Fundraising: What should you know?
Fundraising can have many benefits for youth groups, including 4-H, but consider a few overarching ideas before beginning.
Fundraising can be a double win for groups and their members – youth will learn valuable life skills and the group will add resources to its treasury for future educational opportunities. Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development has a newly revised “Financial Manual for 4-H Volunteers: Leading the Way to Financial Accountability” that can serve as a resource for volunteers as they work with youth through fundraising opportunities. There are a few main considerations for all groups to remember regarding fundraising as a 4-H group.
- Fundraising should not be the main focus of group activities nor should it exclude any individual from participation. The focus of 4-H is on education and positive youth development. Fundraising is not why 4-H groups exist unless the group is a designated 4-H fund development entity. Participation or lack of participation in a fundraising activity should not determine whether a youth can be involved in a program or activity.
- It should be done for the good of the total group and it should be consistent with Michigan 4-H’s fundraising policies outlined in the financial manual for 4-H volunteers and financial manual for 4-H treasurers. Fundraising cannot be specified for certain youth and must stay true to the policies and mission of 4-H.
- An educational component needs to be part of all fundraising activities and a group needs to be able to clearly state the educational value and purpose of the fundraiser.
- Profits should be used to benefit the entire group’s youth whether or not they participated in a fundraiser. This is important because groups conducting fundraisers are expected to support the financial needs of the total group and, when possible, to assist with participant costs in county, state, national and international 4-H programs. Fundraising provides a method to support youth who may not have the resources to attend an event without financial assistance.
- Local groups may also choose to raise money for their group’s educational and recreational goals through fundraising, dues or both. A variety of income methods can help provide a small pool of money to support different projects and activities.
- Local groups may include fundraising as an occasional community service-based project. However, it is not the intent of 4-H to regularly raise money for others. If this is done, all communication on the community service fundraiser must clearly state that the proceeds or profit are going to that specific cause.
A County 4-H Fundraising Application must be turned in at least 10 days prior to a 4-H fundraiser regardless of whether the fundraiser is for 4-H or as a community service project. It is always important for 4-H groups, volunteers and members to work with their Michigan 4-H staff member to ensure 4-H fundraising policies and procedures are being followed and that the local office can support the group in a successful fundraising project.
For more information on fundraising, see the accompanying article “Questions to ask before you fundraise.”