Think about your week. What word comes to mind? It would be wonderful if it were words like peaceful, productive, or satisfying. More likely it’s overscheduled, frustrating, or exhausting. And, whether your week is going smoothly or you’re just lurching toward the weekend, it’s likely that there’s that ever-present undercurrent, stress.
Life involves stress. It’s unavoidable. You’ve got a deadline you’re working overtime for, but the house is a mess, and somebody (you) needs to get birthday cupcakes for 28 kids. You’d love to have the time or energy to do something worthwhile, support a local charity, to give of yourself to help someone truly in need, but all you want to do is Netflix and chill.
It’s counter intuitive, but it’s precisely that—stepping outside of yourself, helping someone else, that can give you the boost you’re needing. Sound intriguing? Keep reading.
First, let’s talk about the effects of stress. Stress leads to high levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol, if high enough for long enough (how about all the time?), can have disastrous effects: weight gain, depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, and trouble sleeping. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your health. (Just one more thing to stress about.)
Luckily, your body has a built-in antidote to stress: endorphins.
We all learned about endorphins in health class, and they’ve become something of a buzzword: endorphins! They make you feel great! They’ll fix anything! They are neurotransmitters that can have an opiate-like effect on the brain, reducing our perception of pain, without becoming addictive. They can relieve symptoms of depression or anxiety. They also give us feelings of pleasure or satisfaction. Endorphins are our brain’s way of encouraging us to engage in healthy behaviors.
So how can we get more of these magical endorphins? There are many ways. Here’s just a few:
Exercising. “Runner’s high” is a real thing.
Laughing. Who doesn’t love to laugh?
Eating chocolate. If you needed a reason to eat more high-quality dark chocolate, here it is.
Meditation. Mindfulness, reflection, prayer; whatever you want to call it, scientific research shows its efficacy for feelings of depression or anxiety.
Helping others. New research is showing the effects of altruism on the brain.
Psychologist Liz Dunn ran an experiment where people were given money, and they could choose if they would keep the money or give it away. She found the less money they gave away, the more people experienced shame—the more shame, “the more we saw their cortisol levels rise.” Conversely, “the more money people gave away, the happier they felt.”
That happy feeling? Endorphins again. Magic, right?
Ever felt spectacular after helping a friend? “That sensation is known as ‘helper’s high’ and is produced when your brain releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals of the brain. When you do something good for someone else, your brain’s pleasure centers light up, releasing endorphins and producing this high.”
So, don’t wait until you’re feeling on top of the world to look outward and find something to help with. Kick that cortisol to the curb by taking a few minutes to be generous. Looking outside yourself may be just the remedy you need.
Several of us have been quarantined for more than a month now. Work-life balance has never been more difficult for parents who are now juggling their work responsibilities while caring for their children who are home from school. The pressures and challenges of working outside the office are difficult as it is, but many parents are trying to balance their Zoom meetings and emails while making peanut butter sandwiches and changing diapers.
With no specific end date to quarantine in sight, life at home is a new normal that most individuals need to adjust to. Here are six ways that you can establish some sense of control and order in your new at-home quarantine life.
Be Strict About Bedtime
One of the best ways to have a good day is to start it by waking up feeling rested and refreshed. It’s tempting with all this extra time on our hands to stay up late and binge watch our new favorite shows, but getting to bed late sets us up for a grumpy and sluggish tomorrow. So be strict about bedtime, for both your children and yourself.
Wake Up Before the Kids
Being able to stick to your normal 9–5 routine will be much more difficult while working from home. So try to be a little more flexible with your work hours. Starting your work day an hour or two before your kids wake up can help you get a good jumpstart on your responsibilities. Try to get your most important work done during these solitary hours when interruptions are little to none. You can also work an hour or two after the kids are asleep for the night. As you are more flexible with your work hours, be aware that you are not working more hours than you did when you were in the office. The last thing you need is to overwork yourself.
Establish Your Workspace (And Keep it Clean)
Now that you’ll be working from home more consistently, be sure to assign a specific place in your home that is dedicated to your work. If you already have a home office, this will be easier for you. But if you don’t already have an office space in your home, try to pick a secluded area that is away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Once you’ve established your work space, be sure to keep it clean. Whether that means wiping your desk each morning or putting all your supplies in a box at the end of your work day so your family can use the kitchen table again, it’s important that you keep your workspace clean and free of clutter.
Pay Attention to Your Kids Before You Work
This piece of advice comes from Dr. Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages of Children. If you can spend time with your kids filling up their ‘love tank’ before you start your work, they are more likely to let you work in peace. Going for a walk together, playing tag, helping them fix something, giving lots of hugs and kisses, or whatever communicates love to your child best will help them to feel loved before you have to focus on your work.
Match Your Child’s New Routine With Yours
If you have school age children, have them do their school work the same time that you need to get your own work done. If you have younger children, they can also do “work” the same time that you do. They can color at your desk as you work on your laptop, do a puzzle while you answer emails, or play with Play-doh while you’re on a Zoom call. If your kids need breaks, try to take breaks with them. Stepping away from your work for a quick walk or playing catch for fifteen minutes will help you recharge and help your kids get some energy out.
