That is basically the question that Reverend Michael Eden, of the Church of St. Peter & St. Mary in Stowmarket, England, asked his congregation. Eden took a £900 donation (just under $1,800) and distributed it in £10 notes to ninety of his parishioners with the request that they do something with it to increase the donation within six months.
As reported in the Telegraph, "Vicar puts his faith in a parable and harvests the profits." Yes, the investment paid off, with a total return of about £5,000. (The point of the fundraiser was to increase the repair fund for their 14th century church building).
Here are some of the ways that they increased the donation:
- One parishioner bought ingredients to make cakes, scones, and jams. She kept re-investing the profits into more baked goods until her total raised was £410.
- Five parishioners pooled their money to organize a barn dance.
- One woman bought materials to knit scarves and tea cozies that she sold at a profit.
- Another took in ironing.
- One cooked breakfasts to sell at the church.
- A group of children bought candy that they re-sold at a party.
- The Reverend himself made pickled onions that brought in £35.
You do not need to be religious, however, to recognize that there are some great fundraising ideas and practical lessons to be learned from this small news item. Personally, I am fascinated and inspired by it.
If you gave each of your board members and volunteers a $20 bill and asked them to use it to raise money, what would happen? What other $20 ideas can you come up with that would at least double the investment? I have some ideas of my own, but I want to hear from you first.
Send your $20 ideas to me at ken at goldstein.net - I'll compile them and post them here at a later date.
Tags: nonprofit, fundraising, volunteers, parable