Monthly Archives: February 2012

Top 7 Youth Fundraising ideas

The most important rule in planning a youth fundraiser is to make sure that everybody has fun!

These ideas will work well for a youth group, a church young people’s group, non-profit group or a youth sports (e.g. football, baseball) group.

Here are seven ideas to get your fundraising started:-

Sales -if you type in “youth fundraiser” on any search engine you’ll find offers to sell cookie dough, pizza cards, scratch cards, candles, sports goods and plenty more. Depending on the age of the children and the type of group, the locality, consider which of these are likely to be well received in your area. Using existing contacts with family, neighbours and friends alone can be quite profitable.

Car wash – this can be a profitable way to raise funds. It will need good planning. A great free guide to organising a successful car wash event is available from http://www.carwashguys.com , called “How to run a successful car wash fundraiser” and is written by Lance Winslow.

Fundraising auction – clear out the garage, spring clean the house, ask for donations – and then auction!. Publicise your auction well in advance around the neighbourhood, invite friends and family, have a printed list of auction items and get someone you trust to run the actual auction itself for you.

Sponsored event – such as a walk, sleepover, or 24 hour sports event – your young people will have their own ideas as to what they’d like to do!

Photos – arrange for a photographer to come for a day or evening. Book a time slot for families, children, publicise the event. Arrange a good level of commission on all photographs purchased and ensure plenty of flyers are available to distribute.

Website advertising – does your group have a website? Could you set up a free blog to keep people informed? If so, consider selling advertising space to local suppliers who may be interested – e.g. the local sports shop.

Dance/Disco/Live Music/Barbeque/Casino event – any event that will work for your locality. Obviously, some church youth groups might find a casino night inappropriate. However, most of these are suitable for young people to help to arrange and to attend.

For other ideas to raise money, get your group together and do a little brainstorming. Everyone will have ideas that they can contribute and this will help to get them involve in the fundraising effort.

Remember to follow some simple rules:- Never go out fundraising alone, but always in groups of at least two.

Have some printed information about your project and how much you are planning to raise.

Involve as many friends and family members as you can – they will want to support what you are involved with.

Have fun! Thanks for visiting our hints and tips on organizing a youth fundraiser.

For further hints and tips on fundraising, visit Simple Youth Fundraising Ideas

Top 7 fundraising ideas

Have you been given the job of organising a fundraising event and are stuck for ideas? Here’s seven great and simple ideas that you can organise:-

Cookie Dough fundraisers

This is an ideal fundraiser for all times of the year. Just take orders and sell tubs of delicious cookie dough to your group. Profit margins 30-50%.

Fundraising Cookbooks

Often described as a recipe for fundraising success (groan!) – creating a personalized cookbook is ideal for groups such as churches, schools, charities and hospitals. New publishing techniques make it easy to profit from selling just a few or even hundreds of cookbooks. Profit per book from $3-$10.

Pizza Fundraiser cards

People will be happy to pay for these cards which entitle them to free pizzas. If your group is spread out geographically, this may be ideal. Ideal for small groups due to small minimum order requirements. Profit margins 70-90%.

Scratch card fundraising

Easy to order and can be printed to link to your group e.g. basketball, baseball, high school, etc. Each person in your group begins fundraising with 1 scratch card. They simply approach friends, family, and neighbors and ask them to scratch too! Profit ranges from 90% upwards.

Fundraiser candles

Everyone loves candles and especially scented candles! Simply take orders from friends and families – these items are especially good for Christmas fundraising. Profit margin 50%

Candy fundraising

Ideal for easter or summer fundraising events – sales of candy can be profitable. You can sell the chocolate at school, pep rallies, sports events, businesses or just person to person. Profit margin 50-60%.

Fundraising brochures

Brochure fundraising allows you to raise money by offering products from color brochures to family, friends, neighbors and business associates. Ideal for Christmas fundraising. Profit margins 40-55%.

These fundraiser ideas are great, for:-

high school fundraising

college fundraising

cheerleading fund raising

fundraising for youth groups

sports group fundraising

Set yourself a target, establish a plan of action, involve parents, teachers and students and go for it!

For further easy fundraising ideas, visit Simple Fundraising Ideas

This article was submitted by Jennifer Carter, author of School Fundraising ideas

New Procedure for Settling Tax Debts with the IRS

The Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005 has ushered in new rules for settling tax debts with the IRS. Here is the scoop on the compromise procedures.

