Since 2005, Vistaprint employee Dan Barrett (front row, third from left) and his family have been hosting a Halloween haunted house in Newton, Massachusetts. Using spooky props and a dozen volunteer “monsters” (graduate students and postdocs from his wife’s lab, the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory at Northeastern University), they turn their old stone basement into a haunted cavern for kids. Last year they raised $2500 in two and a half hours and donated the entire sum to the Greater Boston Food Bank.
To publicize the event, the Barretts ordered 1000 postcard-sized invitations; several hundred went to the nearest elementary school where, with the principal’s permission, they were distributed to all students. The rest were placed in local shops (again, with permission from the shop owners).
In addition, the Barretts solicited businesses in their neighborhood to sponsor the event in various ways. A local pizzeria provided free food for the volunteers after the event. A local bakery whipped up some Halloween-themed cookies to be sold (for charity) at the event. And several other businesses simply donated cash for the Food Bank. To encourage donations, Barrett created a three-fold brochure at Vistaprint that described the haunted house and its mission and history.
Finally, the Barretts ordered several large banners and lawn signs, to place outside their house to advertise the event for a week.
Now in their seventh year of spooking kids, the Barretts are hoping for their biggest turnout yet in 2011!
Has your micro business or family organized a fun activity to raise money for a charitable organization? We’d love to hear about it!