I turned first to organizing the ticket-selling effort. I enlisted the AV department at our school to make 800 tickets for free. To make ticket-selling as easy as possible for the cheerleaders, I created sample language for them to use and typed up a list of tips for selling. These included selling tickets in uniform, selling with a buddy, and selling at times when people were more likely to be home. I provided each cheerleader with a packet that included the tickets, selling tips, and sample language. I explained to the squad that the cheerleader who sold the most tickets would receive special recognition. Then, I led by example: for weeks prior to the wash, I sold tickets every chance I got and offered to sell with any cheerleader who needed a selling buddy.
After the ticket-selling was in full swing, I turned to the task of seeking corporate sponsors. I used the model that was working so well for ticket selling: make the task as easy as possible. I drafted a letter that the cheerleaders could give to potential sponsors, explaining the fundraiser and asking for contributions. I also created a "corporate sponsor form" that contributors could fill out to provide necessary contact information. My cheer coach was able to convince a local sign company to donate a large banner thanking all of our corporate sponsors. The father of another cheerleader on the squad works for our local newspaper and he convinced them to run an ad thanking our sponsors after the event. More corporations were willing to give after hearing that their contributions would be publicly recognized. I divided the cheerleaders into teams of four. I explained that the teams were competing against one another and, again, the team that raised the most corporate sponsor dollars would be recognized after the event. I contacted Walgreen's Drug store on my own and was able to convince the corporation to donate $1,000!
With respect to publicizing the event, I created a flyer, made dozens of copies, and posted them all around town. I contacted every local radio station and asked them to advertise our event. I also tasked every cheerleader with spreading news of the event on Facebook. After I contacted a local newspaper, the paper ran a story in advance of the event giving all of the details.
With respect to the location, one of the cheer moms who works at a local bank on a busy corner convinced her employer to donate the space and the water supply. The day of the event, I kept the effort organized. I provided a rotation so that girls would take turns taking money and tickets, holding signs along the sidewalk and, of course, washing cars!
When all was said and done, we earned $2,500 in advance ticket sales, over $2,500 in corporate sponsorship, and over $700 the day of the car wash, for a grand total of $5,735! The day of the wash was magical. The community support was overwhelming -- people showed up to have their cars washed in the rain! One man drove up, handed us a $100 bill, and drove away without even getting his car washed. One woman said that she was on her way to Little Sioux because her nephew had been seriously injured in the tornado and was in the hospital recuperating. She said that she wanted to stop by the carwash on her way so that she could tell him about the people all the way across the state who were trying to help.
After the event, a mother of one of the scouts who died in the tornado heard about our efforts and sent our coach a letter to thank us. Here is part of what she had to say: "Wow! This is amazing! Every night when I go to sleep I pray to God and talk to Ben and ask 'What am I going to do tomorrow?' I still do not know why children die, but I do know that if we wake up in the morning then God wants us to live that day. Having friends like you girls helping us to make sure Ben's death brings something good for others is amazing . . . .You are making a difference in this world and in our lives."