After doing a little research, Br. Lucio Boccacci LC found Internet sites that can help make fundraising easier. He recently detailed his discovery in his blog youth2change.com.
“It is definitely possible and easy to fundraise for your summer camp or missionary project,” he said. He recommends using an Internet resource called YouCaring.
“And we did it without having to offer discounts!” he said. “It was as if all of our teens came to camp and paid a full price, regardless of whether or not their families could afford it. Our summer camp budgets were solid.”
Br. Lucio said the YouCaring online resource helped connect him with families willing to support a good cause with those families that need financial assistance.
“It also helped our youth ministry team avoid much of the fear and awkwardness that comes with asking people for donations.”
Br. Lucio chose YouCaring because it works best for single projects with a clear deadline.
“Simply type in ‘free online fundraising website’ into your search engine and explore the options until you get a best fit,” said Br. Lucio.
The basic steps to using such a fundraising site are simple, he explained. “The site helps you navigate through each of the steps and in a matter of moments you are ready to go!
“Then just pray and watch!”
The website creates an online platform for your cause. The “profile page” includes a summary, a longer description, the fundraising goal, pictures, and even video. Br. Lucio said his camp profile page was designed to look as professional as possible.
“And the description and pictures on our site allowed our benefactors the space, time and privacy to think about how much to donate,” he said. “We set a goal to fundraise $2,000 so as to offer ten scholarships of $200 each, so that the beneficiary families simply had to pay $100 per boy.”
Br. Lucio said some of the donors for his summer camp gave between $50 to $200, but the largest, most unexpected donation was a gift of $2,000 from one donor.
“It was a big surprise, and without much effort we fundraised $1,000+ more than we had set as a goal,” he said. “And since we are part of a non-profit organization, we were able to give tax-exempt letters to our donors as an added ‘thank you’.”
YouCaring offers links to share profiles via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or email. It also creates a simple website link to share with others by automatically giving visitors the user’s social media links so they can then “like” and “share” the page.
“It’s important to note that while the website offers you a platform from which to fundraise, it does not do the fundraising for you!” said Br. Lucio. “Our youth director, Fr. Jacob DuMont LC, still had to send personal emails to the people he thought would most likely contribute. And in that email he included the link to our fundraiser.”
Sites like YouCaring allow donors to make their donations via credit card or through an online payment site like PayPal.
“This makes it easy for people to donate and for you to cash in your donations,” he said. “There is a small fee to process the credit card, but this is normal. You can nevertheless include your mailing address in case someone prefers to mail in a check.”
Br. Lucio warns there is always a “catch” when service websites like YouCaring are offered for free. “When your benefactors are about to type in how much they wish to donate, YouCaring asks them for a small donation to help cover operating costs,” he explains. “Benefactors can easily uncheck that box.
“So whether you are fundraising for teens to attend summer camp, or to help support a mission to another country, or whatever your cause, you and your computer can make that happen!”