By Andrea Finney, DSAW-La Crosse Walk Raffle Captain & Mom to Levi
Asking for help is a very difficult thing for me to do. I don’t like to ask for money, I don’t like to ask for people to pitch in, I even feel guilty about asking a babysitter to come over – and I am paying them! All ridiculous, I know… So when it comes to fundraising, I struggle. It is out of my comfort zone, but it’s something that needs to be done for our group to thrive. This year I am really putting our family out there to make a difference. We don’t really have a good support system in the way of asking family and friends for financial support, so we are thinking out of the box. How can I contribute to the group and how can I make a difference for my son and every other person in our community with Down Syndrome?
The words are hard for me, but I sure can put together an email! I made the decision that I wanted to be an integral part of putting together the raffle for the walk. This is one way that I can help to raise money. I can research, and I can send out tons of emails talking about our kids and asking for support in that way. In researching companies that make donations, other groups raffle strategies, I see many other opportunities for fundraising. When I narrowed that down to opportunities that are available LOCALLY, there really are a lot of options available.
I started thinking about team fundraising around World Down Syndrome Day. I work for a company that is pretty involved with community, so I thought I would start here. I spoke with our Human Resource department and I was able to get an approval for a special “Jean’s Day,” with the proceeds going to DSAW. This day raised close to $350 on behalf of Levi’s Top Guns.
The fundraiser we were able to do that really got the kids involved was a carwash. My husband manages the Auto Value in West Salem, so this made sense to me. He is a car guy, his business sells car care products, and there is a steady stream of customers in and out of their parking lot. His store sponsored the supplies needed, I supplied the kids, and we raised almost $400 for our team. This was an event that Levi was able to participate in, so for me, that was a huge win. He is just 6 years old, but HE is raising money for HIS team! It was a great day, a great experience for him, and something we will continue to do in future years for our walk team fundraising.
Another opportunity we had with Auto Value was networking through the stores. This is a company with many locations in our area. So while a large sponsorship was not feasible for his store budget, he made the connections with other store managers. Everyone pitched in a little which was manageable for their charitable giving budgets, but it made a huge impact for an overall donation. He was able to collect $500 from 5 stores working together.
There are a lot of other opportunities that we are hoping to participate in over the months leading to the walk as well. As a group, there is a Brat Barn through Festival Foods, a “Save Ferris Day” at the Breakfast Club, and a ride through the Beer By Bike Brigade, to name a few. There are also opportunities through local restaurants to have a percentage of sales donated – Culver’s, Dairy Queen, and Arby’s are a few examples – minimal effort, major impact to our loved ones. It just takes a phone call to get the wheels in motion, and maybe a little manpower for a few hours on our parts. There are companies locally that “round up” for charities, there are chicken Q’s, or there are just utilizing your personal contacts. Utilizing them for monetary donations, or for product donations to be used for our raffle. Think of who you know… do you or someone you know do personal sales? Someone that manages or has connections at a local business? Someone that offers a service? These are all things that can bring in funding to sustain our chapter from year to year by way of the walk raffle.
This group has been such an important part of my family’s lives. The resources we have because of it, and the people we have met along the way. I want this to be available to our family for many years to come, and I want Levi and his friends to have endless opportunities because of the work this group does. To make that happen, we have to work at it. I am excited to be a part of this and make things happen and I look forward to finding new opportunities to make a difference!