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Fundraising Tips from the Godfreys

Cooper and Meredith Godfrey have been part of the Comfort Zone Camp (CZC) family since 2006, when they lost their father to a heart attack. At the time, Cooper was 13 and Meredith was 9 years old.

 

After her first experience with camp, Meredith shared: “I know that I would never forget it and that I needed to give back. I was in an awful place when I showed up for camp that week, and I can honestly say when I left, I was a completely new person.”

 

Seeing the profound effect CZC had on his little sister, Cooper started fundraising for Camp in 2006, and Meredith joined him with the fundraising efforts in 2009.

 

Although camps are completely free to the campers and their families, CZC is always in need of funding because it costs the camp $500 to send a child to camp in-state, $1,500 to send an out-of-state camper. This is why fundraising is an integral part of this organization, and the Godfrey’s encourage others to join them in helping this important cause.

 

In the past seven years, the Godfrey’s and their supporters have raised over $60,000! Their activities and commitment provide some great models for others to follow.

 

How to Effectively Raise Funds

 

So you want to raise money for Comfort Zone Camp, but you don’t know where to start. Following some of the ideas shared by the Godfreys can help you get started. Raising over $60,000 in seven years is impressive, but like many supporters, Cooper initially knew very little about the process. He had many initial questions before beginning his fundraising:  

 

  • How should he start?
  • What kind of fundraiser should he hold?
  • How much money did he want to raise?
  • Will people help him with the fundraiser?

 

 Cooper and Meredith have shared a few tips to help you get on your feet, but remind supporters it is truly up to you to decide what approach to take in order to raise money. Remember, even the smallest contribution is helpful and it allows this organization to operate at zero cost to the campers.

 

Getting Started and Pooling Your Resources

 

Fundraising can be really fun. The world is filled with great people who want to help you, but many of these people do not know how to help. It is up to you to take the initiative and encourage these people to help in any way possible.

 

Take a look at your personal interests, is there something that you like, and/or are good at doing, that you can incorporate into your fundraiser? For Cooper and Meredith, it was tennis.

 

Pool your close family, friends and co-workers together and brainstorm ideas on ways to raise funds for the camp.

 

See what the people you know have to offer to your cause.

 

Approach Local Businesses

 

When fundraising, it is important to keep costs as low as possible to ensure your efforts have the greatest impact. After tapping into the connections within your family and friends,  consider approaching local businesses to request free or discounted event space, or free or discounted catering. Here are a few tips when approaching local businesses:

 

Be confident as well as sincere in your pitch - tell your personal relationship to Comfort Zone Camp and why you are fundraising for this organization. Many people can connect to the cause, and if you are sincere, most are willing to help. 

 

Come prepared with the tax identification number (CZC’s Tax ID Number: 54-1916517) and information about the organization, such as brochures, so the local businesses know that CZC is a legitimate non-profit organization and an extremely worthwhile cause (the CZC team is always willing to help provide whatever you need).

 

Don’t be afraid. The worst thing that they can do is say no.

 

Overall pointers

 

Every fundraiser is going to be different. In general, choose an event that interests you, and something you and your family and friends can get excited about. Below are a few more general pointers when holding a fundraiser.

 

Ask friends, and ask friends to ask friends. Ask for monetary or in-kind donations, ask for attendance to your event, ask for support however you need it.

 

Be persistent and accommodating. Follow-up with potential donors, and offer to pick up donated items if needed.

 

If someone says no, thank them for considering. While they may not be able to help with this fundraiser, maybe they can in the future. Or, maybe they'll be able to help CZC in other ways, like spreading the word now that you have introduced the camp to them.

 

Have fun! Fundraising should be enjoyable. So, be creative, include your friends/family, and have fun while raising money for a great organization.

 

Know that a great sense of accomplishment comes with raising money for a cause you believe in. 

 

Meredith sums up her experience this way:

 

I cannot express how thrilled I am with our success because I know that I am helping kids in pain receive the same help that I was so lucky to get. Comfort Zone Camp changed my life, and made me who I am. Giving back to such a worthy cause was inevitable, and it has truly become one of the most important aspects of my life. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is hard, but Comfort Zone taught me that it gets better, and that every day gets a little bit easier. If I can show even one kid who was in as much pain as I was realize that, then all the work that this  fundraiser has required over the past seven years is worth it.

 

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