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Fundraising With Hobbies
By Veronica Scott

Using your hobby as a way to raise funds for charities adds another level of appreciation to your passion. If you enjoy building something, why not share your creations and help others in the process? Raising money for a cause not only helps fund research for a specific illness or people in need, but it helps raise awareness for a cause that might not be well known to the general public. Many times, as you will see in the examples below, a specific hobbyist gains a reputation and the public begins to look forward to new items year after year.

2007 Dollhouse Raffle Fundraiser

The Lupus Alliance of America raised over $2000 at their Long Island event last year raffling off a dollhouse that somebody made and donated. This year, the same person that donated last year's dollhouse has created another one to raise even more money for the organization. This year's creation has nine rooms spread out over three levels. A nursery, living room, kitchen and bedrooms are scattered throughout the house and its wrap-around porch adds a lifelike appeal. The entire house has a market value of more than $2200, but the person who donated simply wants to contribute to this important cause.

The Fitzgibbon Hospital Cancer Center

In July 2006, Wesley and Elizabeth Kessler donated their homemade dollhouse to the Fitzgibbon Hospital Auxiliary to help raise money for cancer research and awareness. Wesley began building the dollhouse for his wife in the 1970s as a gift for his wife. When they moved, he donated the dollhouse to the hospital. Before the dollhouse went up for auction, two hospital workers added several touches of their own. Valued at nearly $8,000 by an appraiser, it helped to bring money to the hospital's cancer center while at the same time provided a project that brought people closer together.

The Patricia Gage Liver Transplant Fund Committee

Exorbitant medical expenses often hit us when we're least prepared to deal with them. When a distinguished member of the faculty at the University of Vermont had been diagnosed with a rare liver disease in 2003, the rest of the staff jumped in to help the family do what they could to help pay the medical bills. Patricia's husband built a customized dollhouse for his wife and offered it to the committee for auction in a raffle. The structure brought in thousands of dollars and helped the family pay off some of the medical bills accumulated since her diagnosis.

If you're in charge of an organization that needs to raise funds, auctioning off a specially-made dollhouse is an ideal way to generate large donations. Find somebody experienced in this craft to build a one-of-a-kind creation or simply ask some specialty stores if they would consider donating one of their finished products. Some companies will do this for a tax write-off. Since each dollhouse is unique and special, people will likely pay thousands of dollars to own one, especially if their money is going for a good cause.

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