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Fundraising strategies

Most people would find walking 39 miles in a weekend daunting.  Speaking with many would-be participants of the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer,  I have found that most people think raising the $1,800 commitment is the most difficult part of the walk.   And my answer is “It all depends on how much effort you plan to put in”.

If you expect the money to sail into your walk account with no effort on your part,  you probably have a lot of really rich family members.   Lucky you :-).  I have found that about 1/2 of the money I raise comes from friends and family and the rest comes from other strategies, like the ones listed below.  So far this season, I have set up a table at 4 street fairs where I ask  for money. I’ll probably do another 3-4 fundraising events before the walk in October.

In 2007, I led a team of 28 team walkers and everyone raised at least $1,800 so everyone was eligible to walk. Eight walkers raised between $2,000-$2,999, seven raised between $3,000-$3,999, four raised between $4,000-$4,999, and two raised over $5,000 !

So develop your fundraising strategy and get started on reaching your goal!  You can do it.

Don’t forget to check out the excellent resources on the website.  There is a guide which provides many suggestions for fundraising.  Your walker buddy is also a great resource; They typically host a couple of fundraising clinics.

Here are some fundraising tactics which I have collected over the years to consider for your Avon Walk.


ScreenHunter_01 Jun. 18 20.46A number of people have told me they have been very successful hosting an event at a local bar.  Speak with your local bar owner about having an Avon Walk evening.  Each bar differs, some offer 10% of the total night’s sales others even more.

Offer a specialty drinks like a Pink Lady, Pink Pussycat, or Cosmopolitan.  To raise even more money, offer a 50/50 raffle.

Spread the word among your friends using Facebook and MySpace.  Send a mass email and ask your friends to send it to their friends, too.

Set up a pink table near the entrance and hand out pink ribbon pins to all the guests.  Have a jar to collect donations.  Don’t forget your coupon book in case someone wants to write a check or use a credit card.

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker half-filled with ice cubes: 2 oz. gin, 1 tsp. grenadine, 1/2 tsp cherry brandy, 1/2 oz. heavy cream, 1 egg white. Shake well. Strain into a martini glass.

Fill shaker ½ with ice. Pour in: 2 measures Gin, 2 measures Grapefruit Juice, 2-3 measures Pineapple Juice, ½ measure grenadine. Shake and strain into ice filled glass. Garnish with Pineapple Slice.

Fill shaker with ½ ice. Pour in: 1 ½ measure Vodka, 1 measure Triple Sec, Dash of Cranberry Juice. Garnish with Lime Slice.


Obviously, this tip works best for those of you who live in the frozen north.  My sister held a golf on the ice fund raising event. She raises money each year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).She set up 9 flags on the ice, drilled holes for the cups and provided the players with clubs and balls.   She asked each person to donate a “greens fee” to play the course.  The players tried not to hit the ball too hard, otherwise it went careening down the lake.

The kids were amazing!  They have no fear and were running after the balls.

Afterward, she served hot chocolate which she cleverly kept warm in a crock pot.

For those of you in warmer climes or just don’t like to go out in the cold, you can always set up a course in your yard on a warm, sunny day.


starbucksMany businesses will let you set up a small table and fundraise in front of their establishment.  Try your local supermarket, box store, or coffee shop.  Starbucks in Florham Park allowed me to set up a table.

Two members of Loretta’s Ladies set up a table in front of the Montclair Starbucks and they raised close to $800 !!!

The barisatas are very happy to provide information on the best day and time for your fundraising activity.

Bring your pink ribbons to hand out to prospective donors.


jeansMany places of business have strict dress codes where you practically wear the same thing everyday. Speak with your Human Resource department or manager to see if you can host a “Jeans Day”.

Have a day when people can donate money (for example, $5) in exchange to wear jeans or casual dress clothes. For an ongoing fundraiser, make it a regular Friday event for a month.

Another option is a sneaker day where people can leave their uncomfortable high heels at home and walk around in comfort.

FREE MONEY ! ! ! !

ScreenHunter_02 Jun. 17 22.01

Yes, you read the title of this blog post correct. There is FREE money available for your Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. Many companies offer matching gift programs. Matching anywhere from $0.50 -$2.00 for every dollar their employee donates to your walk. Remind each of your donors to check with their employer to see if matching gifts are available. Matching gifts can double (or even triple) your donations!

Don’t depend on a matching gift to meet your donation minimum. Procedures vary significantly from company to company, and some matching gifts may take months to process. Matching gifts will not be credited to your account until the check has been received from the company. For example, the company I work for can take 6-9 months to processes the check.

More information can be found on the Avon Walk website. Click on the link “Matching Gifts” on the left hand side of your Avon Walk webpage.


pink_flam Reports of large flocks of pink birds have been seen in northern NJ roosting in yards. A flock of pink flamingos has recently taken over the yard of a local home owner. The head flamingo carried a note with the group’s demands. Donate $5 to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer or the flock stays the summer.

