Without doubt the pandemic had a big impact on how Rotary Clubs could fundraise.  With no or few in-person events, we had to switch to online, get creative and pivot our tried-and-true fundraisers.
All of which has left some clubs asking "What next"?  Is there an easier and better way to raise the funds we need to support community organizations?  Would more frequent, smaller fundraisers be easier to handle as volunteers experience Ribfest or Lobsterfest fatigue?
Armed with those questions, we checked around to see what clubs are doing to get creative and still reach those fundraising goals.   Here are just three ideas for you to consider.
99 Missions
This was an event lead by Rotary Burlington North, with net proceeds split between the club and the Burlington Salvation Army Community and Family Services. The event took place during the provincial lock-down last spring and provided players with ideas to stay active, explore their community and have a bit if fun. 
Players had to register online  - as a team or solo player – and complete as many missions as possible and earn points in the game.  As an incentive, prizes were awarded at the end.  Players were also encouraged to collect pledges.
 All the missions were posted and tracked on an app called 'Goose Chase'; they included simple tasks like taking a a silly-selfie, baking cookies for a neighbour, and collecting canned goods  and delivering them to the Salvation Army food bank.   A total of 99 missions were developed for the game.
The event ran for five weeks and raised about $15,000. Rotary Burlington North plans to run the event again this year, with a focus on ideas to build mental health coming out of the pandemic.  
Wine Survivor
At the Wiarton Rotary Club, they have been hosting Wine Survivor every two months on Facebook Lives.
With teams of five, tickets are bought and drawn for bottles of wine.  Each team purchases a book of tickets, and at each draw, tickets are pulled and removed from the drum.  Even if a ticket is drawn and an individual may not win the wine, the team is still in with chance.
The wine is purchased when it is on sale to reduce the cost, and has to be purchased ahead of the draw, as the value has to be known for the raffle licence.   The club right now is selling 300 tickets and has purchased 150 bottles of wine.  Tickets for the team are sold at $150 ($30 each person).  
The purchase can be a bit nerve-wracking because all the tickets have to be sold for the event to work so the organizers suggest starting small.
To help sell the tickets, they partner up each time with a local charity, and have a spokesperson speak to the teams and when that campaign is over, come back to thank the teams for the money raised.  It’s win-win for all involved and has created quite the buzz in their small community.
They have been running the raffle every two months for a year, and each time raised around $6,500 for the selected charity.
Kits for a Cause
The Guelph-Wellington Cluster to Eradicate Human Trafficking partnered up with Kits for a Cause to raise funds and products for Elora House, a shelter for women who have been trafficked.
Think wedding registry.  The charity goes through a wish list with Kits for a Cause and comes up with a list of items they would like donated.  In partnership with The Unity Values Foundation, an online wish list is created.
Through contacts and social media, the campaign is promoted and donors can go online and select what they want to purchase for the organization.   Items can range in value from $2.50-$50 and several can be purchased.  Unity Values issues a tax receipt to the donor immediately and the organizer from your club can send a thank-you email.
Once the campaign is over, you have the choice of the items being shipped directly to the charity, or organizing bringing a  team   together to pack the kits.   
This was easy to set up and administrate and in our first campaign, we raised over $2,000 in a short period of time.   If you wanted, you could run a campaign every two months, picking six charities to support, and without too much effort on your part, collect over $12,000 in product and donations.
Hopefully these ideas have got you thinking.   The key with fundraising is that it also has to be fun, and partnering with the beneficiaries makes sense too.

Written by Anne Day