UPDATED: A Parent Ramble about Marketing: Raising Money for Africa, Kids, and the Irish Fair

On Monday, I told Joel Carlson, that I’m not into “mom blogs,” which is true because I don’t write about parenting in this venue.

This weekend, however, parenting and marketing intersect.

All week at Good Ground Press we spoke about the African famine, what it means to live a Catholic life, and how to market our print products and interactive relationships. All of these things are actually interrelated as you will see. Rather spontaneously, my colleagues spoke of packing food last night at Feed My Starving Children and running a 5K for charity. So I mentioned my kids’ fascination with Plumpy’nut and their desire to buy some for Africa.

It’s very easy to donate money for the Horn of Africa–you can text a $10 donation via the World Food Programme, which I’ve done.

My dilemma is that a texted donation isn’t very real from a kid’s perspective. We can’t empty our “sharing” envelopes, go to Cub Foods, buy ready-to-eat Plumpy’nut, and ship it to Africa.

As marketer, I communicate with customers how the products I represent will solve their problems. That was the reason for our roundtable discussion this morning. We need to persuade our buyers–parents and parishes–how Spirit 4 Teens give teens a reason to talk about their faith and look at the world through that lens.

As a parent, I know that in order for my kids to really understand what it means to give of their talents in support of others, they would have to do “the doing.” Their charity work–even at 3, 8, and 10–has to be tangible to be persuasive.

This week, they made art everyday. We’ve got a stack about 2 inches thick ready to sell, but that didn’t seem quite enough. So we picked a few cool pictures, scanned them, dropped them into Adobe InDesign and presto, we had bookmarks laid out on the page.

But what to say on them?

We settled on Irish-Americans for African Famine Relief. Why? Because we’re Irish, or at least the kids are thanks to their father’s ancestors fleeing the Irish Potato Famine. And it’s the Irish Fair this weekend in St. Paul. Plus we snuck in a little history lesson.

We also wanted people to know that we’re authentic, that we are really raising money for famine relief. So on the back, we listed the price of the bookmark ($1) and the name, address, and phone number of the relief agency we selected.

Who did we pick?

Somewhere that we could send a check too? No, we picked the American Refugee Committee whose world headquarters are in Minneapolis.

Why? They do great work AND they are local. Next week my kids will bring the proceeds of their art, water, and bookmark sales plus their own “sharing” money to ARC and hand deliver the fruits of their labor.

The bookmarks, as you can see are GORGEOUS! (Thanks to Good Ground Press for their production).

If you’re interested in buying one, you can find us on Saturday, August 13th here:

  • “Somewhere near” the Irish Fair late in the afternoon when revelers will be walking back and forth to their cars and needing an ice-cold bottle of water

We’ll be the cute family with lots of art, bookmarks, and a cooler in a big red wagon. I’ll be the one wearing my official St. Paul Peddler’s Permit which licenses me to sell stuff walking around town.

See you Saturday!


UPDATE:  They raised $155.

I spent about $12 on water and $72 for St. Paul Peddler’s permit, which I “donated” to the cause.

Would it have been easier to simply donate $100? Of course, but that wasn’t the only point, obviously.

One thought on “UPDATED: A Parent Ramble about Marketing: Raising Money for Africa, Kids, and the Irish Fair

  1. Me? Say something “rather spontaneously?” Never!

    I’m glad I bought two bookmarks before they sold out. And I’m glad you’re getting your kids into volunteering so early!

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