New Procedure for Settling Tax Debts with the IRS

If you owe the federal government back taxes, there are two approaches you can take to resolve the issue. The first is to file an installment agreement wherein you agree to pay off the debt by making monthly payments. The second is to try to settle the bill with a one time payment, which is often relatively low given your position you will not reasonably have the money to pay back the total bill. This rules and procedures related to this second approach have changed dramatically.

The settlement process, often called an offer in compromise, underwent a massive change with the passage of the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. Starting July 16, 2006, the new rules go into affect and they are a bear. The biggest issue is you now must pay 20 percent of your offer amount to even have the settlement offer considered!

The procedure now works as follows. To file an offer in compromise, you must prepare and file Form 656. This form essentially lays out your assets, income, debt amount and the offer you are making given these figures. You must pay $150 when submitting the bill. You must also now pay 20 percent of your offer amount. Neither of these amounts is refundable.

It may take the IRS up to two years to get around to making a decision. If the agency accepts your offer, it will send you acknowledgement and the terms thereof. If the agency does not accept the offer, it keeps your deposit and comes after you. Welcome to the wonderful world of taxes!

There are two exceptions to the 20 percent deposit rule. If you are a low income taxpayer under IRS rules, you need not make the deposit. Further, if you are contesting the taxes due because you believe there has been an error and you are not reasonably responsible for them, you need not file the deposit. Keep in mind the reason must be reasonable, not one of the arguments that nobody has to ever pay taxes.

The new procedures for filing for tax debt settlement are odd given the new 20 percent deposit amount. However, this still represents the best way for dealing with tax debts.

Tips for Organizing Your Fundraiser

1- Have a written project plan

Run your fundraiser like a small business. Have a written project plan that spells out all roles and responsibilities.

Slot motivated individuals into those roles and equip them with everything they need to do a great job.

2- Use your website

If you don’t have one, get one. Use it to communicate goals, thank your sponsors, highlight periodic offerings, recognize successes, honor individual contributors, etc. Promote your web site on all your materials.

3- Review previous records

See what’s been successful before. Look for ways to improve upon the past.

What items sold best? Get more of them.

Has your gift-wrap sale lost its luster with declining revenues?

Jazz it up with newer offerings.

4- Set a specific timeline

Make sure that your start date and end date are both firm.

The best selling period is 17 days, including 3 weekends.

Any longer and the drive runs out of gas; any shorter and you limit your prospects.

Avoid any scheduling conflicts.

Plan ahead to avoid overlapping other important community events, holidays, etc.

5- Actively recruit volunteers

Get more and better volunteers by going after them. Don’t wait for them to come to you.

Use a calling tree to root out prospects.

Ask for dads, older siblings, and grandparents to get involved.

Advertise for specific help via newsletters and word of mouth.

6- Identify needs and define roles

Do it ahead of time and match your group’s needs to each volunteer’s skills and availability by including it in each position’s description.

7- Use different people

Double up, particularly for key positions.

Fill organizational roles well ahead of time with different people than on the last fundraiser, unless there is a good reason not to switch.

8- Start early to broaden participation

Put the word out early and often about what volunteers you need.

Get plenty of them so no one feels overworked.

Offer a volunteer sign-up sheet for different events at every meeting.

9- Have a master sergeant

Use a strong communicator to help group and assign volunteers.

Some people are a natural for this key role.

10- Set small group goals

Break overall goal down into what’s needed from each sub-group.

Set up each unit with their own goal and translate that into what’s in it for them.

Reward each sub-group based on their own success. That will reinforce the correlation between funds raised and their own efforts.

Three Great Fundraising Event Ideas

These three fundraising events work well for any size group. To maximize your success, you must create awareness within the community of both the specifics of your fundraising event and the reason why your group is raising funds.

Both are important to any fundraiser, but they are absolutely critical for pulling off a successful event. You have to generate enough publicity to draw a sizable audience and you must motivate the attendees to support your program.

So, which fundraising events shall we talk about?

Three Event Ideas:

1- Get The Picture

2- Rubber Duck Derby

3- Clean Comedians

#1 – Get The Picture

Get The Picture is a name I coined for portrait event fundraisers. The idea here is to offer family portraits, glamour shots, vintage photos, and other “dressy” pictures.

You’ll need a central location with plenty of room for costume changes, picture-taking backdrops, and a waiting area. The best times are usually Saturdays. Pre-sell the event with flyers and reserved session” tickets.

You’ll want to get photo commitments up front from 250 people to make this worth your while.

Your sales pitch should “Focus on the Fun:”

Capture The Moment (before it slips away)

Dress up Picture Party (be there or be square)

Goofy Faces Wanted! (yours included)

Or tug at the heart:

When’s the last time you sent a family photo Christmas card?

