Sunscreen for Supporters: Encouraging generosity with voluntary donations

Hundreds of dollars stuffed in a glass jarWhen it comes to fresh fundraisers, pay-what-you-will donation drives can be an exciting twist on classic events. Voluntary donation fundraising can be a great way to update old and tired fundraisers, or utilize new opportunities.

We’ve discussed the science behind the model’s success — donors feel proud to choose donating of their own accord, as opposed to purchasing goods in exchange for their support, and tend to be more generous in their giving.

Booster clubs have applied this thinking to bake sales, and generated considerable success. But clubs can find other fundraising opportunities for this model, as well. One organization capitalized on a basic and reliable need — sunscreen at a music festival — to encourage donors’ generosity. Rock Med volunteers collected bottles of sunscreen to offer attendees of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival, asking would-be sunburned guests to give whatever they could in exchange for use of the donated lotion.

cute child applying  sunscreen  at the beachSunscreen booths fit naturally into the average booster club’s program: the fundraiser can be integrated into existing school events, like sports games, walk-a-thons and relays. More importantly, they provide value to both the club and the donor. Research has shown teenagers are liable to skip sunscreen, but that good habits instilled in childhood can make a difference.

Before booster clubs set out collecting donations, it’s important to know what you’re offering. Sunscreen labeling isn’t always clear, and organizations like the Environmental Working Group and Consumer Reports publish helpful guides to which lotions are best.

Rankings and protection factors aside, easy access to sun protection is what makes all the difference, says medical researcher Adele Green.

“The more important issue is applying the sunscreen well and reapplying it often,” according to Green.

When the weather warms up, try a sunscreen booth at a track meet. For now, get creative: check out school and community event calendars, brainstorm supplies or treats attendees might need, then get started collecting supplies!

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