Thursday, September 24, 2009

Little change making a big difference

In this difficult economy, charities and individuals are coming up with fun and compelling ways to raise money.

Last week, The Cliff told you about a fundraiser Saturday for a Golden Retriever rescue club, where hundreds of raffle tickets were sold and their numbers Sharpied on tennis balls. The hundreds of balls were hurled on a lawn and a Golden set loose to retrieve three to pick the three winners of cash prizes.

We also told you about Adrienne “Daisy” Zonneville, twice a blood cancer survivor, who’s running a marathon to raise money for blood cancer research. On Halloween morning, she’s putting together a poker run, where drivers of motorcycles, hot rods and anything with a motor and wheels pay to ride from Statesville to Huntersville, and along the way make stops to get five playing cards. The ones with the best poker hands win cash prizes.

Now comes a fundraiser that might out-clever them all.

It’s for the Council for Children’s Rights, celebrating its 30th birthday. The council, which advocates for the rights of at-risk children, is a 2006 merger between the Council for Children, founded in 1979, and The Children’s Law Center, founded in 1985.

They’re calling the campaign: “A Little Change for Kids.”

It involves change jars, in this case cardboard jars with plastic lids with a coin slit. The council had 7,000 made up. They’ve mailed out 4,000 and at its annual Lunch for Children’s Rights, handed out almost another 1,000 – each with a piece of candy and birthday candle rattling inside.

They’ve asked that the jars be returned in May full of change. Or if you fill them before then, call and they’ll come get it and give you another one to fill.

“In this economy, we wanted people to feel like they could give something – and that it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference for a child,” said Amy Tribble, in charge of development for the council. “Any size gift helps us toward our mission. A lot of people accumulate change. Well, we have a place for it to go now.”

They’ve suggested supporters place these jars on their desk at work, in break rooms, in a drawer where the loose change goes when you empty your pockets, or a car cupholder – anywhere change piles up.

It’s causing a stir.

The council got one call from a man complaining they sent his neighbor a jar, but not him.
It’s already received six full jars, one from a woman who in a clandestine moment raided her husband’s Ziploc plastic bag of change.

Vaneta Smiley filled a jar in 24 hours and called the council to send her 20 more. Last year, she and husband Wayne rolled coins that he’d been collecting for 20 years in a big water jug – to the tune of thousands of dollars.

“It’s money you don’t even miss,” Vaneta said. “This is such a great idea. We’ve got until May to fill those 20 jars and my husband probably has enough back in that doggone water jug to fill them.

“And it’s for such a good cause.”