Have Nightly Check-Ins
There is so much happening right now and so many changes during this pandemic that everyone is experiencing some type of stress or anxiety. Each night, check in with your partner, your children, and especially yourself to see how everyone is doing. Be sure to share with your loved ones that it is okay to feel this way and remind yourself that it’s okay for you to feel this way as well. Practicing daily meditation or writing in a gratitude journal every day can help to relieve some of this stress in a constructive way.
As we strive to create a new normal in our work and home life, we can find some peace as we stick to a strict bedtime, work while our kids are sleeping, keep our workspace clean, pay attention to our children, establish new routines for our family, and check on everyone’s feelings. These steps will help us to find some calm during these stressful times.
***See other informative and inspiring stories and articles at www.agoodcause.com/blog
Not all of us are on the front lines fighting the coronavirus pandemic, but we can all still be heroes during this trying time. Here are six ways that you can be an everyday hero during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Send a Letter
Adults and children can all take the time to sit down and write a letter. You can send a letter to healthcare professionals, grocery workers, teachers, farmers, mail carriers, and other individuals who are helping to fight the virus as well as keep our world running during the quarantine. Little children who can’t write yet can choose to color a picture instead.
Donate to a Fundraising Campaign
Many individuals are struggling financially due to illness or being recently unemployed due to the quarantine. You can still help them by donating what you can to online fundraising cause. Or, if you have a friend in need, you can start a fundraising cause to help them. Whether it’s one dollar or ten, any donation that you can give will make a difference.
Start a Little Free Pantry
Inspired by the popular Little Free Libraries, start a Little Free Pantry in your community. In a designated place, whether in a refurbished birdhouse or in the lobby of your apartment building, store nonperishable items like canned goods, pasta, and grains. Here individuals can find some relief if they are struggling to access food. Leave a sign instructing visitors to “Take What You Need, Leave What You Can.” This will encourage others to add to and replenish the Little Free Pantry, if they are able.
Wear a Mask
Another way you can help fight the pandemic is by wearing a mask or face covering while out in public. By taking these precautions you not only help to stop the spread of the virus to your family but also to those around you who may be more vulnerable.
Deliver Groceries to at Risk Neighbors
Some individuals in your community may struggle to get their groceries due to their underlying health conditions. Reach out to these individuals and offer to get their groceries for them. After purchasing groceries, bring them home and quickly wipe everything down with a sanitary wipe. Then deliver them to your neighbor in need.
Support Small Businesses
Whenever possible, support small businesses in your community. Whether that be ordering takeout from a small restaurant or purchasing gift cards to use once the quarantine is over, supporting small businesses will be crucial to keeping them alive through this economic downturn.
It’s important that we all work together to fight and overcome this pandemic. Each one of us can do our part to keep each other safe and healthy.
Donate to a Good Cause
There are many good causes in the world around us. Here is just one: https://agoodcause.com/gg4l. This a reputable company that is attempting to help students and schools get the needed supplies to accomplish the overwhelming task of doing school work at home.
Extracurricular activities help students inside and outside of school. Whether it be a sport or club, volunteer work or a job, each extracurricular activity gives students opportunities they may not have in their home-life. These activities allow students to meet new people they wouldn’t normally meet, learn a new set of skills, and help prepare for college.
Meeting New People
Extracurricular activities bring a variety of students together from all across campus, sometimes even the school district. Students are able to meet different students with similar interests as them through these activities. Football players, theater kids, and geniuses come together when they join the same club or sport, allowing them to expand their network. With each club or sport, students can build their social circles past their normal group of friends.
Learn Different Skills
Students learn academic skills in the classroom. Extracurricular activities allow them to learn fun, homemaking, and professional skills outside of the classroom. Each activity can help students learn a new skill set that will help them later in life. Music, dance, sports, art, chess, cooking, student council and book clubs offer different activities and different skills. Students can learn professional skills such as time management, leadership capabilities, public speaking, teamwork, and critical and creative thinking skills.
Prepare for College
Extracurricular activities can help students prepare for college. Colleges want to know more about their applicants than just their GPA or test scores. Admissions boards can learn more about a student based on the extracurricular activities they participated in. Extracurricular activities show a personal side to each applicant and shows the Admissions Committee what students are interested in and passionate about. Colleges look for applicants who involve themselves in all types of activities outside school; clubs, sports, work, volunteering, and other extracurricular activities.
As wonderful as these activities are for students, schools are quickly losing funding, making it difficult to run these programs. Our fundraising platform, aGoodCause, can help schools raise money for their extracurricular activities, teams, and clubs in order to better support their students. Similar to other crowdfunding platforms, our fundraising solution is easy to use but offers a higher payout. You can set up a fundraising campaign for your club, team or school project with ease and start raising money right away. To find out more, visit our home page for more information and to start your fundraising solution today.
Whether you’re a teacher, coach, educator, or parent, helping the children in your life develop self-esteem is a crucial element for their future success. With so much negativity surrounding children these days, such as poverty, cyberbullying, divorce, natural disasters, and more, today’s children need to face each day with a strong sense of self. Here are four ways to help foster self-esteem and confidence in the children around you.
