Ways to Fundraise with Jewelry-Making

Design Idea 88DU Necklace
by Leslie Anger, Content Development Group, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®

You decided you want to use your jewelry-making abilities to help a cause or charity. Great! But how do you actually raise money for a cause? We're so glad you asked. We'll cover some of the most popular ways designer-artists are giving their time, jewelry or donations to help improve the lives of others and enriching their own in the process.

#1 Percentage of Purchase

Tell your customers a specific percentage of profit will be sent to a cause. This can be a percentage of each sale, the sale of only specific products, sales over the course of a period of time or a special sales event. Be upfront about the percentage amount and which organization you're sending it to. Be sure to post on your website, blog or wherever you communicate with customers the final donation amount if you choose the route of percentages over a period of time.

As an example, Britney Allen creates jewelry pieces and donates 20% of her profits to the The Prayer Child Foundation that helps families who have children with disabilities and illnesses that they cannot afford. Britney has a progress goal chart on her blog to let people know how the fundraising efforts are going. Transparency is key.

#2 Donate

I'm going to be honest and admit math isn't my strong point. The idea of keeping track of percentages of sales intimidates me. If you're in the same boat, consider giving physical jewelry donations to auctions and events. Lots of organizations have fundraising opportunities throughout the year you can join.

For instance, in Southern Oregon we have Taste of the Illinois Valley, which is a dinner event that brings together over 20 vendors who supply auction items to benefit the local Boys and Girls Clubs. Stuart and Chris, co-owners of Fire Mountain, donate jewelry items for the bidding, and Fire Mountain employees volunteer to donate their time and skills to help with advertising, staffing and more.

You can of course organize your own donation-based fundraising event as well. Take Jeanette Shanigan as an example. She wanted to raise funds for breast cancer research, so she began the Bead-it-Forward project. Jeanette asked artists to create 1-inch beaded squares (with a different theme each year). She then stitched these squares together in mini quilts. The quilts were auctioned off and all the proceeds went to the Medical College of Wisconsin Breast Cancer Research Foundation from 2006-2014. In 2015, the proceeds went to Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research and the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden.

Ways to Fundraise with Jewelry-Making

#3 Give a Gift

I once went to an animal adoption event where there was a donation jar set out for the organization helping the animals find homes. Next to the donation jar was a basket for anyone who donated money to choose a large-hole paw bead, animal charm, simple pair of earrings, etc. This is a clever way to not only entice and reward those who contribute to your cause, but also to draw attention to the donation jar area in the first place with some shiny or sparkly objects.

Another way to give a gift uses your jewelry-making talents. Take for instance Cherie Ducote-Breaux who makes jewelry each Christmas for Women Outreaching Women, Inc., a shelter for battered women--or Eva Jones who does the same for WCA (Women and Children Alliance), a haven for women and children of domestic or sexual abuse. As Eva says, "I know this is not an essential need such as food or shelter, but I feel a pretty piece of jewelry can help a woman who is down and out feel better about herself."

Wendy DuFour, who has made necklaces, blankets and more for the residents of the Ronald McDonald House, Greenville SC explained it best. When she and her daughter once shared a room at the Ronald McDonald House and when they opened the door to presents on Christmas they were overwhelmed, "Gifts were the farthest thing from our minds. It said ‘we care.'"

#4 Teach

Volunteer to teach a beading class. Most classes have a fee, which can be given in whole or in part to the charity of your choice. You can also waive fees completely, asking instead for a monetary donation to be made to a charity. Rachel Arntson teaches how to make mosaics using beads, and instead of charging for her classes, she asks "people to give of their heart and kindly make a donation to LLS," The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. To help offset costs you can ask the local community, beading societies or bead shops to donate materials or allow you to borrow tools.

Many organizations use volunteer teachers to instruct those seeking financial independence after escaping abusive situations, human trafficking, etc. how to make jewelry. One such example is Seven Mutluluk who founded Cross Cultural Connections. Seven travels overseas to "safe houses" in Cambodia, Thailand, India and Nepal to teach women escaping sex slavery how to make jewelry. The jewelry is then sold to provide the women with a source of income and promote self-sustainability. You don't have to fly half-way across the world to benefit those looking for a skill to improve their lives--though you certainly can--you can also make a difference at your local shelters and charities like Alice Mann does for special needs students at her local recreation center.

#5 Shop!

Circle of Hope Logo No really, you can shop and help raise funds for charities. One example is the Circle of Hope project. For over 10 years, Fire Mountain Gems accepted donations of handmade beads, components and other jewelry supplies. Each October, these donated products were sold on our website with 100% of the profits going to the breast cancer site®. On our Circle of Hope page you can see the amount donated to breast cancer awareness from the sales of these beads and pink awareness ribbon lapel pins.

Do you use any of these fundraising efforts or do you use your jewelry-making abilities in a different way? We'd love to hear how you're making a difference by sharing your own story with us and the rest of the jewelry-making community. Remember, even the smallest good deed can cause a ripple effect of goodwill--help make the world a better place, one bead at a time.

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