Fundraising plays an important role for Elmwood Park Zoo, and the community has always played an important role in our fundraising. We have come to rely upon – but never take for granted – the support that has been shown to us. The Join the Herd program is a community fundraising network, where by #joiningtheherd you can host your own fundraising activities to support the daily care of the zoo’s animals, the creation of new exhibits, and our growing operations.
A lemonade stand can be a great way to raise funds for the zoo – on your own or as part of a group effort. Set up a stand in front of your home, at the beginning of a large neighborhood, or at a safe intersection. You can even sell other items like iced tea, cookies, and other sweets. Set a price for your items or allow people to donate as they wish. Don’t forget to mention to your customer what you are raising the money for!
Most of us have items tucked away in our attics, storage spaces, or garage that we don’t need any longer. A perfect fundraising option is to set up a yard sale to sell these items. Yard sales work best on weekends during the early morning. You can benefit the zoo by donating your proceeds or a percentage to the zoo. If you decide to host a community yard sale, you can charge supporters for a table, an entry fee, or ask participants to donate proceeds to the zoo. You can also try selling items on retail websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace (make sure to have an adults help and permission).
If you have any unsold items, make sure to donate them to a shelter or community clothing box, this way another cause or charity can benefit from the items.
Ask a local gas station, store, or other place of business if they would allow you to host a car wash for donations (locations with a lot of traffic work best). Prepare a team of volunteers that can help you to direct cars with signs, wash cars, and collect money. Make sure to let drivers know what you are raising money for and be sure to thank them for attending.
Hold a dine and donate event at a local restaurant or cafe. Many eateries already offer this option on their website like Panera Bread, Chipotle, Chili’s, Max and Erma’s, and more! You can also reach out to local restaurants and cafes to see if they are willing to host a dine to donate event. Supporters will pay for their meal and a certain percentage will get donated back to the zoo. It is best to advertise your dine to donate event by posting it as a Facebook event, handing out flyers during the event (if allowed), and by telling family and friends.
Hold a happy hour at a bar which can include drink specials, wine-tasting, and discounted food. Make your happy hour one to remember with games like trivia. Reach out to bars around the area to see if a portion of your parties bill can be donated back to the zoo.
Host a special bar night event where your supporters pay a certain amount at the door to eat, drink, be entertained, and have the proceeds donated to the zoo. Many successful events include food, drinks, bands, comedians, silent auctions, live auctions, and games!
Charity donations in lieu of gifts can be a great alternative route for birthday parties, showers, or weddings. Making a mention of why you chose Elmwood Park Zoo is a great way to get everyone on board. You can include messaging along the lines of: “We’ve recently been asked for gift suggestions by family and friends. Please know that your presence on the day is enough, but for those who have expressed an interest, we’ve love for you to make a donation to Elmwood Park Zoo. A contribution would be most appreciated in lieu of a gift.
Many employers participate in “matching” the donations made by their employees. Your donation to a non-profit organization such as the Elmwood Park Zoo could garner an additional donation by your employer for up to 100% of your original gift. Most donations to the Elmwood Park Zoo can be matched, however gifts that return tangible benefits to you, such as a zoo membership, may not be eligible. Click here for more information.
Meet a few members of the herd
Gavin (7), came up with the idea on how to sell lemonade to his neighbors in a socially distant and responsible way, in hopes that he could raise money for Elmwood Park Zoo. Gavin and his family advertised their efforts on a neighborhood Facebook page. He raised a total of $138 through his efforts. Thank you Olff Family!
Jody, an Educational Representative of Usborne Books and More, and her son watched our Zoo School Live programs! As a middle school teacher herself, her and her son wanted to do something for the zoo, so they had a fundraiser through Usborne Books and More Cards for a Cause. They sold 32 boxes of greeting cards and raised $410 for Elmwood Park Zoo. Thank you Ruckle Family!
And a special thanks to Isabella who helped the zoo raise money for the animals by setting up her lemonade stand and putting out a donation bin for the zoo! Thanks again from all the people and animals at the zoo, Isabella!
MEET A FEW BUSINESSES THAT #JOINEDTHEHERD
To support the zoo during its closure Chaddsford Winery held a fundraiser selling limited edition zoo wines! In total, they sold 840 bottles and raised over $5,000 dollars for the zoo! Thanks again to our friends at Chaddsford Winery!
The Tavern at Valley Forge is currently hosting a Slushy Special, with $1 from every purchase donated back to the zoo. The special are the Frozen Elmwood Zoo and Frozen Starfish. Cheers to a great partnership!