At the Newport (KY) Aquarium, the WAVE Foundation took a unique approach to fund raising. Instead of selling the usual items for a premium or asking for a straight donation, the Foundation worked with the Aquarium to allow real penguins to create original art.
The display had a video of penguin feet being dipped in paint before the birds were allowed to roam freely on blank canvases. The large canvases were then cut into smaller sizes, framed and sold to raise money for the foundation. The prints even came with a "certificate of authenticity" and story of how the artwork came to be created.
While art museums may not clamor for the prints for their pure artistic value, they did make a colorful conversational piece. And if you were a lover of the aquarium or penguins in particular, these would be a lot of fun to have.
Think of how you can adapt the idea of Penguin Artwork. What resources do you have that you can capitalize on? Is there something within your organization that you can use to create a product that only you can offer? Can you add some levity to your donation-seeking pitch?
FUN-raising is much more than fund-raising, and likely more successful too.
-- beth triplett