They’re not getting any younger… Get a portrait!

Mother/daughter, Father/son – Pictures last a lifetime!

Your group can coordinate with a local photographer or partner with a national photography chain. One that I recommend is Vista Studios. They offer a 10×13 family portrait for $8 and your group gets paid $6, plus additional performance bonuses.

#2 – Rubber Duck Derby

The Rubber Duck Derby is an easy and fun fund-raising event that can be scaled in size to fit your group’s supporter base. The actual event, crazy as it may sound, involves racing rubber ducks down a local waterway.

Your local community “adopts” the ducks for a chance to win valuable donated prizes. Duck races have become a unique and profitable event for many charities.

Your group sells a ticket linked to a number that’s painted on one of the racing rubber ducks. Depending on the prizes involved, tickets are priced somewhere between $5-$10 a ticket.

A standard size for a race is 3,000 rubber ducks, but you can adjust that up or down depending on the size of your group and the amount you need to raise.

Large plastic bags full of the ducks are simultaneously emptied into the water. The winning duck is the one that floats to the finish line first.

It adds a little extra zing to the old-fashioned raffle ticket sale. Prizes can also be awarded in various categories to add to the festivities. Many groups organize their “race” around a group picnic near the waterway and make a leisurely afternoon out of your fundraiser event.

A company called Great American Duck Races can supply you with everything you need.

#3 – Clean Comedians

The third of our fundraising events is Clean Comedians. They offer over 50 performers capable of meeting almost any entertainment need. These hilarious entertainers will have your audience rolling with laughter — and no one will be offended!

All you need to coordinate is a hall or auditorium and arrange an audience. Sell tickets up front or at the door. If you want to make additional funds, you can also offer food items as well.

If your group is small, partner with another organization and split the profits. Many groups are reporting record giving with this unique “Bucks through Yuks” approach.

Hundreds of schools have used Clean Comedians for years to provide top quality entertainment for their students. From stand-up comedians and impressionists – to musicians, magicians, and jugglers – their performers provide outstanding, clean entertainment for any group.

Not only are these guys hilarious entertainment, but each performer also has several messages focusing on important issues students face today.

Performances can be arranged at this web site: Clean Comedians

Special Events – Wrap-up

Pick an event that suits the talents and size of your group. Then, focus your energies in getting your message out to your potential supporters. These fundraiser events will do the rest.

Need a Copy of Your Tax Return Information?

Taxpayers have two easy and convenient options for getting copies of their federal tax return information – tax return transcripts and tax account transcripts – by phone or by mail.

A tax return transcript shows most line items from the tax return (Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ) as it was originally filed, including any accompanying forms and schedules. It does not reflect any changes you, your representative or the IRS made after the return was filed. In many cases, a return transcript will meet the requirements of lending institutions such as those offering mortgages and student loans.

A tax account transcript shows any later adjustments either you or the IRS made after the tax return was filed. This transcript shows basic data, including marital status, type of return filed, adjusted gross income and taxable income.

Request either transcript by calling 1-800-829-1040, or order by mail using IRS Form 4506-T, Request for Transcript of Tax Return. The IRS does not charge a fee for transcripts, which are available for the current and three prior calendar years. Allow two weeks for delivery.

If you need a photocopy of a previously processed tax return and attachments, complete Form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Form, and mail it to the IRS address listed on the form for your area. There is a fee of $39 for each tax period requested. Copies are generally available for the current and past 6 years.

The Real Thing About Fundraising

Fundraising is both challenging as it is rewarding. Raising the needed fund for a worthy cause is indeed spiritually and emotionally satisfying. Every school organization may want to extend a helping hand to those folks who are in dire need. The prospect beneficiary could either be a charitable institution, an orphanage, a community project, and the likes. However, no matter how pure the intention is, school funds can be exceptionally tight. Even the school itself needs aid from people who have a kind heart to give out donations.

When your school organization aims to help out through whatever possible means regardless of who or which is the beneficiary, fundraising is just the most precise thing to do. Is it not much fulfilling on your part to put out the best possible effort you can in order to earn money for a specific cause or if you’re earning money to help others? Of course it is!

Confused of which fundraising strategy to go for? There are a lot of fundraising ideas to opt for which may either be simple or a bit complicated. As a matter of fact, it is usually the simplest plan which works best.

What can fundraising do for you?

Due to the fact that fundraising stirs the best out from you, the feeling of being able to help the needy is particularly spiritually and emotionally gratifying. Fundraising campaigns are as well beneficial for your organization as it heightens the return of good and positive feedbacks that your group may get.