Opportunities to Succeed
One way you can help the children in your life build confidence is by providing them with opportunities to succeed. Whether these opportunities to succeed are big or small, kids need the chance to demonstrate their competence and feel that their contributions are valuable. Clinical psychologist Meg Jay, who specializes in adult development, explains that, “Confidence doesn’t come from the inside out. It moves from the outside in. People feel less anxious — and more confident — on the inside when they can point to things they have done well on the outside.”
As a parent, try to encourage your child from a young age to join extracurricular activities like school sports and clubs or other organizations such as Girls on the Run, Scouts, piano lessons, dance classes and so on.
As teachers and educators, you can provide extra credit projects catered to your student’s strengths, helping them find accomplishment in a subject matter that they normally find difficult. Coaches can keep track of your players’ improvement by recording mile times, pushups, shots made, and other physical achievements. Helping children to see their successes will help to build their confidence.
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
Carol Dweck, a Stanford professor and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, has made a distinction between the two mindsets that profoundly affect the way we lead our lives: a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. With a fixed mindset, you believe your skills, talents, and personality are limited to a personal capacity that you were just born with. You’re either smart or you’re not. You’re athletic or you’re not. You’re charismatic or you’re not. Individuals with a growth mindset, however, believe that they can change, grow, and improve their skills and talents through their efforts, application, and experience.
One way to help the children in your life build self-esteem is by teachinging and modeling a growth mindset. Help them understand that they can improve their skills and get better if they work at it. Angela Duckworth, Author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, explains, “Without effort, your talent is nothing more than unmet potential. Without effort, your skill is nothing more than what you could have done but didn’t.”
While modeling a growth mindset, it is important to be specific with your praise. When a child does well on a test, try to avoid platitudes such as, “You’re so smart.” Phrases like this can cause a child to think they are not smart if they struggle the next time. If they aren’t smart, then there is no point in trying to do well. But, if you praise children by saying, “You worked really hard,” or “You stayed after class to review problems that you didn’t understand,” these compliments will help them to cultivate a growth mindset. They did well because they worked hard, not because they were naturally talented. This will inspire them to continue to work and grow and push past challenges.
Taking the time to listen to the children in your life will help them to feel valued and remind them that they have worth. This is especially important for teachers and coaches to do because life at home may be hectic and that child in your class or on your team may constantly feel overlooked or invisible.
Children who are displaying negative behaviors and acting out are often in need of some extra support in their lives. Strive to reach out to these children and try to talk with them about what they may be experiencing. Don’t be shocked if they aren’t responsive at first. These children may not be used to sharing their feelings or may feel that they have to hide what is really going on in their lives. But as you keep trying and keep listening, their walls will slowly come down and they will feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you.
Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, studies courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. She explains that, “We live in a world where most people still subscribe to the belief that shame is a good tool for keeping people in line. Not only is this wrong, but it’s dangerous. Shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying.”
She further explains that there is a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is a focus on behavior whereas shame is a focus on self. If we have done something wrong, guilt tells us, “I’ve made a mistake.” Shame tells us, “I am a mistake.”
When you correct mistakes or bad behavior, do so without shame. Call attention to the mistakes a child has made, but separate the child’s actions from who the child is.
A high self-esteem is a child’s shield from the negativity of this world. Using these methods in your parenting, teaching, or coaching will help to boost the self-esteem and confidence of the children around you and increase their chances of success.
Is your classroom, sports team, or club in need of funds? Try our free fundraising platform to raise the funds that you need and help the children in your life to succeed!
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
It is a new year, and for many people a new year is synonymous with setting new resolutions and goals for the year. Among the list of most common new year resolutions, most people will list exercise more, learn a new skill or hobby, save money, get out of debt, travel more, etc. While these are all worthwhile goals and resolutions to have and to work towards, have you ever considered adding “being a philanthropist” to your new year’s resolution list? If not, you should!
Despite what you might think, you don’t have to have copious amounts of money to be a philanthropist. In fact, there are ways that you can bless others’ lives, make a positive impact on your community and the world without having to spend any money. Here are a few actions you can do that will make a positive impact on someone else.
One of the easiest ways to be a philanthropist that anybody can do is to find ways to volunteer. This can be as simple as taking dinner into a sick friend, handing out food at a soup kitchen, or taking time to read to a small child. If you are looking for other ways to volunteer your time, consider spending an afternoon at your local food pantry sorting and organizing donations, checking with community and religious leaders to find volunteer opportunities in your community. Some local schools have volunteers who spend their time assisting teachers with various tasks to keep their classrooms organized and students engaged in learning.
Paying it Forward
There are countless ways in which you can pay it forward without having to spend a ton of money. It can be as simple as picking up trash along the roadway, or at your neighborhood park. Perhaps you’re feeling extra generous and can afford to purchase the person in the drive through’s order behind you. Another great way to pay it forward is to pay a compliment to those whom you interact with on a daily basis, or interact with via social media. If you live in an area with parking meters, consider dropping spare change into someone’s parking meter, or purchasing a bus, train or subway ticket for someone else. All of these are ways that you can pay it forward without having to spend a lot of time or money to make a positive impact on someone else’s day.
