By Morgan Henington You have the desire to go to camp, but not the money? Here’s some advice on how to get funding from resources you might not think of everyday… the companies and stores in your communities! Your city or town is no doubt a part of a Chamber of Commerce. A Chamber of Commerce is a local association of business people organized to promote the welfare of their community, especially its commercial interests. Each Chamber of Commerce usually has an elected board of directors, and its work is done through committees. Do some investigation on your Chamber to see if any board members have a special interest in band or youth performance. You just might be able to find an ally on the board to fund a scholarship(s) to Camp through the Chamber. Research businesses in your area that would be ideal to approach to help fund your trip to BOA. Banks, grocery stores and pharmacies are the perfect places to start with. These organizations want the positive p.r. and association with local residents. What better way to support the community you serve than by helping a student attend a “positively life-changing” event like the BOA Symposium? Your local Chamber will have the contact names you’ll need when fund-raising for yourself. Keep in mind that many larger retail outlets may have to check with their corporate headquarters before granting money, so start your search early. Sponsorship letters are a great way to fundraise individually. Write a little bit about yourself and the opportunities that await you at camp. Make copies of that letter and add the letter from BOA (download at bands.org/events/ssy) and send to relatives, doctors, and everyone you and your parents know. A $10 donation may not seem like a lot of money, but multiply that by ten or more people and the result can be well worth the time and effort. The more letters you send out, the greater response you will get. Some local companies may not have money to sponsor you, but their services could be of use, too! Ask a local restaurant if they would be willing to host a fundraising night, where a certain percentage of that night’s earnings would go to your program. Pass out fliers and alert the whole community about the event. It’s a great draw for the restaurant, and a great fundraiser for you. “Camp jars” are another idea that may turn profitable. Decorate a jar or can with a slit at the top and decorate it as you wish. Place a card on it to “Fund my Trip to the BOA Summer Symposium.” Ask local music retailers or even gas stations to place them by their registers to catch loose change from their customers. Pennies add up to dollars, and those dollars can cover your tuition and housing for camp. How about a group fundraiser for you and your friends who are going to camp? There are always car washes and bake sales, but what about a raffle or golf tournament? A raffle will require you to approach businesses for prizes. Most stores or banks will have some sort of extra merchandise that can be used for this purpose. All you have to do is ask and present your case. A golf tournament will be more involved than other fund-raisers, but the end result can be substantial. Find a local public golf course or country club that supports your efforts to attend the Symposium and set a date for your tournament. Invite the public to golf for $10-20 a person, with all proceeds going to your trip to the Symposium. Hang posters promoting the event and post listings in your local paper’s community section. Remember to thank your supporters. Write a personal letter of thanks after the event to every individual and organization who helped fund your trip. Tell them about your experiences — and if you plan to attend camp the following year, ask them to consider donating to your cause again. If you are graduating, encourage your supporters to help fund other students from your school next year. Have new ideas or success stories? What more ideas on personal fundraising? Visit Your Voice in the BOA Network at www.bands.org/network/
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