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VOL. 126 | NO. 168 | Monday, August 29, 2011

Jeremy Park

Watching Football Raises Money

Jeremy Park

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Last week we discussed Tiara Tea Society, which is combining the joys of socializing and hosting glitzy afternoon tea parties with the goal of supporting one young girl each year. This week, as the college and NFL football seasons approach kickoff, let us revisit a way you can weave giving back into hosting friends and family to root on your favorite teams.

Although it was one of our original columns last year, the concept is so easy and effective that it bears repeating, especially as we get back into the season of hosting game-watching parties. As you start preparing to have friends and family over to watch the games, think of tying in your favorite cause or charity. As you send out invitations and emails or make phone calls, let your guests know the watch party will have a fun twist with a higher purpose.

There are many variations on how you can set up your event, but the basic premise is that you, as host, provide customary food and beverages, like hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, etc. These are the normal things you would cover as host. As you invite friends and family, let them know part of the fun will be giving back and making a difference through the watch party, as you ask them to make a basic contribution to the effort.

As an example, consider Ronald McDonald House of Memphis, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. You could include their logo or mention them in your invite and ask attendees to bring a donation of $10, $20 or more as their contribution to the party. If you want to help the Memphis Child Advocacy Center, which needs more teddy bears, you could ask attendees to bring a teddy bear as their contribution to the effort.

Even nominal contributions, like $20 per head, quickly add up to large amounts of money that you can then donate to your selected nonprofit. The beauty of this approach is that it expends no more effort than you normally would on a regular get-together with your friends or family to watch football. Plus, $20 per head is probably less than anyone would spend at a restaurant or sports bar watching the game. The best part, though, is that your event now has a higher purpose and everyone will feel better as a result, even if their team happens not to win.

Just imagine if you hosted a few of these during football season. You could literally raise several thousand dollars, just by having friends over to watch a game. Also, the viral benefit is that by exposing your friends to your supported nonprofit and showing them how easy it is to host a fundraising event, you have encouraged others to get more engaged.

Jeremy Park, director of communications at Lipscomb Pitts Insurance and director of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, can be reached at jeremyp@lpinsurance.com.

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