As I have said in a previous post I think every child should have at least one birthday party. I’m saying this from the point of view of someone lucky enough to have been born in a prosperous country and to an amazing family. In the UK we spend multi-millions on birthdays, presents and children’s birthday parties. Worldwide however, 8 million children are brought up in residential institutions. These children do not grow up in loving family homes as our children do, rarely do they have any acknowledgment of their birthday, indeed many are even unsure of their own birth date.
Dedicate your child’s party
Children are very open to the idea of justice, explain to them that not all children have the same upbringing and luck in life as themselves and most will be willing, and in some cases insistent, that they would like to help other, less fortunate children.
A fabulous charity called Lumos, founded by J K Rowling, have set up an easy way to turn a birthday party into a fundraising event. Lumos is an independent international non-governmental organisation, founded and chaired by the author J.K. Rowling which works to end the systematic institutionalisation of children. Children raised in large residential institutions, (often known as orphanages) separated from their families are far more likely to be exploited, be poorly educated, and end up living in poverty. So how about helping children come out of a residential home and into a loving home by simply dedicating your child’s party to Lumos?
Ideas on how your birthday party can help a charity:
Note update Jan 2016: The Lumos links have changed since we first wrote this post (The Lumos web page: how to dedicate your party wearelumos.org/get-involved/fundraise/dedicate-your-birthday-lumos no longer exists) but sadly the need has not –
Please go to this page to see how you can get ideas to become involved, I’m sure your help will be very appreciated, however small. Many thanks.
How to Fundraise: – Ideas and Inspiration.
Of course it may be difficult to expect your child to turn their back on all the presents that they’re hoping to receive, but perhaps it could be possible to ask guests to lower the price of the present and give a £1 or £2 to a donation page that you can set up. If thirty children are attending the party that is already a handsome start.
Or how about cutting back a little on the party entertainment, or on the party bags just to give a little?
You could turn the party theme itself into a fund raising idea, all or part of the party could be a small fete? Set up games and tables for the children to play, style traditional party games round a stall and go from one to another – asking for 20p or 50p a play. Ask parents to let their children bring a sum of money, explain the idea on the invitations, most will be really happy, if not they can always not accept the invitation. It’s also a great way to involve friends, let them run a ‘stall’ and use up unwanted toys and items.
On a similar tone, how about a toy fair/auction? Get the children to bring all the toys they don’t wish to keep any longer and set up a little auction, toy fair or garage sale. Children love to play ‘shop’. Keep it on a small scale, nothing lavish, act the “roll up, roll up” part, and children will love it. Quite a fun theme for a birthday party.
Children often get a couple of presents that, quite honestly, they’re not as bothered about as they initially thought. They play with them for a short while and soon quickly discarded. Sell them on ebay and directly add the money to the birthday donation wall.
Do’s and don’ts
Do explain – not everyone wants to hear about the sadder side of life when they are giving something joyful, but explain that this is to share joy with less fortunate children, and your child is happy about it, many will be happy to donate.
Do organise an easy way to do this, it will make it more likely, Lumos have it sorted.
Do thank everyone, for any gifts and donations.
Don’t expect everyone to donate.
Don’t make a guilt trip out of it. Not everyone will feel the same way as you. Smile and feel grateful for what you’ve got. Always.
Alternatively, if you find it easier, please donate to Lumos here.
Do you have any other party fundraising ideas? Have you done something similar in the past? We would love to hear about it.