There are countless different ways and different items that you can donate to help benefit those who are less fortunate or those in need. This can include items around your home that you no longer need or use, i.e., clothing, shoes, books, electronics, etc. You can also donate food to your local food pantry by taking in your donations, donating to the United States Post Office Stamp Out Hunger food drive and other local food drives. Many thrift stores accept donations of gently used items that can then be resold at a discounted rate. This is a great way to clean out your closet and home, while knowing that your unused, unwanted items are going to help others.
Another way that many don’t often think about when thinking of philanthropic actions is to donate blood or plasma. There is always a need for viable blood and plasma to be donated. This life saving action on your part, requires no money, only your time and willingness to donate your blood or plasma to help save lives.
Other things that you can donate can include your time, skills and talents, spare change to homeless and charitable organizations. There are many different ways that you can donate to make a difference, costing you little to no money at all. Once you’ve donated once, it can become addicting and you’ll want to continue to donate again and again.
Along with considering adding “philanthropy” to your list of goals and resolutions for the new year, many people also have goals of getting fit and healthy. This is another great way in which you can adopt a philanthropy mind set. When working towards a goal of getting fit and exercising, consider looking for a race that supports a local charity. There are various types of charity events, anything from running, walking, cycling and walking pets that support just about any disease or cause that you can think of.
I personally have participated in a few different 5K races that have supported different causes. Some that I was very passionate about and others I wasn’t exactly familiar with, but I felt good doing something good for me, while contributing to a big, worthwhile cause. Similarly, during college, I was invited to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. All of these were experiences where I was able to do something that I enjoy, something that I would normally be doing, but this time I was able to help raise awareness and show support for something bigger than myself.
Aside from Relay for Life, popular events include events that support cancer survivors and research (i.e., Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure), Veterans (i.e., Ride for The Fallen, Wounded Warrior Carry Forward 5K), St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital (St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend) and so many more. If this sounds like something that you want to be involved in, search for events and races in your community that you can participate in, and show an act of philanthropy to those around you.
When disaster or tragedy strikes, one of the first things that people want to know is how they can help those affected. A simple solution is to donate funds to help cover the unexpected medical and or funeral expenses associated with the event. When you personally know those who have been affected, it is easier to know how best to help and get the donations to them. When it is someone who you don’t know personally, but you still feel moved to help, it can be in your best interest to consider crowdfunding.
Depending on the severity of the tragedy or disaster, a crowdfunding campaign can sometimes be created almost immediately after, to raise the most amount of funds as quickly as possible. Once created, it is easy to share the campaign on social media sites, and new outlets, depending on the size and severity, to gain attention and spread the word about the campaign.
The best part about crowdfunding, is that it doesn’t require a lot of effort on your part and it does not require a big, traumatic event to qualify. In fact, crowd funding has been and continues to be used for a wide variety of causes. Anything from, school uniforms to funding a new handicap accessible bathroom, to “Breakfast with Santa”. As you can see, crowdfunding can be used to bless and help others for any reason you can think of. An additional benefit of crowdfunding, is that it removes geographical barriers; allowing for people all across the globe to donate and be a philanthropist in their own way.
As you can see there are so many different ways in which you can be a philanthropist without having to have lots of money to donate. Small and simple actions that you can adopt in your daily life, can help you to develop a philanthropy lifestyle. Start today by finding small ways in which you can do good and bless the lives of others around you.
School fundraising is not a new idea, in fact it has been around for a while with a successful history. Many school fundraisers date back to the early 1970s, starting with door-to-door sales. Many school fundraisers utilized door-to-door sales until 1997, when a New Jersey, eleven-year-old boy was killed while out fundraising unsupervised. As a result, a majority of school fundraisers do not recommend or advise kids to go door-to-door selling items for their fundraiser.
Due to their long history, chances are you were enticed to participate in middle school, junior and high school fundraisers with the promise of over-the-top and lavish prizes to those who sold the most, thereby, raising the most money for the school. You set out with high hopes, begging your parents to purchase the most expensive, or the most products so that you could win all the prizes that were used to entice you to participate.
Unfortunately, not every student had parents or extended family members, that were able to purchase vast amounts of the proffered product to contribute to the fundraiser. Whereas, others had parents and other family members who did not hesitate to whip out their wallet and purchase vast amounts of the offered product, propelling their students towards the proffered prizes.
I remember sitting in the closing assembly at the end of the fundraiser, and seeing the disappointment on countless students faces, who did not achieve the ultimate end prize that they had hoped for at the beginning of the fundraiser. Other students around me, bounced with anticipation and excitement knowing that they had earned some of the desirous, brag-worthy prizes.
Now that you are a parent, you are the one who has been recruited through your child to make their school fundraiser a success. Your child now has the dreams of winning the levies, over-the-top prizes promised to those who sells the most, or raise the most money for the fundraiser. Every parent wants to see their child’s successes, which is why many parents are willing to purchase from the fundraiser, along with asking co-workers, friends, neighbors and extended family to also purchase from the fundraiser.
Aside from helping students achieve their goals, i.e., the promised prizes for their help in fundraising, there are other reasons why you should support school fundraisers in your community. Participation in school fundraisers, through financial donations and purchase of items that are being sold, allows for schools to purchase necessary equipment and supplies, update equipment and other purchases that
would not be possible without successful fundraising efforts.
