Yoga is a gift we give to ourselves, and for those who teach, a gift to pass along to others.
So why not use it as a way to give back to the community as well? Create your own opportunity to do some karma yoga through a yoga charity fundraiser.
Gathering a community of yoga enthusiasts to raise funds or awareness for a favorite charity or cause is a great way to give back. All you need is the right tools, a willing non-profit , an enthusiastic group of yogis and a good plan.
Here are a few tips on creating your own yoga fundraiser event.
Choose a cause.
Whether your cause is global or local, is not the important point. What is important is that you choose a charity that you support, have a connection and can promote why you love their cause from your heart.
The event fundraising format.
Donations from class payments, sponsorships from member fundraising or an entry fee are all good ways to raise donations for your cause.
A number of Baltimore area yoga fundraisers have been successful in raising thousands of dollars – each is different in the size and supporting organization that made a difference in participation.
The Wellness House of Annapolis Yogathon, a small non-profit supporting cancer patients and their loved ones, which organizes the event through a few volunteers, has raised over $5,000 over the past two years.
Free to Breathe Yogathon, held annually in Pikesville, Maryland, is run by the National Lung Foundation which raises money for lung cancer research. Local yoga enthusiast, and rabbi at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, sought to partner with the national organization and Charm City Yoga studio to help organize and promote the event. In 2010 alone they raised over $26,000.
Another model was the 2012 Yoga Aid World Challenge, that included a wave of yoga classes around the world collectively doing yoga classes for a full 24-hours. Globally, everyone raised over $500K. A few studios in the Baltimore and Washington, DC areas participated as fundraising studios and donated funds from classes to the cause.
A few hundred or a few thousand dollars are always appreciated by non-profit organizations that need funding to keep the lights on and get the word out. However, even an event to raise awareness, and not just funds is always a good cause as well.
A local yoga studio, public facility or an outdoor venue are all possible for holding an event. It it’s a public facility, be sure to have the proper permission or permits.
If you choose to do the event outside, keep in mind the possible distractions and available facilities (such as restrooms) available for participants.
Sponsors and Donors
Key to any fundraising event is getting what you need to put on the event! Make a list of what you would like to have, and ask a few local businesses to help contribute. Your list might include: bottled water, food, door prizes for fundraisers, t-shirts, volunteer yoga teachers, live musical guests, marketing and signage, or a special venue.
Be sure to acknowledge and thank your donors!
Marketing the event.
Creating flyers, posters and other printed materials will be essential to post around studios and other public places. But don’t forget other online social outlets like email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and of course, your own web site. Consider sending your event information to local media calendars as well as press releases to promote your event in local papers. Ask your sponsors to display your event information on their web site, Facebook page or store location.
Starting your planning and promoting a few months ahead of time will help spread and grow your audience and participation.
If you are encouraging fundraising by participants, there are a number of ways to track, collect and promote your event online using online fundraising software.
However, there are also a lot of people who would like to contribute that are not comfortable with entering their credit card information online. In these cases, always offer a spreadsheet to track donations.
Thank your donors and participants.
Thank them in person. Thank them with a written note. Thank them a lot.
Don’t do it alone.
Find friends who have the same interests who are willing to help with the legwork. It’s a lot of work, but when done for a good cause that is close to your heart, it’s a labor of love.