Sunday, 7 December 2014

Fundraising Ideas: Penny Sale, But Not A Penny In Sight

November/December could also be known as the Charity Bazaar/Fundraising time of the year as schools, churches, clubs, associations, charities and others host Bazaars, Fetes, Shopping Nights, Marketplaces or social get togethers where money is raised thru any number of ways to aid and support given recipient/s.

Maybe it's more to do with 'end of the year' feeling that permeates the air, rather than Christmas, but there's tonnes of Goodwill to All in most places. Shame it doesn't last all year round.

These events are usually organised months in advance, as opposed to disaster relief type events that are typically thrown together with short notice in direct response to a disaster.

We've all supported markets, bazaars (same thing really), trivia nights, casino nights, wine tastings, auctions and dinners all in the name of fundraising. There's walk-a-thins, jog-a-thons, read-a-thons and anything else a-thon. A few friends have done bike marathons, or extreme sports challenges all in the name of fundraising - nothing is sacred these days as fundraising marketers seek to find novel ways to raise much needed funds from an exhausted and often over extended community.

But, up until last month, I'd never been to a Penny Sale!

Have you?

I was assured it was a lot of fun, and you didn't have to spend more money than you wanted to as the entire thing is done very quietly. There were no vendors, only prizes to be won. How curious, I thought.

I was also told it's a 'very American style of fundraising' ........ fair enough. Another cultural 'thing' to experience and learn from. A few American friends didn't know what a Tombola was. Swings and round-a-bouts, eh!

Penny Sale -

The complete opposite of a raffle.

In a raffle (like a lottery), you buy ticket/s knowing you probably won't win anything but are happy to be 'in it to win it'. When you're ticket is called you squeal 'OH I never win anything!'

With a Penny Sale you have control over which prizes you can potentially win. Let me explain.

The success of a Penny Sale is in the amount of prizes on offer - you need LOTS - lots in terms of variety and lots as in quantity. Vouchers work just as good as products.

The organizing committee decides on price points of tickets, usually based on your audience attending your Penny Sale. The one I went to had prepared envelopes for €20, €30 and €50.

The sign up sheets were numbered and allocated in groups to each purchase amount and were placed in front of each box.

I bought €20 and signed my name against 368 (from amongst the numbers allocated to €20).

My €20 gave me 50 tickets each with 368 printed on them. (Organising these is the most time consuming aspect of the event, and needs to be done by someone who is very organised, with a team to help cut each numbered ticket and place them into the corresponding envelope).

Prior to the open time of the event, all the donated items were placed around the room on tables (as above) with a small black bag behind each. On the bag was a small description of the item. As you entered the room to buy your tickets you could SEE how much was on offer, which was a great motivator to maybe spend a wee bit more than you had intended.

The 3 price points is a great idea, as it allows people to choose and doesn't discriminate. Not everyonen who wants to attend a fundraiser feels they can afford to 'keep up' and so don't go (G and I have been invited to some very high profile fundraisers and don't go for this reason, we write a cheque for what we can afford and send it off to the organisers with a note of apology - gosh, how our secrets out!) as it's done quietly and no one needs to know what you've spent!

Once inside, take your time walking around the tables, dropping as few or as many of your tickets (in my case No.368) into the little black bags next to the items you WANTED a chance to win.

There was no point me putting tickets into baby/toddler items; or artwork so I didn't. But I did quite like the Coach purse, the facial/pedicure vouchers, massage vouchers, Christmas Hamper, a several pieces of jewellery.

If you really REALLY wanted something you put more tickets in to increase your chances of having your ticket pulled out and declared the winner. I dumped numerous tickets into the Coach Purse little black bag (still didn't win it)

Placing 50 tickets was actually a lot harder than you'd think! The friends I went with also found it difficult to 'spend' all their tickets so we ended up walking around the room several times, sneaking a peak into bags to see how many tickets were there, and making decisions close to the time the LAST CALL was made and throwing caution to the wind and putting several more tickets into the items we really, really wanted.

Once TIME was called, we went into another room for a coffee'n''chat, then sat down and listened to the announcements of WINNING TICKETS.

Each item was announced, and the company or person who donated it was mentioned, then the winning ticket announced - it seemed to go for ages. A few of us think there has to be a better way to do this part ..... the more items you have the longer it takes to announce winners. Still, people's reactions were fun to watch.

Without a Penny in sight, the group who hosted the event raised several thousand Euros in a few hours!

There are so many different ways to raise money.

Over the next few weeks, I'll share a few with you that I've come across, and invite you to share your ideas too.

Share your Fundraising ideas!
What cultural differences have you noticed?
Let's create a reference folder of great ideas!

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