Virtual Fundraising Ideas

Benefit from online events held at any time

Many branches turned to virtual fundraising during the pandemic, when getting together in person was considered unsafe. Those concerns have gone, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon online fundraising. It can still be very effective. You may get more people to participate virtually than for an in-person event if you promote your activity well. You may also find you have more money for your cause, because your expenses are lower. Following are examples of successful virtual projects. 

Let’s Do Lunch 

Cooperate with a local caterer to sell a three-course, take-away meal and add an amount to the cost to donate to your scholarship fund or Tech Trek. Have members order the luncheon and send checks in advance. Arrange meal pick-up the day of your luncheon and join together to eat lunch over Zoom. There can be a program or just a fun get-together.

A Tisket, A Tasket, A Green & Yellow Basket

Ask volunteers to contribute to one large basket with a quarantine theme. Include items like cocoa, best-selling books, craft kits, etc. Make the basket look cheery, and include a list of everything that’s in it. Post photos on your website and conduct a virtual auction.

A small donation from many people can yield a large contribution to your cause. AAUW Sun City Center branch did a pre-quarantine auction. Tickets were priced at one for $5, three for $10, and eight for $20. The branch raised enough in February 2020 from the project to cover a $1,000 scholarship at the local community college, and plan to continue the event in the future. AAUW Sun City Center branch – Diane Waronka

Honoring Local Women

Each year, the AAUW Weston Supporting Foundation selects a local woman to honor at a Sunday brunch. In the past, the branch raised money by finding sponsors at $1,000, $750, $500, and $250 levels, and the brunches gave visibility to the branch, AAUW FL, and AAUW through a slide show. You could try something similar with a virtual program honoring a local woman, including slides showing information about sponsors and other slides describing AAUW.    AAUW Weston branch – Kamala Anandam 

 Equal Pay Day Panel

This event was planned pre-quarantine by the Greater Naples branch, but the same idea could work if organized virtually. In addition to raising money, outreach to the Greater Naples community raised the profile of the branch and AAUW generally. Panel members included an employment discrimination lawyer who talked about gaps in existing legislation; a professor who talked about the causes and effects of the gender pay gap; and the co-chair of the branch public policy committee, who talked about what AAUW is doing to close the gap. You can also highlight the passage of the $15 minimum wage, supported by AAUW Florida. 

Another idea is to have business leaders speak about what businesses can do toward solving the gender pay gap.                                                                                                                              AAUW Greater Naples branch –  Laura Candris 

Portable Magic*

Use conferencing software to hear from an author about her book. Set a registration fee to cover the costs and add an extra amount to contribute to Tech Trek or AAUW Greatest Needs Fund. You can focus on local authors, but with Zoom, you can invite authors from across the country. Pick a new author or a well-loved writer who might live in another time zone. They will be happy for your company! 

* “Books are uniquely portable magic.” Stephen King

 Picture Perfect

Members take a photo of any item they wish to donate. The first photo is posted on the branch Facebook page, and members bid for 24 hours or until an amount is reached. The winner writes a check and the donor delivers the item. Non-members can be included as you don’t deliver the item until the check is received. Another photo can be posted and the process repeated.

Gold Rush Party

AAUW Naples invites The Gold Lady to assess and make offers to buy platinum, gold, and silver from members and their friends. The Gold Lady – Gayla Boss – pays 75 percent of her offer to the member and 25 percent to the branch. She makes an additional donation to the branch amounting to 10 percent of her offers. Her offered prices were higher than those from most jewelry stores, and some members donated the entire amount they received to the branch. 

The branch’s Gold Rush Party in 2020 netted almost $3,500 – more than in 2019. It is an easy event to organize and does not require much space, plus only light refreshments are necessary. Set up a schedule to limit the number of attendees at any time, or have them wait outside the venue until the number is within safe limits. Plan a members-and-friends-only event, as it would be dangerous to publicly advertise the presence of precious metals and cash.

The Gold Lady is willing to travel two hours, perhaps more, to other branches if they have a reasonable number of participants. Contact her at (972) 768-4497 or           AAUW Greater Naples branch – Laura Candris