As parents, we’ve listened to a fair share of our kids’ crazy ideas but what if you said yes more than you said no? A few years ago Emily had an idea that she was going to make and sell ribbon barrettes at our pool and raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). Less crazy than other ideas she’s had, I said yes to her setting up shop at our pool and selling barrettes to benefit CFF, a non-profit organization that supports innovative research program to discover and develop new and effective therapies for those born with cystic fibrosis like her best friend, Ava.
Three years later, Emily has raised over $4,500 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation selling one ribbon barrette at a time with hope that each sale will lead to a cure for her best friend’s genetic disease. Her fundraising efforts have been featured on Disney’s Babble, caught the attention of companies like KidzVuz who invited her to sell her barrettes at a holiday party and then matched sales, supported by companies and parents placing custom orders in the double digits for staff members and classmates, shared in the book, Simple Giving, and was awarded a college scholarship from Kohl’s at the age of 11 because she loves what she does for her best friend.
As her mother, I could tell you that Emily is extraordinary but in all honestly, she’s a 12 year old girl who loves drawing, devours books, fights with her brother from time to time, needs to be reminded about putting away her laundry, and has mastered eyerolling. She’s incredibly similar every other tween out there. The only difference is that she loves her best friend and decided she wanted to find a way to help.
Emily is one of many philanthrokids who champion causes near and dear to their hearts. From setting up a corner lemonade stand and donating profits to charity to taking Girls on the Run skills to the next level and running races benefitting favorite nonprofits, today’s kids are talking about causes they support to educate others and taking ideas.
Today’s generation is incredibly powerful. As parents, we need to empower them to take their ideas and run with them.
Over the past few years, I’ve learned a few things about passion fundraising and how to support my philanthro-girl that I thought I’d share with you for when your child comes to you with their charitable idea.
5 Ways Parents Can Support Their Philanthro-Kid
No good in the world can happen if we squash their ideas. Even though it’s our parental duty to protect our kids and saying yes may be scary and uncomfortable, chances are if your child has an idea that they believe in, you should believe in it too! When Emily approached me with her ribbon barrette idea, I was realistic with her. I didn’t know how well her barrettes would be received and didn’t want her to have unrealistic expectations about how much money she’d raise for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
We entered her passion fundraising project knowing that whatever money she made would be helpful to her cause. We also talked about how much to charge, about the fact that she’d have to educate people about cystic fibrosis and why their purchase was making a difference, and that some days she’d sit at the pool and maybe only sell a barrette or two, or perhaps none at all. And that was ok because to her, she saw her ribbon barrettes as a way she could help her friend.
Never Underestimate Their Determination
What I thought might not be so successful has surpassed any and all expectations! It just goes to show that if your child is passionate about what they’re doing, sheer determination and persistence will contribute to their success.
Ask How You Can Help
Even though kids this age need less of our help when they did when they were little, they will need support for their fundraising efforts, even if they don’t ask for it. Instead, ask them how you can help. Take some time to ask them about what they’re doing what their goals are, and where you might be able to provide assistance. Even if they want to be independent, chances are they might need you when things really start to pick up or at least to serve as their pro-bono Uber driver.
Emily’s ribbon barrette fundraiser has been a family affair. Making and selling ribbon barrettes that have been shipped across the country, and even internationally, required me serving as the shuttle to the craft store, her brother being the inventory master and keeping an eye on the ribbon supply and organizing those pesky spools, and dad acting as the shipping department so Emily and I could make barrettes as fast as possible to fulfill orders. When Emily’s fundraiser started to take off, she also needed help setting up her RibbonBarrettes.com site, order form, and social channels to show off what she was selling and craft fair appearances.
Show Your Pride by Telling Your Friends
Even though there are times when we embarrass our kids, they won’t scold you for telling others about their fundraising efforts. Use word of mouth, leverage your social media networks, and share among in real life friends because those that you know will support your child’s endeavor.
I can’t tell you how many things I’ve bought from friends whose kids are fundraising for a cause they believe in. Maybe I’m just a softie (I also will stop at any lemonade stand I see!) but I think it’s so admirable for any child to find the courage to stand up and advocate for a cause.
Let Them Be a Catalyst and Inspire Others
Peer pressure is real but the positive side of peer pressure is getting your friends involved in something you care about. Emily’s friends have asked her if they could help make ribbon barrettes, found opportunities for her to sell barrettes at synagogue holiday sales, and also started fundraisers of their own, also benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Yesterday we participating in the annual Great Strides DC Walk, benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Over the years the number of friends participating in the walk has grown thanks to awareness that has grown in Emily and Ava’s friend circle. Friends who know about Ava’s disease have found ways to help by directly asking for donations for the walk or by selling things of their own and donating the proceeds to CFF.
This year we had the majority of Ava and Emily’s soccer team participating in Great Strides DC and it was heartwarming to see the camaraderie as girls and their parents came together to support Ava and celebrate their fundraising efforts.
Remember how I said to tell everyone you know about what your child is doing?
For the past two years Kia has donated vehicles for Ava’s Aviary to use to get to Great Strides DC and then to their afternoon soccer game. This is a direct effect of me telling those that I know about what Emily is doing and enlisting their help.
Last year when we were thinking about how to get the girls’ soccer team to the walk and to the field in time for the game, we thought about renting passenger vans to minimize the number of cars, carpooling, and caravanning but didn’t want anyone to be saddled with the huge cost of car rental.
Because my mother always said that it never hurts to ask, I reached out to the wonderful people I know at Kia who also happen to have huge hearts and said yes to my minivan request without hesitation.
You might not have a contact at Kia, but chances are your network can help support you and your child as they pursue your passion fundraising project. The first step is saying yes. After that, the sky is the limit!
No compensation was received for this post but our family is forever grateful to Kia Motors USA for lending us cars for each year I’ve reached out to ask for vehicle loans for Ava’s Aviary to use for Great Strides DC. Our family fully supports Emily’s fundraising efforts by donating supplies for her ribbon barrettes to ensure that 100% of her profits go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.