Hello! Welcome to our Project Stella Resources Blog!
I’ve spent many years working with community members, parents, and volunteer managers that want to plan meaningful service projects for youth volunteers. The benefits of having these projects available for youth is vast.
But, most service projects for youth volunteers require something. Supplies, food, water, gas money, etc.
The overwhelming thought of “how am I going to pay for this?” stops many Service Project Coordinators from pursuing what they really want to accomplish.
New here? I also have the following blog posts to help raise kids who R.O.C.K.
Before we get started thinking about how to fund the service project you want to organize, we need to talk about something very important. My very first tip, the strategy I put a lot of effort into, is getting youth involved in the planning process – every step of the way.
This means that even as you are thinking about how you are going to get funds, donations, sponsorships – you need to ask your students or the youth you work with about their ideas.
My daughter is currently working on her Bronze Award service project as an Independent Girl Scout member and thinking of ways to get donations is really fun for her. For her project, we have discussed all four of the ways mentioned below and she has found a lot of success with the two ways that SHE is most interested in. As her mom, I still have to direct her path and keep her focused but the image next to this text provides the questions that we tackle for every step of the project.
When you are ready to start raising funds for your service project for youth volunteers, you want to think about the four major ways listed below. There are many ways to tackle each of these, but this will get you started.
ASK FOR DONATIONS
This is the most intimidating way to raise money for your service project but there are many strategies to ask for donations successfully. You can find out more in our free resource 12 Ways to Fund your Service Projects for Youth Volunteers located in our Insider’s Vault.
Before asking for donations you need to have an “elevator speech” prepared. This is a 2-3 minute blurb that gets to the point of your project. Once you know what to say then you can talk about your projects to family, friends, businesses, and social media.
- What is your project about?
- Who does your project serve?
- Does your project solve a problem?
- What do you need to complete your project?
Most youth enjoy thinking of selling something. It allows them to be creative. Everyone loves a Lemonade Stand! But you can think beyond the usual Lemonade Stand and Bake Sale to doing something that really catches people’s attention.
One of my favorite fundrasiers we did was for Relay for Life. We found a fundraising company that sold lollipops in the shape of lips. We received the lips lollipops and stuck a label on it saying, “Kiss Cancer Goodbye.” We sold out every time.
- Is there something you or the youth can make that connects with the project and can be sold?
- Do you want to use a fundraising company?
- Can you invest resources or get donations for the items you want to sell?
APPLY FOR GRANTS
There are organizations and businesses out there that want to give away money. They want to give money to people or projects that support the issues they value. Education, Hunger & Homelessness, Veterans, and Community Revitalization are just a couple of the issues that there is money for projects available. All you have to do is look!
- Visit companies’ websites and see if they have a Foundation set up or check Community Relations
- Check out Youth Service America – they post grant opportunities year round
Sponsorships are wonderful because they encourage partnerships. With a good sponsorship arrangement, you get something you need while the business, organization, or individual gets publicity and recognition. Several things to think about –
- How visible will your sponsors be?
- What are you offering the sponsors in return?
- Will you have different levels of sponsorship?
- Are there opportunities for In-Kind Sponsors who cannot donate money?
I hope that these tips give you some strategies you can use in planning your next service opportunity. The idea for the project may be great but without supplies and money to purchase those supplies, there is not much you can do.
But we want to provide you with 12 Ways to Fund your Service Project – these ways are now included in our new book – 52 Kids who R.O.C.K. Every Day: Inspiring stories of young people who Radiate Outrageous Compassion & Kindness.