On average, each year schools and other non-profit organizations raise over $1.7 billion each year through their fundraising efforts of selling popular items, services and online support. Because the funds raised benefit a worthy cause, it is estimated that eight out of ten Americans support school fundraisers, here are a few reasons why I believe you should support school fundraisers too.
Children deserve a good education, regardless of where they live and what school they attend. Because some schools are located in wealthier locations, they tend to have a bigger budget per student that allows for them to provide more opportunities for their students. That being said, it is a worthwhile cause to donate to school fundraisers, as you are investing in children’s education, whether they are your own children or not.
When a fundraiser is organized to support a cause that people can get behind, they are more inclined to support it with their hard-earned money. Education is something that everyone can get behind, because people know how important a good education is. Because so many people are willing to get behind education, school fundraisers are successful.
Support Your Child’s School
Often times, those who participate and support school fundraisers the most are the parents of the students. This also includes grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members. School fundraising tends to appeal to family members more than friends, neighbors, and complete strangers because they know the student who will directly benefit from the fundraiser. Knowing their child, or grandchild will directly benefit from the fundraiser through new equipment, supplies and technology; parents, and grandparents are more inclined to support the fundraiser than they might otherwise be.
When you have a student who attends the school, you have a better idea of what the school needs to provide your student with a quality education. Because you have this first-hand knowledge, you can see where and why the school needs to have a fundraiser and where funds will go to benefit the students. As such, parents are more inclined to support fundraisers that support their child’s school than they would be to support other fundraisers that won’t benefit their children or their education.
Returning the Favor
School fundraisers are a great way for friends, neighbors and even parents’ co-workers to return the favor and pay it forward. Because the office is a great place to bring different people with different aged children together. It is not uncommon for co-workers to trade off supporting each other’s children’s school fundraiser.Asking coworkers to donate or purchase from a school fundraiser also allows those who are empty nesters and those who haven’t had children yet the ability to feel included and return the favor for all those who helped their kids in the past or will help their children in the future.
Asking co-workers is also a great place to find potential buyers, because a lot of people are more inclined to purchase items from people they know than they are from complete strangers. When they purchase items from a co-worker’s child, they know that they are supporting a local school, whereas when they purchase from a random person there is no way to validate where their funds actually go.
Like the Product Being Sold
The easiest reason that motivates people to support school fundraisers is by simply selling a product that they like and will utilize. This is what makes food fundraisers so successful, is that they often promote foods that a vast majority of people like and consume regularly. Whether it be a premade food items such as chocolate bars or cookie dough, to discount and coupon cards to popular pizza and smoothie shops.
This is what makes food fundraisers so successful, is that a great product will do all the work itself—it will sell itself. This is why a lot of school fundraisers are the same, year after year because those organizing them know what will raise the most amount of money with the least amount of effort on their part. Often times the items being sold are offered at a reasonable price, enticing those who are interested in the product to make the purchase knowing that it will go towards helping a worthwhile cause in their community.
Participating and supporting a school fundraiser is another way in which parents and grandparents can be involved in their child or grandchild’s education. As with most other things, you might not have much say when it comes to choices made for the school, but you can vote with your dollars when you decide to support various school fundraisers.
Parents that are unable to volunteer their time inside the classroom during the school year due to other obligations, can be involved through supporting various school fundraisers throughout the year. Whether it be through donating and purchasing items for the fundraiser, taking their child around to friends and neighbors to sell items, or helping a child to contact grandparents and other family members to seek their support.
Your Support Does Make a Difference
Even though there are countless different school fundraisers going on, often simultaneously, your donations and support do make a difference. Many school fundraisers are designed to purchase new supplies or equipment for the school, which can only be achieved through a successful school fundraiser. When the fundraiser is completed, the funds are then used as advertised, thereby, improving the quality of education for the students, or providing resources and opportunities that otherwise were unattainable.
If you ever wonder if your support does matter, or does make a difference to a school fundraiser, it does! When I was in high school, our athletic department came together and organized a fundraiser to improve the football field, stadium and surrounding grounds. They petitioned the local community and businesses to donate as the improvements would not only benefit the football team, but the track and field team, the marching band, students and patrons of the sporting events hosted there.
Upon successful completion of the fundraiser, the athletic department had raised the necessary funds to revamp the concourse leading to the football stadium, install artificial turf on the football field, redo the track surrounding the football field and other improvements. This was a fundraiser that I was skeptical of actually being successful, because it was not your typical fundraiser of selling food products or coupon book, instead they were selling personalized bricks with the donors’ name or company name. These bricks would then be used to create the new walkway leading into the revamped football stadium. Through all the generous donations of parents, friends, neighbors and the community they were able to reach their goals and create a beautiful new concourse and football stadium that students and the community will enjoy for years to come.
From first-hand experience, I can assure you that school fundraisers are important and every contribution, no matter how big or small, does make a difference. Whether the fundraiser be for plans to improve the school grounds, or to purchase new books and computers for the library; each fundraiser has a purpose and all students can benefit.
