraged back when we started and everyone was saying they “Loved what we were doing” but no one was really supporting what we were doing. These are in no particular order.
1. Sit down and brainstorm the different ways you can earn money or inspire donations. (for us, we came up with making cakes for people that donated, making youtube videos to explain the project, making flyers and speaking at churches and schools. We also wrote letters to people that we thought might be able to help us).
2. Involve your friends. (This is a good idea because they have great ideas, and it makes it way more fun. Plus, they can talk to people that you don’t know, but that they know).
3. Break your project into smaller pieces. This was how we came up with the Number 1 Team idea. We realized that if we could get a team of 100 people to each raise just 1% of our project, which was $350 – and that would just be asking 35 friends to raise $10 each or 10 friends to raise $35 each, we would have our hospital in no time at all. This is not exactly how it worked out because some of the children that helped us were super young so their 1% was maybe $150 or $170 but that was huge for them and they did really creative things! This actually worked out super well for us!
4. Talk to EVERYONE about what you are trying to do. (This one is pretty hard because sometimes you get tired of always talking about your project, but we did find that many people told us they found it inspiring.)
5. PRAY. This one was huge for us. In fact, this was pretty much the whole point of why we did what we did. We wanted a project that was so big, we couldn’t do it without God’s help. We really believe He did help us!
6. Ask other people for help to do things you might not know how to do. For example, I had never made a wedding cake before; so I asked my mom to see if Chef Dodd would give me helpful hints. What we found out was a lot of times people gave you even more help than you asked for, and that went a long way!
7. Do things even when they are hard! This was another really big one for us! We did NOT like to speak in front of people when we started this project! But we knew that people needed to hear about it, so we went outside our comfort zone and did it anyway. This really worked! We were not too excited to speak in front of 750 people when we went to the Humanitarian Awards, so we practiced a lot! This helped a lot because we had our parents listen to us and give us advice about the speech. It was because of this speech that we got the really huge anonymous donation that finished our project!
8. Celebrate when something good happens! We had a party when we hit 15% and that made it super fun! We would have dance parties in the kitchen when a really hard cake was done! We would ask our friends to be in our videos to celebrate what was going on. This is super important, because sometimes you can get discouraged otherwise, and when you keep having a party, even if it is just eating ice cream to celebrate, it helps a lot.
9. Always be super grateful to everyone that helps you. Sometimes the help they give you is not exactly what you needed, but even if it isn’t, be grateful that they even wanted to help! For example, sometimes people would donate random stuff to our project that had nothing to do with our project, but we would take it and just say, “Thank You” because we saw that they were trying to do their best. Or another example is when my best friend would help decorate cupcakes even though we both wanted to do something else. I was always super grateful, because he could have been doing a bunch of other stuff instead of helping me!
10. Ignore the haters. There weren’t many, but some people would tell us they didn’t think it was going to happen. Most of the time people were super encouraging, but if you find someone that is a hater, just ignore them and keep going. You know why you are doing what you are doing and don’t let anyone discourage you. Even if you don’t make your goal, at least you tried and that is what matters!
Another thing is that we had to learn to not be perfectionists. One time when we were making a wedding cake for a teacher, we didn’t put in the dowel supports so it started to cave in. This was so discouraging because we had been working on the cake for the whole day and had worked on it for about 5 hours the day before. My mom went to get more cake mix because we thought we were going to have to cut the bottom layer off the cake and start over. We had prayed over that cake about 4 times, and it seemed so discouraging. While my mom was gone to get the strawberry cake mix, she called her friend that used to make cakes for a living. Her friend told us how to save the cake and fix it! When my mom got back we did every step her friend had told us to do, and it did work! When we were putting the top two layers back onto the bottom layer though, one of us stuck their thumb into the middle layer so the cake now had a belly-button! We couldn’t fix it because we had already put the lace stenciling on the cake. By that time we were so done we just didn’t want to start over, plus my mom was determined that we could not spend more money to make it perfect so we had to just own up to the mistake and we sent a picture of it to the teacher we were making the cake for. She was super nice and she put the flowers right in that spot so no one knew about the belly-button but we learned a lot from that cake!