Raffles Belong in the Hall of Fame of Fundraisers by Kelly Kaminsky

Raffles Belong in the Hall of Fame of Fundraisers by Kelly Kaminsky


My little brother has been playing baseball since he was four years old. In 2011, the baseball team family discovered that the team had the option of playing in a baseball tournament in Cooperstown, New York in the summer of 2012. This tournament was a big deal. Some current major leaguers played in this tournament when they were twelve. These boys would be playing with kids from all across the country. The tournament was only minutes away from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, so they would be surrounded with the baseball spirit for a week.

This tournament had a ton of upsides, however it did have one downside: it was extremely expensive. All of the families on the baseball team had to come together to figure out a way to fund this trip. We came up with many ideas. We did Super Bowl football squares, the boys stood outside of stores, the adults went door to door, but nothing raised as much money as the raffle fundraiser that we held.

The fundraiser had numerous raffles. People on the team were able to use their various connections to get multiple hockey and baseball jerseys, different baskets of goods that varied from spa gift certificates, to local high school apparel, to a book autographed by the Chicago Blackhawks hockey player Patrick Kane, and many other little things.

The raffle was a major success. The original goal was to raise enough money for all of the boys’ trips to be covered, but we raised so much money that there was plenty left to distribute to each family. Even though each family had to still pay a decent amount of money for the trip, the financial burden was not as extreme thanks to the fundraiser.

A couple of months later, we all left for New York. It was the greatest experience I’ve ever had. We won the Spirit Award during the Opening Ceremonies, and we had the pleasure of meeting people from across the United States and parts of Canada. Unfortunately, the boys did not win first place; however, several of them did experience hitting their first homerun.

The fundraiser not only helped our baseball team, but it helped the future baseball teams from our town. Our team was the first in our town to have that successful of a fundraiser. The teams that came after us used our ideas and some of our secrets so that they would be able to experience this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

This whole fundraising experience definitely changed me. I was able to witness all of these people with different backgrounds and different relationships and histories with each other work together to set up that immensely successful raffle fundraiser. It was truly inspiring to see the whole community come out to help this group of young men go attend a tournament that was possibly the greatest trip of their lives. At the start of this journey, we had an enormous task, but through hard work and dedication, we were able to accomplish that task. That taught me that anything can be done if you try hard enough. This mentality is what is helping me get through college and go to medical school even though I have been hit with many setbacks.


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Contributed by: Kelly Kaminsky

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