National Ladies Homestead Gathering’s (NLHG) exists to bring like-minded women together who share a dream of becoming more self-reliant through homesteading practices. We build local hometown networks of women who meet regularly to learn, share, and grow. NLHG is unique in its hands-on approach to education. We create interdependent groups of women with unique skills who learn from one another and grow together.
So why would a Chapter need to fundraise?
Chapters found there aren’t quite enough funds to cover all they’d like to accomplish in their community. Depending on the size of their Chapter, the local board can determine a budget for administrative costs, meeting space fees, Membership appreciation events, outreach projects within the community, and supplies for demonstrations or booth fees for festivals or farmer’s markets. This budget will determine a Chapter’s fundraising goal.
Here are some suggestions:
Yep, that’s right! As long as all quarterly reports are submitted on time, your Chapter gets back 20% of the NLHG Membership fees of its Members in the spring of each year. That’s seven dollars per Member!
Some Chapters make Membership in NLHG more desirable by negotiating discounts with local businesses or offering Member-only events. Others charge Members less for workshops or Make and Take Gatherings. Depending on the number of workshops or Make and Take Gatherings per year, the savings is often more than the cost of Membership.
These are a fantastic way to not only raise money but to also to showcase a homesteading skill or help promote one of your member’s homesteading businesses. These could be opportunities to learn more in-depth about a popular Gathering topic or topics that your Members are interested in but would take longer than the usual Gathering time.
Here are some workshop topics Chapters have used:
- Bamboo trellises/teepees
- Mushroom logs
- Cheesemaking (with the kits available from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company)
- Making worm bins
BUY IN BULK
Most of the time it’s cheaper to buy something in bulk, but where do you store it all? Split it up into smaller amounts and sell it at a small markup! Don’t forget to add in travel expenses (if you have to drive to pick up the items) or supplies (if you are bagging it into smaller amounts, for example). Then add in extra for your Chapter.
Here are some examples:
- Clear Jel (or another canning thickener)
- Raw peanuts
- Remay cloth
GO WITH THE PROS
There are companies that offer items for fundraising purposes to groups. They offer products at a significant discount (usually 50%) and you sell them for retail (or at a bit of a discount).
Our Chapters have worked with three companies so far:
DO THE WORK
Sometimes, you just have to do the work yourself. Several of our Chapters have had success with unique ideas that are cheap, but more time-consuming.
One Chapter has an annual plant sale in the spring. As you are starting your own seeds for your garden, start extra for a Chapter plant sale! Keep in mind that your Chapter might need a license to sell live plants, so call your county extension agent and ask. (Also, send a copy of this license in with your quarterly Report!)
Take old items from yard sales and create something unique. One Chapter found old canvas shopping bags and embellished them with fabric and beads donated by members and sold them at the farmer’s market. Each bag was a unique design with the NLHG logo added to it (so it also helps spread the word about NLHG every time it’s used).
A note on food items: Due to the large number of federal and local food regulations across the country, please do not sell or give away any food items associated with the NLHG name.
Some Chapters have had success with various local raffles. However, please check with your state’s Secretary of State to find out if you need to have a raffle license before you hold a raffle. Often the local Sheriff’s office will have information, too.
If you do need a raffle license, a copy of the license and any supporting documents asked for must be turned in with your quarterly Report.
Once your Chapter has grown, you could consider larger projects like the Sheep to Shawl Annual Festival held by LHG of Statham, Georgia. Charge vendors and ask for donations at the entrance. Bigger events require more volunteers and time to be successful. Use your best judgment when assessing the abilities of your Chapter and volunteers and set a realistic goal of what it will cost versus how much it will raise.
What works for your Chapter? Any inside tips or tricks you want to share?