By Tess Cassidy, college student
Every year in my youth group, there are students that walk up with a check of $30 written by their parents. They’re meeting the baseline fundraising goal of 30 Hour Famine, but nothing more. This can be disappointing from the fundraising standpoint, but we should all be excited these youth are participating regardless of the reason, right?
So much focus of the Famine is on the actual 30 hours. This is important because this is the part that transforms students’ lives. This internal transformation can’t be overlooked, but the global transformation through fundraising can’t be overlooked either.
So how do we motivate students to not only look forward to the 30 hours but to get excited about fundraising and making a global impact?
I have a bit of a unique spin on the Famine: not only have I been a student experiencing the 30 Hour Famine, but I have also been the student leader for my youth group 3 out of the 6 years I have participated. I’ve been on both sides: being the student that leaders had trouble motivating and being the leader troubled with motivating students.
So how exactly do we get students to get fired up about fundraising? Even though I am passionate about the 30 Hour Famine and World Vision, I still struggle with fundraising. It can be uncomfortable and awkward. This can easily discourage students even if they might want to fundraise. As leaders, we have to be intentional about motivating!
The first, and easiest way to motivate students to get excited is for you to be enthusiastic about the 30 Hour Famine. Talk about the Famine in front of the entire group as well as talk to individual students. (They have a better chance of reacting if you specifically go out of your way to target them.) In order to be the best role model possible, you need to not only be enthusiastic, but also be actively fundraising yourself.
Second, use 30 Hour Famine’s resources to help motivate. Throw a Famine Kick-Off Event. Show video clips from Famine’s YouTube channel in the weeks leading up to your Famine event. Show students the impact a dollar has in a world of poverty. Have Famine veterans in your group talk about their experience and the impact we all have the ability to make. Another option is to find out if there is a Study Tour participant (like me!) nearby to come and share how they visibly saw the change your funds are making (contact Nikki Myers, the 30 Hour Famine Outreach Coordinator, for more information).
Competitions or rewards are an excellent way to get students engaged and interested in fundraising. Get creative! Set a group goal first, then brainstorm with your group about how you’ll reach it? Maybe you have a prize or reward if your group hits your goal. This year one of the leader of one of the top Famine fundraising groups committed to her group that she would kiss a pig on the snout, in front of all of them, if they reached their goal. Yup, she ended up kissing a pig.
Fundraise girls versus guys or tribe versus tribe. (This would mean signing up for tribes when students register for the 30 Hour Famine.) My youth group chose girls versus guys: whoever raised more got to sleep on the comfy furniture in the youth room; whereas, the losing group had to sleep in another room on the hard floor. If you choose to compete in fundraising, create an incentive for the winning tribe as well as individual tribe fundraising goals.
To keep tabs on the girls versus guys competition this past year, we started a paper chain around our church fellowship hall. There were pink and blue links each worth a certain small dollar amount. The students could keep track of who was winning as well as the whole congregation—buying a link for their side of choice! This not only inspired students to fundraise on their own, but it also got the entire congregation involved.
To inspire tribe or gender-group morale, designate a few minutes at each weekly youth group leading up to the Famine to allow each tribe to meet and brainstorm fundraising. Students can encourage each other, hold each other accountable, as well as come up with fundraising ideas to implement as a group.
Whatever you choose, MOTIVATE your students! Every aspect of the 30 Hour Famine is great, but don’t forget the main reason we do it: eradicating world hunger one dollar at a time.