Have you ever considered how much money is spent on gifts at a single celebration? Between close family members and well-intentioned friends – maybe $1000, $2000, more for a big milestone? A new fundraising trend is making it possible for individuals to transform their celebrations into a meaningful way to celebrate their special day.
In lieu of gifts, hosts request that their invitees make a donation to celebrate their milestone with a thoughtful contribution to a specific cause . This can be anything from a recent retirement, milestone anniversary, birthday, etc. Big celebrities like John Elton and Leonardo DiCaprio have re-purposed their birthday celebrations to contribute to a cause of their choice. This past year Elton John held a big bash for his 70th birthday and used the star studded event to raise money for the for the Hammer Museum and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. .
An Alumni Party with a Purpose
A LiveAlumni client recently shared their alumna’s idea to throw a give-back birthday celebration. Rather than gifts, the birthday lady requested that her family and friends make donations to a scholarship fund in her name at her alma mater. She even invited a member of the fundraising staff to collect all the donations.
The results? The event was lucrative in more ways than one. First and foremost, they came up with a great deal of money to fund the birthday lady’s scholarship. The other major benefit? The school gained a handful of new prospects in the form of non-alumni donors. Family and close friends who donated were now added to their donor database and became potential donors for future causes.
This particular event was a birthday celebration, but there are many big celebrations that could be celebrated – imagine a successful alumni couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary or a company celebrating its milestone anniversary!  These types of events could hold a lot of donation potential.
Now – we’re not suggesting that you go around telling your alumni to give all their party spoils to fund their alma mater, but definitely give stories like these a worthy mention. This is a trend that is gaining popularity, especially amongst the more philanthropically inclined. Perhaps just sharing such a story in your alumni publications could spark some interest and give your alumni an easy outlet to help raise funds!
 DIY Fundraising, Cancer.org
 On the Scene at Elton John’s 70th Birthday Bash, Vanity Fair
 We Raised Hundreds for our Firm’s Milestone Birthday, Bagnallhopkins.co.uk