Apart from all other glorifying aspects which fundraising generate, one’s creativity, organizational skills, communication dexterities, and firmness as likewise enhanced. During fundraising ventures, you and your group mates get the chance to interact with people from all walks of life and be able experience for yourselves the real score outside of the world which you are traditionally confined in.

Fundraising Ideas

There are a number of fundraising ideas that your school organization can choose from. The most common fundraising ideas are selling sandwiches, candy and chocolate bars, shakes, beverages, meal coupons, concert tickets, basketball game tickets, discount coupons, personalized shirts, mugs, pens, and other collectible items, and so on. Cooking and then selling the output from the recipes you have collected can also be effective. You can try selling them to the school’s population or to the outside community. Your organization can even team up with the school’s sports games and earn profit from the ticket sales. Or, your organization may stage a concert for a cause. Garage sale and car washing is also among the trendiest fundraising activities these days.

Things to Consider in Fundraising

After finally deciding on which fundraising idea to go for, there are two major things which must be borne in mind. The first thing is to carefully think about the percentage of profit that you will make out of the fundraising activity. When your organization had opted to team up with another organization or some company, the agreement must be put into writing.

Next, it is significant to make sure that the products you put up for sale for the fundraising campaign are worth it. Once the people know for a fact the real cause for the fundraising activity, they tend to be exceptionally generous.

Any fundraising activity needs careful planning. For the campaign to be highly successful, it is important that all members of your organization should concert enough effort for the realization of the specified goals.

Moving To A New Location Tax Information

In modern America, it is rare to find a person or family living in the same place for thirty years. Most of us move five or ten times, which means taxes become an issue.

Moving To A New Location Tax Information

I hate moving. Absolutely loathe it. I am sure you do as well. Nonetheless, you, me and everyone seem to move all the time. Whether we are buying and selling real estate or just getting a new start in a new location, there are lots of little things we have to get in order. While utilities and cable are first on the list of things to handle, most people fail to pay close attention to tax issues and miss out on some juicy deductions.

If you are moving, you are inevitably going to dish out some cash for movers, a truck, boxes, gas, hospital visits, aspirin, more aspirin and so on. Fortunately, these expenses may be deductible on your next tax return. There are three tests you have to meet.

Initially, you have to be starting work at a new job location. Many misunderstand this requirement to mean that you have to already have a job when you move and that is the reason for the move. This is incorrect. You must simply find a new job once you have moved.

The second requirement deals with timing issues. Assuming you are going to start a new job, you must actually start within a prescribed time. This time period is a year from the date of the move. This should be relatively easy to comply with as the lack of a new job within a year probably will mean you have returned to your old job and location.

The third test is known as the distance test. The IRS calls this the closely related in place test. Essentially, you have to be able to show the distance from your new residence to your new job is smaller than the distance from your previous residence to the new job. Your new job location must also be at least 50 miles from your old one. This should be pretty simple for most people to show. If you can’t meet this test, you can get around it by claiming the commute is easier and cheaper than your old one.

If you meet these tests, you can claim some nice deductions. They include travel expenses and all moving expenses reasonably related to the move including 30 days of storage. Sorry, but you don’t get to deduct hotel stays and food. Regardless, you can claim the deductions on form 3903. Just attach it to your 1040 when you file.

The Little Souls Dolls

Little Souls dolls are valuable and unique treasures created by children who are in need. Sales benefit those very children and part of the sales go to the Children’s Hope Foundation.

The concept behind the toys is as sweet and endearing as the faces themselves. Each doll is created by hand, just as you would suspect. The beauty lies in who makes the Little Souls Dolls and who benefits from the sales.

They reminded me of something my great-great grandmother would make by hand for a beloved child. When I read about the history to the Little Souls Dolls, I knew that I had to have one.

Little Souls Dolls look like folk art, each one with a unique and loving face that is sure to warm your heart. Upon looking at the collection of dolls available online, I immediately fell in love with the quaint toys that beckon the onlooker to another time and place.

The children create the dolls while staying in the hospital. Each child is given instructions and materials necessary to create the doll. They also make up a story about the Little Souls Dolls they build. Many of the children who make the dolls are quite ill and they find great joy in attending the doll making class and they find great joy in creating a new friend.

The Little Souls Dolls that you buy are not the same ones created by the children. Those stay with their makers, but the doll company takes photographs of the dolls and they write down the stories that accompany the toys. The photographs and stories are sent to Ardmore, Pennsylvania where they are duplicated by the employees of the Little Souls Doll Company.

Proceeds from each sale benefit the very children who make the precious toys. The concept behind the toys is quite brilliant and moving. It takes quite a bit of time and money for the company to send employees to various hospitals across the United States. The materials for the dolls are donated by the company as well.