This fundraising idea come from Janet. The basic idea involves deploying a flock of pink plastic flamingos in someone’s yard. A note is left explaining that the person has been selected by someone to be ‘flocked’ for a good cause. It then goes on to explain that they will have to pay $5 or $10 to have the flock relocated. The current flocking victim then gets to pick the next victim.

Of course, you will always run into a few people who don’t see either the humor or the good cause behind the flocking. Just remove the birds and have the previous recipient select a new victim and get things going all over again.

There is a small upfront investment in the flamingos, but you quickly recoup that cost with a couple of flockings. The original Pink Flamingo can be found at Oriental Trading also carries the birds. Write up your fundraising manifesto and place in a large plastic Ziplock bag or laminate it and attached to the the flock’s leader.

Publicity tips: Newspapers, radio and television stations are always looking for a humorous story, particularly one that’s for a good cause. Put together a press release stressing what the funds raised will be used for and include pictures of your entire flock at a prominent location. Be sure to include full contact information and the usual who, what, when, where, why, and how in your press release. Distribute it to all the media contacts in your market and then make follow-up calls to encourage good exposure.

To attract even more attention, some consider dressing up some of their birds in funny outfits. For instance, a cancer fundraiser might use doctor’s scrubs and nurse’s outfits on each flamingo.

Sample note:

This flock of pink flamingos is flying across town supporting the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. For a $5 donation, their trainer will come and remove them from your yard. For another $5 donation, the trainer will not only remove them, but will place them in someone else’s yard – you choose who. For an additional donation of $5 you can purchase flock insurance to ensure that the flamingos will not return to your yard.

Please call the flamingo trainer: (Your name and number).

These flamingos were sent to you by (name of sender).


cimg21570622For the past few years , I have set up a table at street fairs and craft shows to raise money for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

Try and find fairs that do not charge too much for the space. I did one street fair where the space cost $125 and I raised only $75 that day. Not one of the more successful days.

Put up signage about the Walk, wear your Walk t-shirt, and generally cover everything in pink.

I make earrings and bracelets to sell. The bracelets are made with really cheap plastic beads from Michael’s craft store, A C Moore, Walmart and Oriental Trading Company. I string the beads on elastic cord and add a pink ribbon charm and sell them for $10 donation. Be sure to make some smaller sizes for the little girls. Don’t feel like making bracelets ? Check out the ones available at Fundraising for a Cause. They even offer a Sampler Fundraising Kit with a large selection of items.

In addition, Oriental Trading has a large stock of Pink Ribbon items and just pink colored things. The little stuffed animals are a big hit. They are currently on sale for 12 animals for $12.99. Sell them for a donation of $5.00.

Place a large collection jar on the table for the money you collect. I like to prime the jar by putting some singles in it. As people walk by, say “Good morning”/”Beautiful day, are you enjoying the fair”, or other conversation starters.

My friend Geri, who joined me for today’s street fair, had a brilliant idea – dog biscuits ! Many people had brought their dogs to the fair. Definitely going to try this at next week’s street fair. And don’t forget those pink ribbon pins you made. Geri made 50 pins while we were at the fair.


chocolatebarsPurchase a box of candy from one of the warehouse stores like Costco, BJs or Sam’s Club.

Sam’s Club offers a 48 count box of M & M’s chocolates for just $21.48. That comes to just $0.45 a bag. Your profit, should you sell the bags of M & M’s for $1.00 would be $26.00. Sam’s Club has a Mix Chocolate Bar Variety Pack – 30 count for $12.84.

Place the box next to the coffee maker in your office. Write a sign explaining why you are selling the candy. Place an envelope with the box of candy.

There is a vending machine on the ground floor of the building I work in and the candy bars sell for $0.90. Many of my fellow office workers were very willing to spend the extra 10 cents to purchase the candy for my Walk instead of trekking downstairs.

I put the candy bars in a bowl with an envelop labeled “Eat Candy – Help women with breast cancer. Candy bars $1 each. Please place money in envelop”. The first bowl I put out contained 30 bars and after the last bar was taken, there were $30 in the envelop. I refilled the bowl. When I checked the envelop, there were more bars taken than dollars in the envelop.

What is it with people. I don’t see how one can steal from women with cancer. I told a few people at work and each one said “What did you expect. That’s the kind of people that work here”. One woman told me that in her department a coworker had placed a wrapped package labeled with her name in the fridge. The package contained 24 chicken cutlets which she was taking to a co-worker’s home after work. A group was going to sit shiva (a seven day mourning period). When she went to get the package, half of the chicken was missing.

Do things like this happen in your office or is it just my company that has a few low-lifes roaming around?


pinkteapotHost a Tea Party.  Invite your friends and their mothers, your friends and their daughter, and any combination of relatives.  Ask each guest to make a donation towards your walk.

Serve a few varieties of teas, for example, a black tea, a flavored black tea blend like Earl Grey, a green tea and and an herbal tea.

Your menu could include Carrot ginger tea sandwiches, Cherry scones, Grapefruit ambrosia, and Orange poppy seed cake. Check out a full list of high tea recipes.