Next time you are asked to donate to a middle school, junior or high school fundraisers either through a monetary contribution or by purchasing food or a coupon/discount book from a student, consider the difference that you are going to be making. I challenge you, to make a donation next time you learn about a school fundraiser. Remember all those who supported your school fundraisers when you were going to school and all those who are supporting your kids, or future kids with their school fundraisers. Be a part of something good, something bigger than you and donate to school fundraisers in your community.
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Regardless of where your relatives or friends live, they can donate and support their favorite student from almost anywhere on the planet.
aGoodCause.com makes this all possible by offering a free and secure online fundraising platform that is second to none.
When looking for your next school, club or team fundraiser, here are the top five that I believe are worth the time and effort.
It’s that time of year again, kids have returned to school and fall is on the horizon. With this change comes the inevitable school fundraisers that some look forward to with excitement while others dread. This is especially true for school administration, teachers, PTA members, coaches and club leaders. Every school, club, team and organization are out there trying to sell something different to raise the necessary funds to accomplish their goals. While many fundraisers tend to happen around the beginning of the school year, schools tend to hold numerous fundraisers throughout the school year for different teams and clubs.
School and team fundraising provide the finances necessary for teams and clubs to purchase necessary equipment, travel to games and competitions. Fundraising can also provide schools with the ability to offer scholarships, start new programs, teams or clubs. School fundraising efforts also make the difference between a school thriving and providing their students with ample opportunities and resources; and simply surviving for other schools.
Because schools, teams, groups and clubs are dependent upon fundraising, it is in everyone’s best interest to invest in a fundraiser that will reap the most rewards. With so many different fundraising options available, it can be difficult to know which ones are worth the time and effort required to make them successful and which ones you should pass on.
A quick Google search for “school fundraising ideas”, will yield you with numerous results, all claiming to be the “best” school fundraiser. Some of the ideas that you might find, can be surprising and a bit extravagant, whereas other ideas are creative and highly successful. This can be a great way to jump-start your brain storming of different fundraisers that you might be interested in trying. You’ll be exposed to different ideas, many of which you may not have thought of before. Being presented with so many different options, can be daunting as you try to weed through them and find the right one for your school, club or team.
Prior to making a decision, you’ll need to do a bit of research and set some goals. How much time do you have to invest into promoting your fundraiser? How many people are going to be working alongside you to make your chosen fundraiser successful? How much money are you hoping to raise through your fundraising efforts? What are the success rates of the proposed fundraisers you are considering? Do their projections correspond with the goals you’ve set for your fundraising efforts? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you to determine which fundraisers you are considering will be worth the time and effort necessary to be successful.
Having students participate in fundraising, comes with many valuable life-skills that they will take with them long after their school days are behind them. These skills include leadership attributes and confidence. When students work together with their peers, they learn the valuable skill of teamwork, and working with others, including teachers and parents to ultimately reach their fundraising goals. Additionally, school fundraising provides parents and grandparents the opportunity to be involved in their child and grandchild’s life.
Again, when looking for your next school, club or team fundraiser, here are the top five that I believe are worth the time and effort….
School Fundraising Idea #1: Food
Food items are probably one of the most popular fundraisers there are, because everyone needs to eat. I’ve seen fundraisers where schools, teams and clubs are selling cookie dough, pizza, gourmet candy bars, discount drink cards, and large bags of potatoes. So, what is it about these types of fundraisers that make them so popular and wildly successful? I believe it is because they are easy to carry out, each participant reaches out to family, friends and neighbors to sell popular food items. These are items that most people generally enjoy consuming, or offer a great value at a discounted price. So, when they are able to purchase them, premade, and to support someone they know, most people are more inclined to make the purchase.
I know, I personally have purchased frozen cookie dough to support a neighbor’s daughter’s volleyball team. When asked if I’d like to purchase cookie dough, I didn’t even hesitate before readily agreeing. Cookie dough is one of those things that I like to have on hand, because I never know when I might need to make cookies. Plus, they were selling all my favorite flavors of cookie dough, which made it even more tempting to purchase.
Another popular one that I have seen a lot is schools, clubs and teams sell discount pizza cards. These are popular because not only are they relatively affordable, but they also offer great incentives for those who purchase them. Often times, discount pizza cards allow for the card holder to purchase pizzas at participating locations at a discounted price, or even earn free pizzas!
Food fundraisers are a win/win for everyone involved. Those who are selling the items for their fundraiser are raising the necessary funds they need, in a quick and easy way; while those who purchase the items get to reap the delicious benefits.
Other examples of food related fundraising ideas can include: doughnuts, cook books, smoothie discount cards, and even spaghetti dinner events. All of these fundraisers have been tried and proven to be successful as parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors are more inclined to purchase a food item that they can save and use at a later date, or indulge in right then. Additionally, having a discount card for pizza, or to your favorite smoothie shop can be incentive enough to make a purchase, as you know you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite items more than once, while saving money and contributing to a worthwhile fundraiser.
School Fundraising Idea #2: Local Restaurant Involvement
Similar to that of food fundraisers, another popular school fundraising idea that I have seen and participated in numerous times is that of involving the community. This typically includes local restaurants who are willing to donate a specific percentage of the profits made within a specified period of time to the fundraiser.
