Where do you begin on raising money for family reunions?

Q? Patricia Murray, Manchester, Tennessee, asked, “Where do you begin on raising money for family reunions? We have tried dividing the cost and they gripe about it or say that they can’t afford to come. Please give us some insight.”

A! Add some fun ways to help lower out-of-pocket reunion costs, but try to continue dividing costs because that spreads responsibility for the reunion. Reading the following will also give you some pretty amazing ideas to help with fundraising.

Whitehurst fundraising soars

The Whitehurst Family Reunion held its first fundraiser a year and a half before the reunion.

The Walk-A-Thon was a great success! We raised $200. The grand prize was a fitness book and family mug. The YouTube video is on our website on the walk-a-thon page. Approximately 60% of Americans’ New Years resolution is to lose weight. The Whitehurst Family Reunion thought we would help our members achieve their goal, the Whitehurst Biggest Loser. Each committee member was charged with recruiting 30 people to participate, with a $5 entry free. With eight people on the committee, that could generate $1,250. Whoever lost the most weight would receive a $100 gift card. We posted a food group chart on our website to help with calorie intake. A video of the winner is here.

Our current fundraiser is The Whitehurst Souvenir Publication. I was amazed at the results from just asking companies, friends and entrepreneurs to be part of our mission, and people have already started taking out ads. Finally, we rented a booth at the Let The Good Times Roll Festival in Shreveport, Louisiana. We sold foot-long all-beef hotdogs and Frito Pies for $5. We paid a booth rent fee, event insurance and the cost of products to sell. A portion of our proceeds go toward our Life-Time Achievement Award and our Scholarship Award. We raised about $800 and will do it again in September for another festival. Video can be found here.

Reported by Ne’El Whitehurst-Joseph, Houston, Texas.

Collecting money and fundraising are pretty consistent reunion dilemmas. Listen to our podcast “How to ask for money” as a guide to face the task of asking and beginning to collect the funds you will need.

Payne Family Reunion – Fundraising 101

What reunion doesn’t need money? Since this is our first reunion, we have no money in our coffers! A simplistic method for determining a budget is to divide the total expenses by the number of attendees; no problem, right? Well, here are some suggestions to put some money in our reunion fund NOW in hopes of scaling down the per-person cost or helping a family who cannot otherwise afford to attend.

  • Have a garage/yard sale
  • Add baked goods to that sale and watch the money pour in!
  • Keep all your loose change for the next 9 months, then cash it in!
  • This is great for kids! Sponsor your own walk-a-thon. Solicit donations for each mile you walk, run, bike, whatever!
  • Are you crafty? Enter a local craft show and donate half your proceeds.
  • Are you a business owner? Tax Deduction! (We may also call on you to donate products or services for the silent auction!)
  • Hold a baseball tournament in your community, at your local park. Charge a small admission fee (make sure you state what it’s for!), sell hot dogs and soda. A great family fun day!
  • Won the lottery lately? Looking to set up an endowment fund? Share your good fortune!
  • Organize a fashion show, progressive meal or casino night in your neighborhood. Charge admission, get donations for food, drinks, etc., and the proceeds go to the reunion fund!
  • Do you play bridge or bunco on a regular basis? Ask your group to donate their winnings a time or two.
  • Hold a neighborhood car wash.
  • Write a check!

Make sure you write “donation” in the “For” section of your check. We also would like to know what you did to raise the money!

Reprinted with permission from Linda Lapinski, Ingleside, Illinois, for the Payne Family Reunion website.


Reunions magazine Podcast – Asking for Money



skyscraperadFreebies for your reunion
While supplies last, back/remainder issues of Reunions magazine are FREE for the asking. Magazines are FREE, packing and shipping is minimal. Contact Karla to learn what it will cost; [email protected] or 414-263-4567. And be sure to ask your convention and visitors bureau about their services and goodies they can share.

Listen for more free stuff!
Listen to “How to fill a reunion goodie bag,” a podcast about ideas for your goodie/welcome reunion bags.