Here at FrontStream, we like to think of ourselves as being pretty knowledgeable when it comes to unique and creative fundraising ideas. We’ve put together some pretty comprehensive lists for fast fundraising event ideas, animal shelter fundraising ideas, and much more, but even we didn’t think of this one: A small-town mayoral race where people can purchase a vote with a donation!
However, it wasn’t human candidates up for the position of mayor in Omena, Michigan – it was cute animals, including 2 cats, 13 dogs, a goat, a chicken, and a peacock(!). The winner? Sweet Tart, an adorable long-haired calico cat.
Fortunately, having to write isn’t a requirement: “They have their paw. We accept paw prints. Legal documents can be executed with a paw print,” said Keith Disselkoen, the president of the Omena Historical Society. (Of course, with three years in office, Sweet Tart can certainly consider picking up the skill)
A vote cost $1, and more than 7,000 people voted in the election. The money went to the Omena Historical Society, and the international visibility they received from the light-hearted stunt was priceless. Disselkoen is quoted as saying: “Because of our internet reach and because of our publicity and because of the ability to receive votes from PayPal, it’s really expanded the number of people that have participated.”
If you’re hoping for your creative fundraiser to reach the heights of the Omena Historical Society’s, take a page from their book and widen your donor base beyond just your community. Look into what avenues you have for spreading the word and raising money online, and be sure to be prepared if your cause takes off – you want to be able to capitalize on your campaign going viral as soon as possible! (Perhaps looking into Giving Days could be just the thing you need!)