This is a great way to get the community involved in your fundraising efforts as people are always going out to eat, and are typically more inclined when they know they can eat and support a local school fundraiser. I have seen restaurants such as Pizza Pie Café, Chili’s and Chick-Fil-A participate in school fundraising. For me personally, when I hear about a local restaurant that is participating in a fundraiser, by giving a percentage back, I am more inclined to go out to dinner that night than I normally would be.
These types of fundraisers are so simple to do, as the majority of the work is done by the restaurant’s employees; all fundraiser organizers have to do is coordinate with the restaurant, and get the word out to their friends, family, neighbors and community. Even those who are unaware of a fundraiser going on, are able to contribute through their purchase of a meal, that they were going to purchase regardless of the fundraiser.
Unlike some other fundraisers, there may be some additional requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for a restaurant give back night. This may include being a non-profit organization, meeting size requirements, or disclosing the use of the funds raised and donated by the restaurant. Before signing up to do a school fundraiser through a restaurant, be sure that you check to see what all the requirements are.
While I was attending college, I was involved in a service club; where we would take our Spring Break and go to Mexico and do humanitarian projects, and help build homes for disabled individuals and families. This was always a rewarding experience to participate in, but it was also an expensive experience, as our club would have to purchase all the necessary building supplies. On top of that, all who went on the trip would have to pay their own way. Throughout the year, we would hold numerous fundraisers as a way to try and raise the necessary funds to purchase the supplies and to cut down on the out-of-pocket expenses of going on the trip.
The last year that I went on the trip, we had our most successful fundraiser ever; we had a dinner night at a local restaurant where a percentage of the profits from that night went to our club. As a busy college student, this was by far my favorite fundraiser as I knew that I needed to eat dinner that night, and I knew I also didn’t have a lot of extra time in my already busy schedule to devote to fundraising. This turned out to be a highly successful night, many people from our community turned out to help support our club and our goal of raising the necessary funds for our upcoming trip, while enjoying some delicious food! Through this fundraiser we were able to reach our fundraising goals, and have a successful spring break trip!
School Fundraising Idea #3: Coupon Books/Cards
Another extremely popular school fundraising idea that tends to do very well is that of selling coupon books and cards. These types of fundraisers tend to do so well because they offer numerous deals and promotions at a discounted price, with the funds going to support a local school.
A typical coupon book will have numerous coupons and special deals for local stores, restaurants and attractions. Included with the purchase of the coupon book, are coupons for everything from travel and entertainment to car and home maintenance. Most of the coupons offer a percentage off of services offered or a buy one, get one promotion. Those who have the coupon book are able to enjoy all the discounts for an entire year, in most cases, for one small price. I’ve seen some coupon books that costs around $25, and offer 100s of dollars of free items, along with thousands of dollars in savings. These are generally so popular because of all the good deals that can be found within. In fact, in my hometown, every year when school starts, I know people who will actively seek out students who are trying to sell the coupon books so that they can purchase a new one. Students don’t have to try and sell people on them, as they are so well known and well loved; people will purchase them year after year.
These are highly successful fundraisers, as they are easy to organize and carry out. Students are generally sent home with a sample booklet to show parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors to entice them to make a purchase. Once they see all the amazing offers that are included with the coupon book, it is hard to say “no” to purchasing one. In fact, some people even purchase more than one, that is how good of a deal they are!
School Fundraising Idea #4: Pajama/Free Dress Day
This fundraising idea is one that I wasn’t too familiar with until recently. This is more common in schools that require a school uniform, as it is easy for them to implement and carry out. The idea behind this fundraiser, is that on specific days, if students want to wear something other than their assigned school uniform (i.e., hats, pajamas, or free dress), they pay a dollar, or more, to do so.
This allows students to raise funds for their school, while doing something fun and out of the norm for them. Depending on the school, some will charge a dollar, or more, for the privilege of wearing a hat, and an additional dollar for free dress. This allows for students to choose how much they want to “pay” to wear what they want, or if they’d rather stick to their assigned uniform.
This is one of the simplest ways to raise money for schools, as it requires very little planning, advertising and work for the teachers, PTA, or school administration. Parents are also in favor of this type of fundraiser, as it is inexpensive, requires little to no extra effort on their part, as they only have to remember to send their child to school with the required amount to pay for the privilege of free dress for the day.
Students also tend to enjoy the idea of getting to wear something other than their school uniform, as their free dress wardrobe often is a better representation of their personality. While it is a fun and easy way for schools to raise money, not all students want to or are able to participate. This is what makes having a free dress day, a great fundraiser for schools is that is allows for students to participate if they want to, without feeling pressured that they have to participate. Many schools will have free dress days on a regular basis, such as once a month, or bi-weekly.
School Fundraising Idea #5: aGoodCause
Another great way to raise funds for your school, club or team is through aGoodCause.com/Schools. This is a great way to raise funds from those beyond your local community, it allows for friends and family members who may not live close by the opportunity to contribute that otherwise would not be able to donate due to geographical constraints.
