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How Our LLL Group Made $1,816.70 in Four Hours

Maureen Schumar
Skokie IL USA
From: LEAVEN, Vol. 39 No. 2, April-May 2003, pp. 46-47.

Does this sound too good to be true? I thought so, too, before my former Oak Park/River Forest Group of Illinois managed to raise $1,816.70 in such a short period of time.

After about a year of publicity to build up our new evening Group in the community, and after many attempts at fundraising exclusively through the local chain grocery store rebate coupon program, I was able to identify a business in the community that had an even better opportunity for a not-for-profit organization to receive the benefit of their sponsorship.

I noticed that a local natural health food store, Whole Foods Market, offered a "five-percent donation day" several times a year. Our Group applied and was accepted for the winter quarter event. The store simply asked that we set up a table in the store and display information about our organization. No problem! In return, our Group would receive five percent of the sales taken in that day at the store. Of course, it was a snowy, cold Tuesday when we were there, probably considered a "slow" business day for the store, but nevertheless, we made more money than we ever dreamed we could have in four hours.

In addition to finding volunteers to "man" our booth, I spent a lot of time before the event publicizing it in the community to people who I thought would come and shop that day. Also, I sent press releases to all of the local newspapers and called, faxed, and emailed requests that they send a photographer to Whole Foods Market. I also notified the executive director of the local chamber of commerce to come for a picture with the press.

The key to our success was, over time, getting to know the sources of funding available in the community for not-for-profit organizations. Another important factor was the excitement that we were able to create among Group members, friends, and the general public. And of course, making many calls and following up with the press and those who helped make the event a success helped a great deal.

As a result of collecting these funds, our Group decided to donate $1,000 to the LLLI Peer Counselor Program in honor of Penny Murad, a long time LLL Leader of the Oak Park/River Forest Group. This way, the money could be directly used in our community to help women who might not otherwise be able to afford the training that will enable them to help mothers breastfeed. Penny has served as a dedicated volunteer in many different capacities. Most notable is her steadfast commitment to helping mothers, regardless of the circumstances. Her tireless devotion to keeping the Group going for over 15 years and her professionalism have helped strengthen our cause and our positive image in the community. We hope that the women who benefit from this scholarship money will give back to the community as Penny Murad has given of herself.

Maureen Schumar, wife to William Russman, is the mother of three previously and exclusively breastfed children: David (11), Rachel (8), and Sarah (4). Maureen has been an LLL Leader for seven years and Advertising Manager for LLLI since 1996. She lives with her family in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

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