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Fundraising tips and tricks

Allison, Office Manager at Habitat for Humanity Australia, is leading a team of 11 women to Vietnam to help a family in need. Read about her easy fundraising tips and tips.

I am very fortunate to be part of a team of amazing women travelling to Vietnam in April. To fundraise for the build, our team made a plan to run a few events and get the community involved. Deliberating after a team meeting, we decided to organise a movie night and live music event with a silent auction and lots of exciting prizes.

The women in my team are an extraordinary group, they have refreshing innovative fundraising ideas, and have really utilised their personal networks well, to reach their fundraising goals by a set deadline – whether it be through work friends, sporting teams or those networks of their husbands, partners and children. During these opportunities to raise funds they are opening the community’s eyes to understand the importance of safe and decent shelter and how incredible and life transforming the Habitat international volunteering journey can be for all involved.

We reached out to every local business, restaurant and hotel in our region and further away and asked for donations of fabulous auction items or raffle items for the events. It’s really been a treat to observe the buzz of the teams enthusiasm and willingness to raise funds for their Vietnam project.

This one of the biggest fundraising lessons: Open up to your friends and colleagues’ networks to promote your Habitat fundraising plans and create an event that your networks will want to attend. Plan the date that doesn’t clash with anything major in your area and lock in regular meetings fortnightly.

Live music or a film fundraiser will always get people interested, couple this with raffles, auction items and the cuisine of the country you are going to, and you have a must-attend event!

These events also allow your family, friends and colleagues to also be enriched by your opportunity to give back and when they can support you they will also feel like they are making a change too. Remember, that even the smallest donation can make a BIG impact!

Fundraising tips and tricks specific for the country you are volunteering in are also a great way to get your build full support. For example we reached out to Ahn Do, entertainer of Vietnamese Heritage, and he kindly contributed two signed copies of his national bestseller, The Happiest Refugee and the his documentary, Ahn Does Vietnam for us to put into our silent auction selection.

At our first fundraiser, the movie night we raised over $2500 with a the backing of great Australian movie and had almost 200 guests. We supplied some delicious cakes and refreshments, and friends,families and neighbours came out on a Monday night to support our travel to Vietnam. We had three really fabulous raffle prizes and laid them out on the arrival table for all to see and purchase tickets on entry. The first night gave us an opportunity to inform people that we were holding yet another larger event, a small music festival, only 2 weeks later.

The next event our mini music festival was a huge success. As we neared the night, we hadn’t quite reached the head count we wanted, but thankfully a few last minute guests went online and purchased tickets and brought their friends. On the night we had a total of approximately 140 – 150 guests.

We advertised on Facebook and other social media platforms weekly and then daily in the final lead up. We texted and emailed all our contacts and asked them to forward the event onto their contacts. We did mail drops in the streets around our venue and had our families and friends helping on the night, either with the food preparation or walking food around to the guests. We had a guest speaker who spoke about Habitat and the importance of shelter. We also showed a short video of a Vietnamese family already helped by Habitat, and it gave people an overview of the finer details about what it means to go on a build as a volunteer with Habitat.

We raised a total of approx $10,000 and we are so excited that a community came together around us and provided support for our team and the family we will be impacting in Vietnam. A special thank you to all the people – friends, families and businesses that supported us. We are very grateful! We look forward to updating you with all the details and a picture of the house we built on our return.

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