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How to throw a successful fundraiser for home birth midwives!
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You had your child/ren at home, or you'd like to keep this option available for future generations. Now you can make a real difference and open up your home to raise awareness and fundraise for our midwives! We recommend you throw your fundraiser for The Coalition for Illinois Midwifery since they are the group that is officially responsible for major lobbying expenses.
So you're considering having a fundraiser for our midwives! GOOD FOR YOU!

There are many options available to you, but they all follow one basic formula. You can...
  • host a house party
  • throw a picnic
  • have a spaghetti dinner, pancake breakfast or ice cream social at your church or local civic club headquarters

Whatever you choose, this is an excellent way to ask non-homebirth families and friends to help out for a very worthy cause! Our most important expense right now is keeping our lobbyist and direct lobbying. This is an expensive endeavor that requires everyone to pitch in.

The following suggestions are tried and true elements of successful fundraising as observed in such reputable groups as Girl Scouts. This guideline will help you to throw a fundraiser that is both fun and effective.

IFFM and the Coalition for Illinois Midwifery would love to assist you at any level you need. Here's what we can do to help you:
  • Provide a master copy of a personalized invitation that you can use to invite your friends and family
  • Provide bumper stickers and other fun items (for a nominal fee) that you can use as promotionalitems for door prizes.
  • Loan you a short motivational video to be played at the party
  • Send a board member or coalition leader to speak about the issues (within certain geographical limits)
  • Here are a few things to consider as the host/ess

    You know who among your friends, family and acquaintances might be best to invite. It's generally recommended to try to have 12-40 friends or family attend, but it's understandable that you might not know that many who are supportive of homebirth. Even as few as five people is great! The size of your house should also be taken into consideration. And, unless you know your friends are extra motivated, plan to invite roughly two to three times more than you would like to actually attend.

    We can provide you with a personalized master copy invitation to photocopy or a pdf to print out. We highly recommend you use ours because it makes it easier for you, and we try to include certain essential elements to make sure your fundraiser is successful.

    Fundraising parties sometimes require more followup than a regular social get-together. Be prepared to call and ask for those RSVPs.

    Finding Your House People have to find your house and find parking. Is your house easy to find? If you live in a large city, is there enough street parking? If you live in a rural area, are there any parking hazards (ditch, etc.)? If you live in the suburbs, do you share a driveway with your neighbor? Keep your situation in mind and prepare for it. Make sure your front door is well lit. If necessary, you might consider putting balloons, a sign or or some marker for people unfamiliar with your house.

    Meet and Greet It's nice to be welcomed at the door and be told where you can put your coat or umbrella. Kids are great for this job. Also, be sure your greeter tells folks where the food is.

    Door Prizes? Bumper stickers, bookmarks and other small itmes make great door prizes. It's a fun thing to do right after the donation request. Or you might want to give a small token of your appreciation to any friends who helped you organize the event. If you plan to do door prizes, be sure every person receives a numbered ticket when they arrive. Kids can make these w/construction paper and markers!

    Food and Drink Well fed people tend to be more generous (yes, that sounds crass but it's true), so food is a must.
  • Ask your closest friends to bring a dish!
  • Finger foods and other things that are easy to eat standing around are great. At our house we like "food on a stick" meat kabobs, fruit kabobs, veggie kabobs, cheese kabobs. It's amazing what you can get on a little bamboo skewer!
  • Make sure your snack table is accessible or have food trays in various spots so there's not a big traffic jam in one spot.
  • Have extra trashcans around so people don't have to hunt around to throw away their plates and cups.
  • Make sure your pets cannot eat the people food (besides, someone might have allergies).

  • Seating Remember seating should not block the flow of traffic. If you are having a very large party (more than 25 people), you might choose not to have very much seating.

    Anyplace off limits? If you want people to stay out of a certain part of your house, make it clear.

    Where's the bathroom?You might consider putting a sign on the bathroom door.

    The Big Moment
    The party, of course, revolves around you asking people to open up their wallets to help support a cause you love. It helps to have a few people (your closest friends, and perhaps your spouse) spaced evenly around the room, ready in advance to pull out their checkbooks to get the ball rolling; they can also help pass out collection envelopes (step 4 below). [Note: if you do a spaghetti dinner or something similar, you will probably charge for entry in which case much of this section might not apply.] The following steps are known to be helpful.
    1) About an hour after the party has started, the host/ess calls for everyone's attention (turn off the music if you have some playing). S/he officially welcomes everyone, reminds them why they are there and, then introduces the speaker from the organization (if someone is able to attend your party) or a short video (we recommend 10 minutes or less).

    2) The presenter gives a short talk about the cause, ending with a formal donation request. Or a video is shown.

    3) The host/ess then makes or reiterates the donation request with something like "I hope you will all join me now in supporting this very important cause. (ad libbing, etc.) We have envelopes here that will be passed around for you to hand in your donation when you are ready. Please make your checks out to Coalition for Illinois Midwifery."

    4) Collect the money. Donation envelopes are probably the most effective, discreet way to collect the donations. It is important to collect the money then and there, rather than leaving the donation request open ended. (The invitations will make it clear this is for fundraising and people will be asked to donate something.)

    5) Don't worry if this is a little awkward. Many of us have attended fundraisers for wonderful groups (Girl Scouts for example), and this is sometimes a little uncomfortable, but our midwives are worth it! So, after the donation request is made, pause, and give people time to write their checks and fill those envelopes!

    5.5) Yes, a half-step. If you want to give out a few token door prizes, right after the donation request is an excellent time as this can act as sort of an ice breaker.

    6) Winding things up. Remember to THANK EVERYONE, and then invite them to eat and drink more and enjoy the rest of the evening. Turn the music back on or put another video on, if you want.
    Door Prize Drawing
    This is a fun time to be had after the hard work of asking people for money! While you still have everyone's attention, ask them to pull out the tickets they received at the door and pick a child or two (esp. if guests bring their children) to pull numbers from the matching "tickets". It's fun to see who wins what.

    Speaking of kids
    Do you have a nice yard or basement play area that children could run around in? Unless you're mostly inviting childless friends, having a play area can really "make" a party. You can ask a friend or two to help organize a couple of kids' activities.

    ** Because this is for direct lobbying, these constributions are not tax deductable.
    They are, however, going to a very worthy cause **

    This is a very rewarding experience that can really pay off for our midwives!

    Website visits since April 6, 2005