Reportedly, there are over $10 Billion US in coins currently gathering dust as spare change in piggy banks and old cookie tins in homes all across America. One great way for your fundraising group to get your hands on this money is through coin collection jars and banks located around the town where your group members work and live.
Start your campaign by locating mason jars, wooden bird houses, coin tubes, acrylic boxes, honor boxes or whatever collection container you plan to use. Your group can purchase acrylic donation boxes through e-bay or online through various vendors.
Next ask your volunteers to suggest locations in town where they may have a connection to the management. Business owners are more likely to allow a fundraiser if they know the person asking is a regular customer.
Kick off your campaign with your entire fundraising team to raise awareness and support of your fundraiser. Release an announcement to the press detailing the monetary goal, what the money will be used for, and showing a few locations where your coin jars will be located. Donors like to give to causes they feel comfortable with, they like to know how the money will be used, and like to see how easy it is to give at their favorite shopping locations. Create a slogan for your campaign to brand it with your group’s logo and make your collection containers easily identifiable. A few examples are “Change the World” or “Change their luck with just a buck” which play with the word ‘change’ nicely.
The best places to position your collection jars are at any location that deals with cash and has an employee nearby to keep a watchful eye over the coins. Starbucks, donut shops, fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s or Chik Fil A, lunch time restaurants such as steakhouses or buffets, grocery store check out lines, convenience stores, banks, card shops, hair salons, and other places that deal with coins on a regular basis are ideal. If your fundraising group has a connection at any business location, even one that doesn’t deal with coins regularly, feel free to place a jar there to show support on a wide basis around town.
Here are a few tips to get your coin collection campaign off to a great start.
1- Set a goal! Decide on a dollar amount of certain number of coins that you want to reach. This will help push your participants to reaching a goal, instead of just dropping in one or two coins. Make the goal meaningful to your group, such as the number of clients served by your group, the number of miles around your county, the weight of animals saved, or another factoid that makes the goal purposeful and meaningful. Set a goal for the length of time you will collect the coins. If this is designed as an ongoing campaign, be sure to give regular updates to the public on your group’s success towards reaching your final goal.
2- Make it easy for businesses to support you. Ask for permission from the manager to leave a jar or coin collection bank near the cash register. Leave a business card with them, and attach your phone number and the name of only two or three people who are authorized to pick up money. Plan to collect money at least once a week, and ask the store to call if the jar looks too full and tempting.
3- Use the right coin holder for the location. A large Big Belly bank or a Vortx swirling coin collector would work better in a larger tabletop area than on a small cash register counter. Honor boxes with candy next to the coin collection box would work great in restaurants or banks. If your group works with animals, place a bank shaped like a dog or cat at each location. If your group is raising money for kids, include photos and brochures of your services. This coin collection campaign can also be used as a public awareness campaign.
4- Take security seriously. Keep the jar in plain sight, and close to the cash register where an employee can see it. Using double stick tape or velcro will help keep the container in place and out of the hands of pranksters. Security coils for acrylic donation boxes are also easily installed. Don’t allow the jars to overfill. Pick up regularly, only using the designated volunteers at each location. Leave a few coins and one or two dollar bills (or a $5 bill) inside the bank to “seed” the pot and show how people are donating larger sums.
5- Monitor the routes and chart your success. Keep track of which volunteer collects at which locations and on what days. Chart the success of various banks at the locations to see which ones are doing better, and determine which ones might need to be moved.
Wrap up your campaign with one last announcement to your fundraising team and the media detailing your great success. Thank the town for their participation in your campaign, and note how the money raised will create a great change in your community. With their spare change, your community members are able to help your fundraising group change the world.
About the Author: Danielle Hamilton is the editor of HumaneFundraising.com and moderator of a Yahoo group dedicated to helping animal rescue groups raise money for animals.