Unlike other fundraising options available, aGoodCause, makes it easy through their online platform that allows for fast and secure donations to be made to specific causes, teams, clubs and schools. This allows grandparents, aunts, uncles and others who would like to make a simple financial donation, the ability to do so without having to purchase anything.
One of the biggest differences between fundraising through aGoodCause and other options available is that aGoodCause gives the biggest percentage of money earned back to the organizer of the fundraiser. This is why a high school football team who have lost all their equipment due to a fire, a high school choir group who got invited to perform at a national championship in New York and a high school cheerleading team who is traveling to Las Vegas for a national tournament have elected to use aGoodCause for their fundraising efforts.
Another thing that makes fundraising through aGoodCause different than other online fundraising platforms, is they allow for you to assign a goal to each member of the team or club who is working towards raising the necessary funds to meet their goal. This creates a healthy level of competition between participants as they are all working towards achieving the same end goal. This is achieved by seeing how each participant is doing in terms of percentage of their goal of contributing to the overall team or club goal. This also helps to create a visual representation of the team work that goes into making fundraising successful. When we all work together to achieve a common goal, amazing things can and do happen!
This can prove to be especially beneficial, as many clubs and teams who are raising funds are those who are involved in high school fundraising efforts for their school sports teams, fine arts departments and clubs. Often times these groups are trying hard to raise funds so that they can participate in prestigious or national competitions or they have been invited to perform at elite venues. Regardless of where they are trying to get to, the bottom line is many schools do not have it in their budgets to send clubs and teams to competitions and performances without team fundraising.
When schools, clubs and team fundraising is accomplished through aGoodCause, there is no inventory for you to keep track of or be responsible for. aGoodCause makes fundraising simple and easy, just the way that it should be. As an approved fundraising vendor of countless school districts located throughout the United States, it is just one more way that aGoodCause stands out from the rest, helping to secure you with a fundraising campaign that will be successful.
As you can see, there are lots of fun, creative and diverse ways to get your students involved in raising funds for their school, along with specific clubs and teams that they are members of. For those that have helped to organize fundraisers in the past, know that they can be a lot of work and don’t always reap the rewards equal to the efforts expended. This is what makes aGoodCause different. It is easy to create a campaign, share and promote your campaign, and invite others to donate through a secure online platform. Next time you’re in charge of coming up with school fundraising ideas, consider adding aGoodCause to your list.
Fundraising no longer has to be a daunting task that school administrators, teachers and PTA members dread having to organize and execute. Thanks to aGoodCause, you are able to quickly establish a cause that allows for students, faculty and staff to raise the necessary funds without having to add “fundraiser” to their never-ending to-do list.
aGoodCause has revolutionized the world of fundraising, by making it fun, safe and easy to do. Parents no longer have to worry about their children canvassing the neighborhood or community asking for donations or trying to sell products to raise money, it is all done online!
Here you will be able to create a campaign specific to your school, club or team. You will also find other campaigns that you can donate to, if you feel so inclined to do so. From here, you’ll be able to share your campaign with the rest of your school, team and club members, parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors and so many more. Raising money for your school, club or team has never been easier. Visit https://aGoodCause.com/Schools/ and get started with your school fundraising today!
“Never underestimate the power of a small group of people to change the world. In fact, it is the only way it ever has.”-Margaret Mead
Change is inevitable. It is the only thing consistent in the world truly. Comfort in life surrounds our ability to adapt to change. Our jobs, friendships and opportunities look different year after year. In high school we thought we had found our tribe. Our friends were life. We often prefer them to our family during these formative years. Yet, look how many we know as intimately today. Very few have stayed in our circle. We evolved and changed. It was the nonviolent, civil rights leader Gandhi who stated “be the change you wish to see in the world.” What if we all made conscious choices in our lives with his words at the forefront of our actions? The change we desire is our own reflection.
Tragedy does not discriminate. We are all vulnerable to heartache. Illness, death, and untimely accidents are in every walk of life. We can grow from change or remain stagnant. The choice is always our own.
Leading actor Keanu Reeves grew up with an absentee father. He struggled his entire childhood with the learning disability dyslexia. He met failure often in new schools. Keanu lost his best friend, fellow actor River Phoenix, when he was still very young. Soon after, his younger sister began a decade long fight with leukemia in the early 90’s. It would appear the world was against him and he was set up to fail. Yet, Keanu’s name is easily recognized in every corner of the world. He embodies Gandhi’s words beautifully. Keanu has said he’s made more than enough money to live comfortable for decades. Keanu is a true humanitarian who helps change the lives around him. He goes out of his way to learn the names on movie sets he acts. On the set of his popular film, “The Matrix”, Keanu heard of a set designer who was struggling. He paid them $20,000 dollars to help at Christmas. He saw an immediate need and he acted on it. He was the change this family needed. Just imagine the difference his generosity made to this man and his family.
Additionally, Keanu often takes the subway. One would assume a rich and wealthy public figure would have a private car service. He has been photographed giving up his seat on the subway when crowds did not provide enough seats. Pregnant and elderly women benefited from his act of kindness. He made a decision to be the change.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” – Barack Obama. We all possess the ability to make a difference and be the change. Be the change the world needs. The world will adapt around you. Changing the world truly begins with you!