The stories, on the other hand are completely free. Perhaps the stories created by the children are of more value than the dolls themselves. I find the Little Souls Dolls to be of great importance. They represent the many lives of children who struggle with illness at such young ages. They are reminders of how very delicate our lives really are.

The Importance of Location in Fundraising

Location, Location, Location!

There are few things that are more important than location. It not only

applies to real estate, but to fundraising too.  Here are some tips to

expand your horizons when trying to maximize your fundraising efforts.

Traditionally, fundraising efforts are concentrated on:

-Friends

-Neighbors

-Relatives

-Co-workers

Besides the usual suspects, there is a whole lot of money in other places right under your nose.

You have to go where the money is. The big money in fundraising is being located where people are shopping. They are out and about with cash or checkbooks in hand.

There’s no better time than that for offering a quality fundraising product at these locations:

-Drugstores

-Home Improvement Stores

-Grocery Stores

-Shopping Malls

Drugstores – Nice entry-level sales spot. Generally have good sidewalk space available.

Home Improvement Stores – Big weekend traffic spots. Lots of do it yourselfers diving in to their next project.

Grocery Stores – Prime hunting grounds for product fundraisers. A small, high-quality food item does real well here.

Shopping Malls – Hard to get approval for outside space, but a location near the food court is golden.

And don’t forget the 800-pound gorilla: Wal-Mart – The Holy Grail of fundraising locations. A day spent fundraising in front of this high-traffic retailer is like being in fundraising heaven. You’ll have more potential prospects than you can shake a stick at.

Because of the sheer volume of Wal-Mart shoppers, you’ll

need oversize signage to get your fundraising message across quickly before

your prospects hurry on in

Casing the Joint Ahead of Time

You want the best location for your weekend fundraising table. Scope out the lay of the land. Check which entrance gets the most foot traffic.

Find out who is in charge at this location. Often it’s the store manager, but occasionally it might require approval from the regional manager or

shopping center management. Don’t expect them to drop everything to speak with you. If necessary, set up an appointment to seek permission

Be prepared with a two-minute overview of

Who – Tell them who you (and your group) are

What – Describe what your fundraiser involves

When – Have a primary date and an alternate one picked out

Where – Identify the exact spot you’d like to use

Why – Give the specific reason you are raising funds

How – Summarize your proposed activities at their location

It’s a good idea to have everything written up in a well-prepared letter. Stick to the basics as described above. If you have group letterhead, use it!

Make sure that everything will go smoothly. Ask for the name of the contact person for your chosen date. Get permission, preferably in writing, just in case the weekend manager didn’t get the memo.

Setting Up for the Big Job

After you’ve cased the joint, you want to be prepared to pull off your fundraising bank job.

Location – There is often a separate set of entrance doors. You want to stake your claim right there. There should also be plenty of room for people to get by.

Signage – Look for good places to hang your signs and posters. They should be bright and bold with wording visible from thirty feet away. Highlight major benefits of the product and be sure to identify your purpose

Table Space – You want a large folding table, preferably 36×72. Place folding chairs on the side away from the door. Use a full-sized tablecloth to improve presentation.

Staffing – Schedule your fundraising teams with overlapping adult/child pairs. You want two adults and two children covering each 90-minute shift. Stagger the start/departure times by 30 minutes to avoid resource shortages.

Pulling It Off

To really break the bank, you have to have everything well planned. Timing and presentation are everything. You only have 30 seconds to capture your prospects attention and convince them to stop. Your fundraising should be well thought out in these areas:

Product – Make sure to choose a high-profit, cash and carry fundraiser. Fast food discount cards are excellent. So are quality food items such as cookies and gourmet treats like fudge. Sales items should be small, highly portable, and attention getting in their own right.

Samples – Product samples should be well-displayed and readily offered to each prospective client. In the case of food items, plates or trays of small nibble-sized morsels should be offered by the children involved.

Presentation – Sell the sizzle, not the steak! Accentuate product benefits, not features. Would you rather have a juicy, mouth-watering, flame-broiled Whopper or a hamburger?

Sales Patter – Talk a good game! Work from a loose script. Write down your best talking points as itemized bullets. Keep it short and simple. Tell them about your cause and be sure to ask for their help

Location Wrap

As you’ve seen, a great location delivers hundreds of potential customers right to you. All you have to do is stake your claim to the prime turf and go for it!

Don’t wait for your next fundraiser to suddenly grow wings. Plan ahead and pull off your own bank job instead.

Maximize your fundraising success with location, location, location!