There are few communities out there more tightly-knit than military families. They share a bond that runs deeper than almost any other affiliation. That’s why when a Family Readiness Group (FRG) sets out to accomplish something, it can depend on its loyal members to pitch in and contribute.
With Bonfire Funds, it’s easy to raise money for any social event your FRG is interested in hosting, from family fun nights to adult gatherings to homecoming ceremonies. By selling custom T-shirts bearing the name of your unit, ship or squadron, you’ll give your supporters something to wear with pride while fundraising for the events that matter to them.
Regardless of what branch of the military your group is affiliated with, there’s an extra-special shirt just waiting to be designed that’s sure to inspire your FRG. A soft T-shirt emblazoned with a custom graphic brings your unit together and will be worn with pride for years and decades to come.
It’s easy to create a shirt design
You’ve got a T-shirt design in your head, but you’re not sure what the next step is. With Bonfire’s streamlined T-shirt design tool, we take the headache out graphic design. Regardless of your level of technological experience, you’ll be able to create something unique, professional and evocative.
Bonfire’s vast clipart library, which includes numerous military-themed images, allows you to create a design without ever leaving your browser. But if you’ve got custom artwork to upload, we can accommodate that as well! Add text, change colors - the possibilities are endless.
And if you ever need help, our Customer Happiness Team is standing by. We count professional graphic designers among our ranks, which means that we’ll always make sure your shirt design prints exactly the way it’s supposed to.
Your FRG’s treasurer will be excited to see what can be accomplished with a T-shirt fundraiser on Bonfire. Our profit calculator allows you to set your own prices and plan out exactly how much you’d like to raise. And the best part: the more you sell, the higher your profits per shirt will be.
Proceeds from the fundraiser can provide a great boost to your FRG’s informal fund, which is commonly used for social events, and the like. You’ll never be asked to pay a Bonfire a dime, no matter what – there are no upfront costs or fees associated with starting a T-shirt fundraiser. Using the power of group-buying, Bonfire is able to keep the entire process free for the fundraiser organizer.
FRG fundraising guidelines
Because they’re officially sanctioned groups within the military, FRGs have to hold themselves to a high standard of fundraising ethics. When raising money, be aware of all the rules and regulations surrounding FRG fundraisers and the use of the funds collected. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Always keep your commanding officer (CO) in the loop when planning a fundraiser. She’s got the final say, and may consult with an ethics counselor to clear up any potential issues.
- Avoid promoting your fundraiser in the civilian community. FRG guidelines frown on accepting donations from those who won’t benefit from the funds raised.
- Stay consistent with the values of your branch of the military. The design possibilities for your shirt are endless, but some might be seen as inappropriate.
- Don’t raise more than $10,000 in a calendar year. If you’re close to your cap (a good problem to have!), consider saving the T-shirt fundraiser for the next calendar year.
Remember - different branches of the military have different regulations. Here’s a good FAQ from the Army's FRG guidelines.
More FRG fundraising ideas
T-shirt fundraisers are great, but they should be a part of an overall fundraising strategy. Here are a few great ideas to fill your coffers:
Potluck dinner and raffle
This tried and true classic is a crowd-pleaser. Everyone brings a delicious dish to share and there’s no charge for showing up. By making the event ostensibly free, you’ll increase attendance and avoid excluding folks who can’t afford to donate. Once the space is full of jolly potluck participants, unveil your raffle, which is hopefully chock-full of desirable goods and services donated by local businesses.
If you’ve got a superabundance of donated items and services, consider holding a penny social. This event (also known by the mildly offensive name “Chinese auction”) is essentially a series of many small raffles. Items are arranged on long tables with paper bags in front of them. Participants then “bid” on the items by casting tickets into the bags. The benefit of the penny social is that there’s a bit more strategy involved: if you spread yourself too thin or bid only on popular items, and your odds of winning aren’t great. However, pick a few strategic mid-level items to focus on, and you might walk away with multiple great prizes!
If you’ve got access to a parking lot near a highly trafficked intersection, consider hawking your soaping and scrubbing services to passing drivers. Everyone’s car gets dirty, and many folks would much rather support military families than a generic, automated gas station car wash. Be sure to make a large sign that says who the proceeds benefit.
Hint: Regardless of the gender-makeup of your fundraising contingent, consider donning swimsuits (if the weather’s warm, that is). It’s scientifically proven that motorists are more likely to realize just how dirty their cars are when presented with folks who are - erm - visibly enthusiastic about the washing cars.
Not all commanding officers are able to laugh at themselves, so approach this one cautiously. If you’ve got one with a healthy dose of humility and a passion for your FRG, consider asking him to be your fundraising
There are a wide range of stunts to choose from, so pick yours carefully. Here are a few ideas:
- A dunk tank! Everyone’s seen this fun spectacle – a person sits on a precarious platform that gives way when a target is hit by a baseball. Rent a dunk tank (or ideally have one donated) and charge a few bucks a throw. This is a great addition to any outdoor event like a barbecue or picnic.
- A pie in the face! This is an easy one that doesn’t require much investment, but it can be a terrific one-off fundraiser. Consider auctioning off the privilege to pie the CO right in the kisser, and you’ll get a stampede of excited prospective pastry-wielding assailants.
- Eat a bug! Reminiscent of Fear Factor, this stunt is the ultimate in disgusting fundraisers. This spectacle is conducive to a general fundraiser - if folks can donate enough to reach a certain goal, the insect will be ingested in front of an audience. The ickier the insect, the more motivation your CO’s biggest “fans” will have to fund the crunchy snack.