Planning a party that raises money for your scholarship fund is fun! There are several events that can double as fundraisers for your pageant. Here are some ways to raise funds for your pageant that are classic as well as cutting edge. Get your community involved!
In past years, the Miss Montana program has put together fundraiser fashion shows. The idea sparked from program book ad sales and culminated in a charity event for the pageant. "I decided this would be a great way to let Bozeman (Montana) know about Miss Montana and the Children's Miracle Network," says Nicole Yost, 2011 Miss Montana contestant.
She got clearance from the Shodair Children's Hospital to hold the fashion show in their honor, and they were more than open to the idea.
"Glen Newhart at Shodair was a great help," says Nicole. "He sent me brochures, fliers, and other supplies."
Other local businesses chipped in, donating raffle items and free samples, and volunteering their time the day of the fashion show. Ultimately, Nicole was able to raise a healthy sum for the Shodair Children's Hospital while also introducing Bozeman to the Miss Montana pageant.
Now that social media is a large part of pageantry, with Facebook and Twitter feeds providing news and information on a daily basis, some fundraising events have entered virtual reality. Many state pageants have a People's Choice award, where the most "popular" contestant is given a small scholarship award or similar recognition.
In 2011, the Miss Florida pageant took this tradition and went viral with it. They set up a website advertising their People's Choice competition and all the necessary details–for example, the fact that the winner of the competition would be a semifinalist at the state pageant. Anyone could vote online for a contestant, for the price of $1. Voting was unlimited and all proceeds went to the Miss Florida Scholarship Organization. They were able to raise a lot from this promotion and with minimal effort on their part.
Raising money for your pageant or Children's Miracle Network is a constant task, as all pageant volunteers know. By planning events that involved your community–whether it is a new idea or a classic concept–you can put the "fun" back in fundraising.
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When Amalia Schwerdtmann, board chairman of Miss Illinois Scholarship Association, talks about her initial involvement with the Miss Illinois pageant, she first mentions that she was a hostess for Miss Illinois starting in 1995. Then she quickly mentions that she ran a local pageant as well.
"I have the perspective from being board chairman to running a local," Amalia says.
For Amalia, the locals are what give the Miss Illinois program its strength. The core purpose of the organization, based in Lake in the Hills, is to help provide the young women of Illinois who compete in its local and state programs with opportunities to enhance their personal and professional development through the organization's scholarship programs.
"We really listen to local directors for their ideas to obtain what they want and need in order to make Illinois successful under the Miss America umbrella," Amalia says.
Being successful goes beyond the pageant to being financially successful. Illinois pageant officials are willing to change, to learn from mistakes. It's critical for the pageant to be fiscally responsible for its own existence, along with helping the young women and their families in tough economic times.
"You don't want the parents to have to pay for things when their daughters are competing in scholarship programs," Amalia says. "We always try to get sponsorships. We're fortunate with the directors we have. We're fortunate with donors we have, the sponsors. Bridal Elegance and Pageantry is one of our largest sponsors. We're very blessed."
These blessings come about from a lot of hard work.
"We follow the successful old adage of knocking on doors and making phone calls," Amalia says. "The program runs a golf outing every year, sells tickets to the pageant program, and offers a princess program. There were forty-three princesses last year, its fifth. The Miss Illinois mentoring program is a non-competitive mentoring program."
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This past weekend, Michigan welcomed two new titleholders: Miss Spirit of the State 2011 Mekeisha Alcock and Miss Spirt of the State's Outstanding Teen Brooklyn Lambert.
The pageant was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the Circle Theatre. Executive Director Noddea Skidmore is a former Miss Michigan contestant herself and has been directing this popular local pageant since 2003.
Photos Courtesy of Bryan Frank