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Brick Fundraising - Online Guide

Fundraising

www.afpnet.org

Brick fundraising means that donations can be, quite literally, set in stone. The way it works is that people donate money to your cause and you acknowledge their donation by engraving a brick. It can be engraved with a message of their choice, or simply with their name and possibly the amount donated.

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"What do you do with a brick?" used to be a famous question asked at university interviews, along with "What's the difference between a chicken?" and "How would you describe the color blue to a blind person?" If you're involved in brick fundraising, what to actually do with the darn things once they're engraved is still a tough question.

Of course, there are schemes whereby the engraved bricks actually become part of a building, usually the building towards which the money is being raised. This is by far the most useful way of using bricks to fundraise, but it is only one of many ways, and may not even be the most popular.

Some organizations use all the bricks to build a decorative wall, but you will need to have the space to do this. Others give the brick to the donor to take home. Some describe the brick as a "gift" to the donor to say thanks for their generosity, although many people might be put off donating money at the thought of having to clutter up the house with something that is heavy and useless. However, other people like the surprise value of having an engraved brick as an ornament. Keeping it on display means that visitors to your house will see the evidence of your generosity.

There are many disadvantages to brick fundraising, not least that the whimsical concept does not sit well with the heavy and long-lasting nature of the bricks. If you choose ugly-looking candy, people will probably still eat it, pay their money and forget about it, but choose an ugly brick design and people may decide not to hand over any money at all. The essentially useless, non-consumable nature of single bricks works against the fundraising idea too. If you sell fundraising candles , people will use them during a power cut or a romantic evening, and by the time the next fundraising drive rolls around, they will be happy to buy some more. But if you sell bricks, people will still have them in their living rooms when you next come round asking for donations. They will probably not want to buy them a second time.

The two main advantages of brick fundraising are the surprise factor - bricks are a little bit different from candy or cookie dough - and the ego factor. Many donors like recognition for their contribution, particularly if it is a large one. A brick engraved with their name and the sum they have donated is a permanent reminder of their generosity. If it is part of a commemorative wall in a public place, then plenty of people will know how generous the contributor has been.

One final point about brick fundraising: delivery is an important factor when calculating costs. The weight involves usually means that the shorter the distance your bricks have to travel, the lower the costs will be. You should definitely consider obtaining your bricks from a local firm. However, as with other kinds of fundraising, a larger company may be able to offer you a cheaper deal even when delivery costs are taken into account.