Kaitlyn (Katie) Brogan Essay
Essay Choice #3 – My current involvement with a raffle fundraising campaign
I have been involved as a volunteer peer mentor and now staff member of Camp Sunshine of Aurora (Ohio) since 2009, which is an adaptive summer program for special needs kids (www.campsunshineofaurora.org). Working with the camp kids in the summer has become my passion and my reason for wanting to pursue Child Psychology and Special Education Intervention at Ohio University where I will be enrolled beginning Fall 2018.
The main fundraiser for camp to drive down tuition costs for families is an annual golf outing where we utilize a Chinese Raffle as an additional fundraiser during the outing. For the past 3 years, I have assisted the golf committee with helping to collect donated prizes for our raffle beginning in January for our May event from local businesses and other organizations in Northeast Ohio, as well as work at the golf outing on the day of the event.
One change we have made to the raffle is to arrive very early in the morning to set up the basket/raffle location so golfers can begin looking and selecting prizes they would like to try and win prior to the start of the golf day. This has worked well as we have had golfers come back and purchase raffle tickets (or additional raffle tickets from what they originally spent) based on the prizes they are seeing offered right from the start of the day. I assist in setting up the prize table as well as selling raffle tickets before the golfers go out for their day. It makes for an early morning, but it is has proved to be worth it.
Another change we made two summers ago to hope to increase sales of raffle tickets, was to invite additional friends, spouses of golfers, and community members to come during the outing portion at lunch time to view the prizes and baskets and allow them to purchase tickets too (attendance at the golf outing is not required to stop in at the clubhouse to do this nor to purchase raffle tickets). This has helped to increase overall sales of the tickets as people who don’t participate in the outing can stop in and still support the camp.
The preparation prior to the golf event is very detailed and needs to be organized. There are 3 categories of prizes and raffle tickets are sold at different dollar levels depending on the dollar value category of the prizes. We use 3 different color tickets and color code the prize sheets to reflect which prizes are in the categories. Tickets are sold before, during, and after the day of golf during dinner. In addition to my early morning raffle jobs, I have also sold lunchtime tickets to visitors, and “Last Call” tickets during dinner.
Camp Sunshine is more expensive than a general summer camp as they hire professional therapists to direct and teach the kids. Other than the paid cost to the golf club for the outing, 100% of the funds raised are used to divide between all the camp families towards their tuition cost. Since almost all the prizes are donated for the raffle, all proceeds from the raffle are additional profit earned by the camp. The significant funds earned from the raffle help to make the workload of hosting the golf outing worthwhile. Our repeat golfers always comment on the great prizes we have donated to make the event special, which means a lot to me since I help work to get them. One golfer said he always makes sure he attends our outing knowing his contribution is going towards an important cause.
As a camp volunteer, I have seen first hand how money earned is spent at camp where all of it is used to benefit the kids and give them a special and memorable summer experience. I enjoy helping with and working at the golf outing not only because I enjoy the work I am doing, but because I know the value of what the raffle earnings mean to the kids. Personally, I have also earned fundraising experience in learning how to run a profitable raffle, have increased my phone and sales skills by contacting organizations to ask for donations, and have increased my people skills when selling raffle tickets face to face and talking to our golf and lunchtime participants about the outing and my own experiences working at the camp and with the kids. Camp Sunshine is an amazing place , and supporting and helping with our golf raffle makes me happy to know the end result will make our camp kids happy, too.