Just out of curiosity I was wondering how many that do collect for charity actively get out every night with collection tins and how many are passive with a donation box type of set up which we are currently doing.
Last 3 year prior to this we did the tin rattling for the Bendigo Hospital. This year the hospital decided not to supply tins as part of the local lighting comp so we weren't prepared at December 1. We're not asking for donations this year but we're still having some people donate. All the donation will be going to the hospital whether they want it or not. Next year I'm either going to have a scrolling pixel sign or some sort of sign saying donations are for the hossie.
I did tin shaking last year ( well my 2 young girls did). The best thing about it was people actually got to hear the soundtrack of the display then understood the whole flashing thing after that.
We did it for the major childrens Hospital last year and they were great as they send spare tins out. advertising and letters of approval for collection. we did only get just over $100 for our first year because of the lack of people with all the rain and floods we experianced.
I would have done it again this year but they never contacted me and I was a bit laided up as well.
We have the donation box out the front, But nothing beats Tin shaking.
You get to meet people and let them ask questions. Tell them about the display and get the word out.
Dollar value on this is I think 100 times better than doing the passive approach.
Also you learn what people you can approach just by looking at them. If they do drive off dont let it dishearten you. Just move on.
I tend to let them pull up and watch for a little before approaching too. This seems to help a lot and not intimidate people. Remember that not all people will give you money, but most will. We also are not out till the lights go out. Unless its a weekend. I normally come in around 9pm depending on traffic. My kids are also involved and love it. My 5 yr old knows its going to the kids hospital to help really sick kids and tells people that.
Last year without the donation box we collected $871 in 9 days. This last week is where you will get most of your $$$ so get out there if you can
This is from last night. We had Stitches the Bear playing in the snow with all the kids. Huge drawcard for us. At one stage we must of had around 70 kids or so out the front
I prefer not to approach people for donations but instead hand out sweets.
Last year and again this year I am using a passive (unattended) donation box secured to my brick fence at the gate. It is actually a small $20 safe from Bunnings with a slot cut in one side with an angle grinder, It is continuously lit during the show and I indicate in my voice introduction that this year I am collecting for Youngcare, and Guide Dogs for the Blind - all donations split on a 50:50 basis. There are also two buttons to activate some extra lights which run a short (15s) interactive sequence. I mention these in the introduction as an encouragement for children. Adjacent to the box are a couple of laminated fliers for the charities together with letters from them giving me authority to collect. I empty the box nightly after the show and keep a record of takings. Tonight (Sat) was particularly good with more than $300 collected for the evening. In 2010, my donations were for Mater Miracles and RACQ Careflight and totalled just over $800.
My show runs on a continuous cycle - introduction plus six songs giving about a 17min duration. The crowds are getting bigger each night and there are frequently more than 50 people standing on the footpaths watching. After some sequences, particularly Wizards in Winter, it is not unusual to hear spontaneous clapping, - this does make one feel good. Council bus tours start on Monday.
I definitely prefer the passive collection approach and it is working well. Geoff
My approach is a passive active one, Due to having to do traffic management and divert traffic one way around the street i have a bucket at the end of the street where they drive out and can place dontations for the cancer council. My voice over asks to 'feel free to place a small donation for the cancer council in the bucket at the end of the street' and with my traffic 'assistance' only approaching the car when people stop to give donations. Ive told them the only night they can actively seek donations is on Christmas eve.
It works well and have definetly seen an increase in donations this year
We started doing donations late last year for the Animal Welfare League, collecting food, bedding and money to donate to the animals, we don't shake a tin but do have a sign advertising who we are donating to.
We have many people ask if we take donations to pay for the electricity but decline as this is our gift to the community. Great to see so many other people raising some great amount of $$$ for their charities, it seems like Christmas time and Christmas lights bring out the best in people not just with hand in pocket but with the many comments about the lights and wishing all a very Merry Christmas.
Great to see the kids dancing under the snow there Mike, it adds to the shows interactivity and the smiles on the kids and parents faces are gold.
Yes this year we are collecting for the Starlight Foundation. Have made a donation box with LED strip which is bolted to the fence. Tuppet ordered a double keyed money box from USA which we integrated in our donation box but can be taken out during the day. It's a great idea. One key locks the lid and the other key locks it into our decorated donation box. A nice secure system.
We go out and give out candy canes to everyone. We then ask for a donation for our chosen charity, Redkite, and if they do then great. If not then no drama. I would not trust a donation box outside as it would get stolen.
Our house has bushland over the road, so there is plenty of space for cars to pull up and watch the display from the other side of the road (which is best viewing point anyway). This works great for them, and I suppose for a lot of them with young kids, they can leave the kids in the car. (given there's no daylight saving here, we can start the lights at 7pm, and it's dark by around 7:40, so get a lot of young kids)
The problem with this, is that unless I go across the road, many don't know we're collecting for PMH (local kids hospital). I don't like hassling them too much, although nearly everyone has been quick to donate, so I really should do it more.. It's also easier with the kids out there (5yo and 2yo) - they are very good at asking people for money!
For when I'm not there, I have left some zip-lock bags tied to the PMH sign, and I get quite a few people put coins and notes in, and leave these in my letterbox (which is secure). I have also found people come back during the day and donate, which is good!
No idea how much we've raised yet, as they are sealed tins - I think they let us know how much at the end - my guess is around $500 so far, but can't be sure.
I think its excellent that our hobby generates some great donations for many worthy causes. The one night thats worth being active when trying to raise donations is Christmas eve as thats when everyone is in high spirits and are willing to donate and many will donate with notes.
So wishing everyone well with their donations with what ever way they decide to do it