The year of 2017 was racked with devastating weather across the planet. Hurricanes, earthquakes, landslides, and now the deep freeze that has taken us into the new year, disaster survival is on everyone’s mind. Taking your next mission trip to help rebuild a community hit by a recent natural disaster will resonate strongly with your group participants and your entire congregation. You may even get an unusually high number of volunteers whose recent brushes with extreme weather has made them sensitive the thought of someone else’s home getting washes away. Of course, plane tickets and disaster recovery supplies don’t pay for themselves which is why mission trip groups are constantly running fundraisers.
The key to a successful fundraiser is making sure that the community is happy to be a part of your charitable project. The best way to do this is to link the theme of the fundraiser with the theme of the trip and give your donors a little something in return to remind them that they are part of your effort. This can be accomplished in a number of ways and often mission trip groups simply choose something fun to sell, explain their trip, and leave it at that. With the disaster recovery theme, you have an interesting chance to do a little good for both your community and the one you’re going on a trip to help.
Selling Disaster Survival Kits
If your mission trip is built around helping a community recover from a natural disaster, where they are and the type of disaster in question will determine the supplies that would be useful to bring or source along the way. Along the same lines, your home region will determine what would make a good disaster survival kit for your friends and neighbors. For most people, this would include candles, matches, soap, a can opener, and other things that would make it easier to live in a modern home that was snowed in or get by in a rescue shelter. What’s worth noting is that unlike popcorn, cookie dough, or little figurines, survival kits include things your neighbors might actually need or could use every day. You can also help them connect more emotionally to the people you’re going to help by bringing the thought of disaster survival closer to home.
Building Your Fundraiser Kit Options
One of the most important aspects of building any fundraiser is pricing. Because a mission trip is often put together and supported by an entire community, you will want donor options ranging from the $10 range up into a few hundred for anyone feeling especially magnanimous. For survival kits, this gives you the opportunity to build kits of tiered levels ranging in size and price so that everyone gets something from the fundraiser that suits their price range. You can also price the kits one component at a time and give your donors the opportunity to build their own kit to either fit the amount they’d like to donate or because they are genuinely interested in survival supplies.
The key is how you price your merchandise. With modern eCommerce, it should be easy to find sources of the supplies you want to use. You can also look into finding local businesses who might be willing to donate one aspect like bar soap or packaged food for each order. As long as the prices for the kits are reasonably higher than your cost for supplies and shipping, you’ll be funding the trip.
Small Affordable Kit Components
The first kits you want to think carefully about is what you can give people at the lowest level of donation, as these will probably make up the vast majority of your donors. You also want the supplies to be relatively child-safe so that responsible children can be a part of your fundraiser. These kits should range between $10 and $25 for the customers and less to source. Pick and choose from the list and other survival gear that is cheap to buy for decent quality.
- Tall candles, matches, and a candle dish
- Roll of trash bags
- Bar of soap and a towel
- Pocket Knife
- Alcohol pads, band-aids, and aspirin
- Ace bandage
- Notebook and pen
- 10 feet of nylon rope
- Cotton handkerchief
- Needle, spool of black thread, and 4 buttons, 10 safety pins
- Can opener
- Toothbrush, travel paste and mouthwash
- Disposable razor
- Bug spray
Medium Cost and Size Kits
The next level up is for people looking to spend more serious money on your fundraiser or who have a larger discretionary budget to work with. In general, your customers from $30 to $100 kits are likely to be working professionals and parents who are both interested in preparation and want to contribute to your mission trip. These kits should be thoughtfully put together to offer a complete value and line up with preparation for possible disasters in your region. You can use one of the small-pack configurations as your baseline.
- Emergency blanket and inflatable pillows
- Sturdy tarp with grommets
- Roll of Toilet Paper
- Roll of Duct Tape
- Nonperishable Food
- Travel Cooler
- Kettle and Thermoses
- Travel shampoo and conditioner
- Multipurpose flashlight
- Solar USB and battery charger
- Firestarter kit
- Citronella candles
Large Kits for Big Donors
Because of the nature of fundraisers, it’s generally alright if your larger kits are more profitable than the smaller ones. For the highest prices, what you’re selling is more like a token thank-you to a generous donor than a retail exchange. That said, it also gives you more leeway to add more expensive and useful items to your survival kit. Nicer items can also be swapped into the middle-price kits depending on how you build them.
- Water filtration straws
- Weather-appropriate sleeping bags
- Camping hotplate
- Travel tent
- Gallons of water
- Battery packs
- Fire extinguisher
- Inflatable mattress
- Walkie talkies
- More canned food
- Campfire-safe cooking pans
- Spare clothes
- Basic tool kit
While these lists will help to get you started, the fact of the matter is that there are hundreds of possible and very useful items you can include in a home or car survival kit and how you build kits should depend on what you can source cheaply, the region you live in, and what will appeal to your community. They’re easy to put together because you can buy the supplies after orders are taken and construct them by hand, adding that extra personal touch to each kit, possibly even with a personal note to each donor added to the kit for when they need it most.