Lisa Haisha once said, “Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader… they set out to make a difference.” This summer, we four ambassadors – Aashi, Shreyas, Anjana, and Ishaan wanted to make a difference. We decided to come together and run a fundraiser through the Empower And Help Ambassador Program.
We chose to run a bake sale for Team Trees, a fundraiser dedicated to planting trees worldwide. All donations go to the Arbor Day Foundation, a tree-planting organization that pledges to plant one tree for every U.S. dollar donated. We learned how to plan, organize, and execute a successful community fundraiser while also learning how to communicate better, understand and adapt to our customer’s needs. Here, we share the process of starting and running a successful fundraiser and how we split the responsibilities:
Step 1: Pick an organization.
First, we had to pick an organization. We made a Google Doc with a table that had different causes we could support, such as deforestation, cancer, and poverty. Then, we did some research to find websites and campaigns which supported each cause. After that, the four of us met together and decided on which one we wanted to support. We settled on Team Trees.
Step 2: Set fundraising goals.
After that, we had to pick what we would do to raise funds and set some goals. We thought about what would make sense to sell during the summer, which also played to our strengths. We chose to sell cookies because they would be easy to make and deliver. We also had to set a goal for how much we wanted to raise. We thought about our prices, how many people we were going to reach out to, and the cost of the supplies that we had to cover. Our goal was to raise at least $100.
Step 3: Flyer making
Then, it was time to make our flyers. Anjana started working on a Google form to take orders. Once she made the Google Form, she created a QR code that people could easily use to order. After that, we chose the template and designs from Canva to make the perfect flyer that would fit all of our needs, and we created just that. Our flyer included our cause (Team Trees), our QR code so that people could order, our contact information, the prices, and a sample picture of the cookies.
Step 4: Sales
Although we all worked towards this effort, Ishaan and Shreyas took the lead in getting the word out to the community for the fundraiser. To make sales, we each reached out to people we personally knew. We sent our flyer to them along with a text and used an excel sheet to track the orders we received.
Step 5: Baking the cookies
Aashi was in charge of baking most of the cookies. She picked out her favorite recipe and set a day to get the ingredients. To keep track of the funds, she bought all the ingredients on one receipt. Once she had what she needed, she was ready to start baking the cookies. She looked at which orders were required to be delivered and made sure she could make enough to fulfill those specific orders. She baked for around 3 hours each day to make 30-60 cookies and did that every day until we had enough to deliver.
Step 6: Delivering the cookies
Once the cookies were baked, our team would meet up and decide who we were going to deliver to, based on the number of baked cookies and where the customer lived.
Over the past few weeks, we learned how to take the initiative, overcome obstacles, manage our time, work with our teammates, and use our voices to help change the world for the better. We felt that splitting the responsibilities enabled us to work more efficiently and stay organized.
Overall, we felt that the community bake sale was a huge success. We surpassed our original goal and raised $270. We think that it is essential to learn how to give back to the community at any age. We are grateful to all the people who supported us, helped this fundraiser succeed, and we are thankful to them for helping us make a difference in the world.
[By Anjana Krishnan, Aashi Potdar, Ishaan Verma, and Shreyas Nalam are Empower And Help Student Ambassador from North Carolina]