How to Raise Money with an Ugly Sweater Party

How to Raise Money with an Ugly Sweater Party

Ugly sweater parties are a fun, hip way to raise money. Today, we’ll tell you how to use an ugly sweater party as your next fundraiser. Just follow these simple steps.

1. Source Some Ugly Sweaters

The first thing you’ll need are some ugly sweaters. Start by clearing out your own closet. Next, ask friends to donate unwanted sweaters to your cause. Finally, take a trip to you local thrift shop. Your goal is to spend as little money as possible.

Yes, some people will have their own sweaters to wear. But you’ll want to provide sweaters to the volunteers helping you with your fundraiser. Also, your ugly sweaters are going to be the first item you use to make money!

At your party, you can invite guests to wear their own ugly sweater, or you can give them one in exchange for a donation. It’s like charging an entry fee to your party, where each guest covers the cost of admission with a donation, and gets an ugly sweater in exchange.

2. Plan the Party

Like every type of party, there are common logistics you need to take into account. Here’s a few to get you started:

Guest List. How many people are you inviting? How many do you expect to attend? How are you inviting them?

Venue. Are you renting a hall or event space for your ugly sweater party? Or can you host the fundraiser at someone’s house?

Food & Drink. What food will you serve? Will this be included in the cost of entry? Will you be serving alcohol?

Making Money At The Party. What other items or services can you monetize at your fundraiser? Will you have a 50/50? Raffle off any prizes? Or are you just taking direct “sweater donations?”

3. Promote Your Ugly Sweater Party Fundraiser

Get the word out! Tell people all about your party and why you’re having it. Don’t just promote the ugly sweaters. Use this opportunity to let everyone know about your fundraiser’s cause.

Word-of-mouth is the most effective way to get people interested in your cause and event. Invite everyone in your personal network. If you’re running a public event, consider using social media to promote the event.

Don’t forget to let people know that when they donate to your fundraiser, you will provide them with an ugly sweater at the party!

4. Have an Awesome Ugly Sweater Party!

Do everything you can to prepare for the party… and then have a great time!

Make sure you have plenty of ugly sweaters to trade for donations. Have some kind of live entertainment for people to enjoy – even if it’s just music and room to dance.

Take lots of pictures and interact with all your guests. If they have a good time, you have a better chance at getting more donations!

5. Thank Everyone Who Came & Share The Memories

After the party is over, reach out to everyone who came. Thank them for attending your party and supporting your fundraiser.

Share the photos you took during the event with guests. Post the pics on your fundraising website or social media. Show everyone how much fun was had at your ugly sweater party!

Fundamentals of Event Fundraising

Fundamentals of Event Fundraising
Fundamentals of Event Fundraising
Following these fundamentals, you should be able to do many fundraisers to help you raise the money you need.

The thought of doing fundraising events for your group or organization can be downright scary, if not totally off-putting. Please don’t despair, however.

Doing fundraisers is not as daunting as it appears to be at first blush.

The whole process of fundraising needs to broken down in to a series of highly doable steps that lend momentum to the planning and conduct of the fundraiser.

Gather Participants and Create Passion

Bring together a group of people who are passionate about the project or service for which you’ll be raising the money (1). Additionally, ensure that they’re willing to do the careful planning and implementation work which will be vital to the success of your fundraiser, or fundraisers. Ideally, over time, as you do fundraisers, have experienced members of your group train those who join your group but have no experience in raising money.

Thorough Planning

Meet Regularly, Weekly if Possible

During the planning phase of the fundraising event, try to hold weekly meetings to foster accountability and to maintain the morale and forward momentum of the group. It is important that the meetings have a very clear focus and that they last only 15-20 minutes, as people’s time is extremely valuable.

Be organized and plan each part of the fundraiser: goals, how the money will be used, who will be invited and how invitations will be extended, what will happen the day of the event, and evaluation.

Set Clear Goals

During the planning stage be sure to set forth clear goals in terms of how much the group wants to raise and what resources will be needed to achieve those goals (2).

Determine Exactly How the Money will be Used

Clearly set forth exactly how the money will be used once it is raised. Make sure that all your participants and supporters will be in agreement.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. Look at Others’ Efforts

Don’t be afraid to study fundraisers that other groups have done in order to learn from their successes or lack thereof. Be sure to share with your group successes that other groups and/or organizations have enjoyed so that they (your group) are motivated. This encouragement can make group members feel empowered which may generate better fundraising results.

Inviting Attendees

Start with Who You Know (“Warm” invitations)

Encourage members of your group to invite people they know to attend the fundraiser before they reach out to those outside their circle of family, relatives, friends, and acquaintances. In so doing, individuals in your group will gain confidence in inviting people to the fundraiser and bridging into inviting people they don’t know.

Avoid “Cold Calling” Unless It is Necessary

“Cold-call” invitations should be avoided whenever possible. Unforeseen invitations are often refused, and, however politely the refusal is made, this can erode the morale of the group.

Do the Event

Your planning should make the event easy. It will still be work, but with good planning you have no need to be nervous. Just follow the schedule that you create, and it should all fall together.

Evaluate After the Event

Be sure to evaluate the fundraising event that you’ve just conducted. Several questions should be raised to this end (3):

  1. What things at the fundraiser worked, or went well?
  2. What things did not go well? Analyze why those things didn’t go well? How can the same mistakes be avoided in the future?
  3. What was the fundraising goal versus that was actually raised?
  4. Were the objectives of the fundraiser broken down in to easily manageable steps?

In Summary:

Plan well, invite your “warm” supporters, do the event and evaluate. Following these fundamentals, you should be able to do many fundraisers to help you raise the money you need.


 

About the Author

Dave S. Morse is a freelance writer/editor in Knoxville, Tennessee who also serves as a volunteer community advocate. Dave holds Master’s degrees in Christian Service and Management/Public Administration from NW Christian College (now NW Christian University) and the University of Phoenix Online, respectively, and has a strong passion for social justice.


 

Sources:

1. http://www.justfundraising.com/fundraising-101/
2. http://www.tripointfundraising.com/4-super-easy-processes-for-raising-more-money/
3. http://www.asce.org/uploadedFiles/Young_Member_Groups_-_New/YM%20Webinar-Fundraising.pdf

Image used with permission. Copyright: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo