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three boys in robot costumes for Halloween

"Homemade" fundraising as charming as these Halloween costumes

Did you ever have a homemade Halloween costume?

If you did, I bet you remember it well.

Homemade is not something you can easily forget.

In Cooper family lore, top homemade costume honors go to the cardboard box robots of 2006.

Here's what they looked like, along with the first part of a "mom blog" entry Julie wrote at the time:

Our boys — young men now — have talked about these costumes pretty much every year since then.

One reason: when they dropped a piece of candy, the big box around their body prevented them from picking it up. (That treat was tricked!)

It was not perfect — but awesome!!

Fundraising is like this.

If you do the same sorts of fundraising things all the time, they will have the impact of buying a costume from Amazon every year. Nice enough but not very memorable.

If you do something different, take a risk, make something "homemade" — you'll create something that may be kind of awkward but you'll definitely be making good memories.

Memories are moments — for you and your supporters.

Everyone wants and needs such moments.

We forget this sometimes and focus too much on money (or candy). But memories are connection. Memories are engagement. Memories are retention.

(And yes: connection, engagement, and retention are good for your bottom line.)

So how can you make your own tasty "homemade" memorable moments with your fundraising?

Good question!

Read on!

"Homemade" fundraising -- as charming as these Halloween costumes

Let's keep our Halloween analogy rolling right along . . .

If you want to make a homemade costume, you look around for what's at hand, and interesting, and readily able to be paired with a fun thought that springs to mind:

Hey, we have boxes!

Hey, we could make robot costumes!

The trick after that is taking the risk and doing the work.

Slice off the bottom of that big ole box. Measure and cut those arm and neck holes, just so. Gloop on that shimmery, metallic-looking paint.

In other words, you've got to go for it.

Now let's turn this into a simple fundraising formula:

  1. Notice what fundraising stories you have at hand. Think of all the details of those stories.
  2. Ask yourself, "Which of these details is most interesting?"
  3. Use that detail in a way you've never seen before.

Can we see an example?


Here's an excerpt from a fundraising appeal we recently wrote for a client:

Notice the first line: "Poop. 💩"

This is the detail we focused on. It fits the story and the offer, and it's interesting.

It's also a risk.

We leaned into that risk. It feels different, homemade. Memorable.

Memorable is good. We want memorable.

Homemade is good. We want homemade.

See below for text message screenshots showing how our boys now talk about those boxy robot costumes.

(And pease keep in mind that for a good many modern young men, sarcasm is a love language.)

Will's 2022 response:

Baye's 2022 response:

Sam's 2022 response:

For your next fundraising appeal, why not try on something "homemade"?

It may feel uncomfortable or even scary, but in the end we think you and your supporters will remember it fondly.

That's good news for your good cause.



While you're here...

Why not read a little more?

Here are a few more blog posts you might like:

1. Thank You for the "Mental Real Estate"

2. You Can't Feel "Empty Urgency"

3. X-ray of a Donor Newsletter -- "Know Your Bones"

4. You Can't Get Donors to FEEL It If You Don't Feel It First

5. What to Put in Your Donor Newsletter



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