With World Youth Day 2013 in Rio approaching, fundraising can help youth who would otherwise not have the option of attending. Photo by Vanessa Santilli

Fundraising tips on the road to Rio de Janeiro for WYD 2013

By  Melanie Dziengo, Youth Speak News
  • April 4, 2012

With World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro getting closer, youth are feeling pressure to raise money to make the trip. That’s prompting cash-strapped young people to develop creative fundraising ideas to help meet their goals.

Christine Lumilian, a youth minister at St. Maria Goretti parish in Toronto, has seen positive results from her group’s fundraising efforts in previous years.

“We fundraised for Germany (2005) and we got six people to go for free,” Lumilian said.

Lauren Ashley Ching-Hee, youth group president at St. Mary Immaculate parish in Richmond Hill, Ont., said they held a Casino Royale Gala that raised more than $10,000. Overall, the youth group’s events were able to help offset more than 50 per cent of the costs of last year’s WYD, she said.

The gala, planned eight months in advance, was a major group effort. It required obtaining sponsors, selecting a venue, setting prices for tickets, creating posters and entertainment, including poker tables and an auction. The youth group also contacted large companies to donate prizes or buy tables of tickets.

Although large events may seem daunting, it is important not to shy away from them, said Ching-Hee.

“If you start organizing early and enlist the help of friends and family, a big event like a gala will not be an impossible goal,” she said.

Large-scale events also allow organizers to invite more people, said Daniel Francavilla, who went to WYD Australia in 2008.

This is a benefit because “instead of having 20 little things, you can do one huge event and invite everybody and make them feel like they’re a part of it,” she said.

There are also no bad ideas, said Jessica Worosz, a participant and organizer for her parish before  WYD Madrid. This is because “you can basically turn anything into a fundraiser and make it a fun night for everyone.”

Another type of fundraiser is the Penny Drive. A Penny Drive is simple to run because all it takes is a call to parishioners to donate their loose change each week.

Lumilian said her experience with the Penny Drive was positive because the initiative raised enough money to send three youth to Spain last year. 

“Through the Penny Drive, we ended up raising almost $3,000,” Worosz said.

Although larger events can be more interesting, it’s important to not overlook smaller events. Ching-Hee said showing a monthly religious movie at the parish was quite popular.

Parishioners would not only come see the movie, but they would also have refreshments and enjoy a discussion afterwards with the parish priest. Tickets cost $5.

There is also the option of going with tried and true fundraising techniques.

Francavilla said they had hot chocolate and coffee days as well as bake sales.

Ultimately, it is important to get the parish involved and keep them informed of the goings on, said Worosz.

But it can be difficult because messages can get crossed and not all parishioners become aware of the fundraising efforts.

“We put a poster together and showed our parish exactly what money we were raising and what month we were at and what our next goal was. I think by showing them that, it helped them realize and showed them exactly where their donations were going,” she said.

(Dziengo, 21, is a media studies and journalism student at the University of Guelph-Humber.)

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