Brewing a perfect cup of tea:

The traditional method of making a cup of tea is to place loose tea leaves, either directly, or in a tea infuser, into a tea pot or teacup and pour hot water over the leaves.  After a couple of minutes the leaves are usually removed, either by removing the infuser, or by straining the tea while serving.

The amount of tea and water differs from tea to tea but one basic recipe is one slightly heaped teaspoon of tea (about 5 ml) for each teacup of water (200 ml) (8 oz) . Stronger teas, such as Assam, to be drunk with milk are often prepared with more leaves, and more delicate high grown teas such as a Darjeeling are prepared with a little less.

Teas that have little or no oxidation period, such as a green or white tea, are best brewed at lower temperatures between 60 °C and 85 °C (140-185 °F), while teas with longer oxidation periods should be brewed at higher temperatures around 100 °C (212 °F). The higher temperatures are required to extract the large, complex, flavorful phenolic molecules found in fermented tea, although boiling the water reduces the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water.

More information on Tea can be found on Wikipedia.


boobiecupcakesMy friend Geri had a bake sale at her office to raise money for her Avon Walk.  She sold boob cupcakes.

Be creative.  Bake cupcakes in various sizes – A, B, and C cups for example.  Offer both vanilla and chocolate cupcakes.

Make them from scratch (vanilla, chocolate) or use a box mix. Hershey’s has awesome frosting recipes which I have included below:

VANILLA FROSTING: Beat 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) softened butter, 1/4 cup shortening and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Add 1 cup powdered sugar; beat until creamy. Add 3 cups powdered sugar alternately with 3 to 4 tablespoons milk, beating to spreading consistency. About 2-1/3 cups.

“PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING: Melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine; stir in 2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa. Add 3 cups powdered sugar alternately with 1/3 cup milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract beating to spreading consistency. About 2 cups frosting.

Add a little food color to some of the white frosting and use a piping bag to make the nipple.

If these are too risque for your place of business and you are concerned about being hauled off to HR, you can pipe on a pink ribbon on the top of the cupcake.


dsc_80410556For the past couple of years, I have used the following strategy very successfully. Start by going to your local craft store and purchasing a roll of pink ribbon and a package of safety pins. Spend an evening or two making pink ribbon pins.

You can find instructions here on how to make them. I added a pink rose to some of the pins. They are hot glued onto the ribbon. Michael’s Craft store carries colored safety pins and I thought they added a little extra pizazz to the pin.

Once you have your stash of ribbon pins, you need to find a place where you can distribute them, Many supermarkets will let you stand outside the store and solicit donations. Our local Starbucks was also very agreeable. I did have some store managers say no. In 2007, the Kings Supermarket chain let me stand in front of their store. There was a policy change in 2008 which banned such activities. The WalMart in Morris Plains said no, but I am told that other WalMarts have allowed people to fundraise. Read more.


screenhunter_02-mar-07-1853The other day, an Avon walker told me about a fundraising effort she had done. She went to a local bank with a drive through set up. The drive through was in the back of the building, not visible from the street. She asked if she could use the bank’s parking lot on a Sunday, the manager agreed.

On the day of the event, she had women in bikini tops holding signs on the side walk “Topless carwash $10″ and arrows pointing to the back of the bank. Cars were lined up waiting to go behind the bank. Once in line, there was no way to turn around. When the drivers made it to the front of the line, they were greeted by the local volunteer firemen, all topless, washing the cars. The fundraiser netted over $2,000.

A variation of the theme is to have kids wash the cars. The “topless” part comes in because they are too short to wash the roofs. The cars are clean except for the tops.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Philomena permalink
    March 20, 2010 10:49 pm

    AWESOME information. I will try to do some of the things you have on your site. I wish I had this information in like January. My walk is in May. Have fun at yours and good luck!!

  2. March 18, 2011 10:50 pm

    Hi –

    I had a question about the bracelets you make. YOu mentioned elastic cord. Do you use like stetch cord? Do you just make them stretch bracelets, or do you have to worry about findings and such for the jewelry as well? I am interested in making bracelets, but am nervous about dealing with the clasps nad such, but not sure if a stretch bracelet would end up coming out chintzy looking. Any suggestions?


    • March 19, 2011 4:01 pm

      Hi Lauren,
      I use stretch elastic for the bracelets. The beads are really cheap plastic and metal that I buy at Michaels, AC Moore and Oriental Trading. Make a couple of different sizes. Even though the elastic stretches, there is enough variety in wrist size that I recommend at least 2 sizes. A third, small size for children also sells well. Here is a photo of some of the bracelets I made: Remember, these bracelets are really just “a little thank you” to your donors.

  3. latoya permalink
    August 1, 2012 10:41 am

    I am sooo happy that i found your page! I am a first time avon walker ( charlotte: october) and needed some fresh ideas on fundraising. This is all new to me so i definitely needed help! Thanks so much!

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