Fundraising Your Way to Global Finals
You have been holding your team’s parents back from giving ideas and solving your DI Challenge all year long. Guess what – NOW they can get involved, make decisions, and do something for the team! You have 4 – 6 weeks to raise $10,000 - $15,000; it sounds daunting, but with some perseverance (one of the skills learned by your team this year) you can make it happen.
If your team hasn’t finished competition yet, please remember that every team has the opportunity make it to Global Finals, so it is time to start thinking about how you are going to raise the money. Have a conversation about the possibility with your team parents before the Affiliate Tournament. Once you learn that your team has earned the honor to represent your Affiliate at Global Finals (I get chills remembering that feeling!), set up a meeting with the team’s parents to discuss fundraising strategies.
One word of advice dear Team Manager: You are not the only person responsible for raising the money. The team and the parents are all equally responsible for raising the money for the team to attend. If parents and other family members want to accompany their students, this will increase the cost significantly. You may want to consider fundraising just for the team members and the official Team Manager(s) and having the additional people be responsible for their own expenses.
So, how are you going to raise the money? Here are some ideas:
Spread the word: Every team member, parent, grandparent, team supporter
Facebook example – My child’s team competed in the Fine Arts Challenge for Destination Imagination and earned the honor to represent California at Global Finals May 21-24! We need to raise $10,000 and need your help! (Attach some pictures of the team, their solution, and them wearing their medals. If you have a fundraising page, be sure to link to it.)
- LinkedIn example – Destination Imagination prepares students for their future careers by teaching them the creative process, project management, teamwork, and critical thinking. Our 7th grade team from Homestead Middle School competed in the Technical Challenge. They imagined, designed and built a device that detects things unseen by the human eye and need to raise $10,000 to compete in the international academic tournament, Global Finals. Every penny donated can help them reach their goal! (Insert fundraiser specifics and be sure to include a link to your fundraising page if you have one.)
Have the team speak to the school board, city council, chamber of commerce, and service clubs. The team can talk about the Challenge, how they decided to solve it (bring a set piece or costume), and ask for support. It is much harder to say “no” to the students. Parents can set up the meetings, but it is powerful for the audience to hear directly from the team.
- Create a fundraising letter, explaining the team’s accomplishment and asking for financial support. Have the students sign the letter and then deliver it directly to local businesses (especially those businesses that are frequented by the team members and their families). When the team goes to a company, they should ask to speak to the manager, tell him/her what the team needs, and listen to the response. If they manager can’t make the decision right now, get contact information and leave the fundraising letter. Follow-up in a few days. If the business can give them donation right then, have a thank you form letter that you can complete right there!
Parent Groups, Service and Community Organizations – Your school’s PTA, PTO or HSA (Parent Teacher Association/Organization, Home & School Association) often donate funds to groups of students who have advanced to higher-level competitions or tournaments and who will be proudly representing the school. These groups may even host a special fundraiser with you and dedicate the funds raised to sponsoring your team’s trip to Global Finals.
Sell products/services or host events:
- Spaghetti dinner
- Ice cream social
- Plants – have a local garden center donate or give you a discount and have plant sales at school or door-to-door
- Bake sales (or unbake sales – where everyone gives the cost of the ingredients and what their baked goods would have raised)
- Window washing – this works but I would focus on doing inside windows – no scary ladders!
- Yard clean-up
- Host a yard or garage sale
- Organize a walk-a-thon or bike-a-thon
- Host a car wash
- Sell candy
Host a DI ThinkFun game night
Ask local restaurants to have a fundraising night for your team
My personal favorite and the most successful – FLOCKING!
- Purchase two dozen plastic pink flamingos – ensure they have legs to stand up in the grass
- Create costumes for the flamingos. Parents, this is your opportunity to bring your creative flair – everyone can decorate; there is no interference here!
- Make a big sign that will stand up in the yard with the Flamingos that says “You Have Been Flocked by the __________ school Destination Imagination team” On the back, write, please call Sally at xxx-xxxx to have them removed by our professional flamingo removers
- Start with people you know (teachers, friends, school board members, etc.) and place the flock in their yards.
- You can either leave the flock until they call you (which means you will need to do this over several days/weeks) or you can knock on the door and let them know you are official flamingo removers and for a $25 donation you will remove them and for a $35 donation you will send them to someone else’s yard. You can also offer insurance of $50 so the flock will never come back. Explain why you are raising the money. Obviously, you will take whatever donation they will give (and often it is far more than what you are asking) and if they don’t want to play the game just pack up and go.
- This is actually a lot of fun and I never had anyone complain. In fact, most people came out and took pictures of the flock and the team. We even had someone request that we flock a bride, so we created the officiant, bride, and groom and set-up the flock as if it were a wedding!
Think of everything your team has learned this year. Raising the money to attend Global Finals is another great skill that will serve them throughout their lives. You can do this!
For more information on promoting your team's fundraising efforts, please visit our Fundraising page.