Soon kids everywhere will be sporting new wardrobes, sharpening new pencils, choosing their favorite folders and heading back to write essays about what they did this summer.
Not long after, we parents will receive the inevitable fundraising package from school where we can have the luxury of buying overpriced wrapping paper and cardboard-like frozen pizzas, while being asked to bug neighbors (who also have kids with the same fundraisers), extended family members, and colleagues at work to also take part in the never-ending quest of raising funds for schools.
But there are better, more creative ways, that are also less offensive to the taste buds and pocketbook.
For example, one interesting and more fun alternative to holding the same old fundraisers I’ve recently heard about is to raise funds through bingo events. My friend Shannon Cherry actually did her own version of bingo at her live event. And that got me to thinking about how you can use your skills to do something community-building and fun to raise funds for your favorite group
In my best-selling book, 21 Ways to Make Money Speaking, Way 6 is Speak to Help a Charity. When school begins this year, you can get in touch with the fundraising chairperson – almost always a volunteer eager for ideas and help – and offer your services as a speaker to hold a fundraising event where you either donate your services in full, or, for you to make some money too, split the ticket sales 50/50 with the school. The book has a few more strategies in that Way for you to bring in some additional cash for the school and for you as well.
Then all you need to do is come up with a speech topic that is both relevant to your expertise and relevant to the parents at school (remember – school is about the kids, but fundraisers have to appeal to the parents, who hold the money).
For example, in my business I teach public speaking and communication skills to celebrities, experts, and entrepreneurs. Obviously that’s not going to appeal to all the parents at any given school. But in my days before my business, while teaching public speaking classes at the college level, I also taught interpersonal communication courses and male-female communication courses. I could easily pull together a fun 60-minute program on how parents can better communicate in their marriages and with their children using interactive exercises and more.
Remember, your goal here is to get paid to speak (so you can add “professional speaker” to your repertoire and bring in some cash) and to help others by serving from the stage at the same time, in this case specifically in raising funds for a school. But you can also have a display set up where you sell your books and offer your business cards, brochures and other marketing to those who attend who might be interested in working with you later, therefore turning the fundraising speaking event into a lead-generation tool for you as well.
So what do you think? Will you give this a try this at school year instead of being forced to buy a bunch of sub-par stuff – and do your part to serve from the stage? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.