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Special Section: The Give Big

Sue Kahawaii

Host this event to support a great cause and remind kids and families about the joy in giving.

The heart's cry of this emerging generation is for the church to offer opportunities that address social injustice with ways children can make a difference in their communities and world. Celebrities and recent TV shows have heightened awareness of the issues and challenged people to make a difference by helping social causes and individuals. Today's families are looking for ways to get involved too, so host this summer event at your church and help families support a worthy cause while connecting with other families in your community and church. And change the world while you're at it!

Choose a Cause

Before you start planning details for your event, choose a social cause that families will easily embrace, either locally or globally. For example, you could help a local homeless shelter, hospice center, or food bank. Or choose a global cause such as the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa, peace efforts in Darfur, or safe water wells in Vietnam. Selecting a cause to support will lend purpose and meaning to your event and make it easier to solicit donations from area businesses that are often reluctant to help churches but eager to donate goods or services for an event that helps a cause.

Team With Others

You'll want to keep your costs down as much as possible so the cause you're supporting can receive the maximum monetary gift possible. Solicit local businesses to financially support the event and donate items such as food, decorations, advertising, prizes, giant inflatables, or entertainment. Acknowledge businesses and organizations that donate by including their names on posters, tickets, and newspaper or radio advertising.

Police or fire departments, the military, children's hospitals, and other civic groups are often willing to come out with their own displays and activities for community events. You may want to include other churches or nonprofit groups to help support the event by hosting games or other concessions.

Ticket for Value

Promote your event as a ticketed one -- it increases the value people place on the event, and it helps you promote it as an exclusive activity. Communicate that all ticket sale monies will be donated toward your cause. Local businesses or church members may want to sponsor or purchase tickets in bulk to distribute at their workplaces, neighborhoods, day care centers, and local grocery store counters.

Tickets can help you collect people's contact information as well on the day of the event. On the reverse side of the ticket, have people write their contact information, and then attendees can turn their tickets in for a chance at door prize drawings and giveaways. Input contact information to your database to follow up with attendees, invite families to other church events, or simply send thank you notes for attending.

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