By Ronni Shulman
Looking for a fundraising idea to raise awareness of Raynaud’s in your own community? “Lunch in Your Gloves” might be the ideal vehicle.
The simple concept is relatively easy for anyone to execute. Here in Venice, FL, we invited friends, neighbors and the community at large to attend a luncheon and fashion show with the gloves theme. Guests were urged to don any kind of gloves: latex gloves, boxing gloves, dishwashing gloves , ordinary winter gloves, etc. Prizes (bottles of wine) were awarded for the most creative gloves, giving guests an incentive to use their imagination to decorate their handwear. Ours was a “ladies’ lunch” (various themed lunches for women are held monthly where I live), although the idea can be expanded to include men. Or it could be a dinner or breakfast instead.
The theme ties in perfectly with the Raynaud’s message. Someone with Raynaud’s should speak to the group, explaining that for those with Raynaud’s, gloves are essential year round — even in warm climates. When I spoke at our luncheon, I wore plain winter gloves to emphasize that function is far more important than fashion for someone suffering from the pain and discomfort of Raynaud’s. The talk gave me the opportunity to talk about Raynaud’s and the work of the Raynaud’s Association.
For our event, which sold out at 100 women, participants were charged a fee to cover the costs of the meal and facility in addition to a tax-deductible donation. Here, $40-$50 is a common charge to attend a luncheon/fashion show, but this figure can vary widely according to the venue, community, etc. The fashion show is not mandatory, but it really draws a crowd.
For this element of the event, we met with the owner of a local clothing boutique who partners regularly with local groups to run the shows. She asked us to select 5-6 women from our community to model the clothes. The “models” worked with the boutique to select 2-3 outfits for the show. All the fittings were done a couple of weeks in advance of the lunch. In return, they were awarded the option of buying anything they modeled for a 30% discount. The women I asked were thrilled with the arrangement — and, because they knew many of the luncheon attendees, everyone enjoyed the show.
The owner of the boutique came to the luncheon to help the women get ready to walk the “runway” (they got dressed in an adjoining room while dessert was being served) and describe the clothes. Every guest at the luncheon was given a coupon worth 25% off any item in the store during the following month. It was a win-win for all; the guests got a great show and a discount on the clothes and accessories and the store got hordes of new customers. But the biggest recipient, of course, was the Raynaud’s Association (and all of us yearning for greater understanding of the condition). Local media covered the event for all to learn about Raynaud’s.
To increase donations beyond the entry fee for the luncheon, we also held a raffle. The luncheon committee put together five beautifully decorated baskets of items from local merchants (usually donated). When guests arrived, they were given the opportunity to buy raffle tickets. Virtually everyone did. Association literature and donation envelopes also were available to all.
Of course, many variations of this idea are possible. Local sponsors might want to donate or purchase ads in the program. Individuals and companies might underwrite expenses.
The event can be repeated (we’ve done it two years in a row and have another scheduled for February). It’s one idea that works to get everyone together to raise awareness and funds for Raynaud’s. And that’s a warm feeling.
Have ideas of your own? Please share with your fellow Frosties!