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Idea Worth Stealing: Childhood favorites as fundraisers

I recently read about a fundraiser held by the Houston Center for Literacy that qualified as an Idea Worth Stealing. Instead of the usual gala or cocktail reception, the organization held a spelling bee to raise funds for their work ($200,000 in funds, to be exact).

But it wasn't the amount raised that caught my attention. In the article I read recapping the event, it was clear that local groups like the Houston Bar Association support and participate in the event year after year. Not only has the event developed a loyal fan base, it sounds and looks like fun!

I think there are three characteristics of this event that almost any organization could use to hold a successful and fun fundraiser of their own:

  • Harkening back to childhood: Spelling bees are childish, in a good way. Events where adults get to be kids again have a distinctive appeal.
  • The competitive element: There's no secret that competition is a great motivator. It's particularly effective when combined with an activity from childhood where it allows the participants to win bragging rights but not take it or themselves too seriously.
  • Teamwork: Unlike a traditional spelling bee, you participate in this spelling bee with a partner. This is a nice balance to the competitive element plus it encourages donors and supporters to engage their friends.