Polly Smith, Southampton, Great Britain

Raising Group funds can be an enormous help towards Growing your Group. Whether to maintain or expand a Group library, fund Leader-related expenses and attendance at workshops and training, pay Group or Leader fees and assessments, or pay for a meeting venue or refreshments, money helps! However, generating a useable amount of Group funds can seem a daunting task.

Ideas for raising Group funds have been discussed in “Group Fundraising Ideas.” Here we will focus on donations.

Accepting gifts as donations

If parents want to buy a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding or other LLL approved book for the Group library, or give a small donation to the Group so that Leaders can continue supporting others, we can accept graciously what is offered.

Acknowledging donations

Some Groups acknowledge donations by putting a bookplate or include a note “donated by ___” or funded by a parent. Other ideas include sending handmade thank you cards, or providing small items like pens or bags made and printed with the LLL logo. Thanking mothers personally in the Group meeting or publicly on Facebook is another way to express your gratitude for a donation.

Collection tin

A clearly labeled collection tin or basket for donations available at every meeting can prove useful. Placing it near the leaflets or Group library, and passing it around at refreshment time will ensure everyone has a chance to donate if they are able. While we can be clear that the support we offer is free and donations are voluntary, writing the amount of a suggested donation on the container has helped some Groups to receive more donations. The suggested donation is something that every Group can decide individually, with the local demographic in mind.

Promoting membership

In the United Kingdom (UK), a portion of every membership fee goes to the mother’s local Group. Therefore, encouraging memberships can be an important way to raise local funds. Talking about membership in the notices/announcements before a Series Meeting can act as a useful reminder and ensures it is not forgotten. Some Groups choose to give their members additional incentives from time to time to show their appreciation or to make a membership more attractive. LLL Chilterns had Group bags made for their members (see photograph).

Sale of books

Some Groups sell copies of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding at meetings. Groups can advertise the great books available in their Affiliate, Area Network, or Area’s online bookstore, if it has one.  Although selling books may not bring extra income for your Group directly, purchases from an LLL bookstore help LLL and many Group members are happy to help LLL in this way.  If a mother pays cash, she may choose to make an extra donation to your Group at the same time as she purchases a book. Some Groups also take payment via PayPal, Venmo or other online payment system, which can be linked to the local bank account for the Group.

Donations from ethical organisations

Patty Spanjer of Dalton, Georgia, USA approaches her local breastfeeding coalition for donations:

“We get donations for expenses from the local breastfeeding coalition. Full disclosure, I am president of the coalition, but I feel sure we would get donations even if I wasn’t. The mission statement of most coalitions is to promote breastfeeding, and what better way than to support LLL? I suggest that LLL Leaders join a local coalition. If they don’t wish to join, consider asking for donations. In the past we sent letters to local pediatrician and obstetrician offices asking for a donation. That usually results in a couple of contributions. I feel strongly that you want the community to feel they have a vested interest in you. We sometimes ask local businesses and usually get a donation.”

Donations via JustGiving

JustGiving is an organisation for online fundraising that charges a fee.  Other similar companies are available as well.

“24 hours after posting a JustGiving link, we have over £200 ($280) for LLL Chelmsford funds. I’m totally floored by the generosity of the mothers, and their mums, who have donated too! If you’re thinking about setting up a page, I can highly recommend it.” Kerry Basil  (LLL Chelmsford, UK)

Leaders are always discovering ways to raise money for their Groups and the mothers in the Group may also have their own ideas.  You can encourage and facilitate those conversations. Many of the mothers you have helped will be keen to want to help you and your Group too.

Code of ethics

The Code of Ethics: Funding says:

“LLLI, LLL entities and LLL representatives may seek a diverse range of funding from

  • memberships
  • individual donations/contributions
  • grants from acceptable charitable foundations, governments or public agencies
  • appropriate commercial sources (see below).

LLLI, LLL entities, and LLL representatives shall choose sources of funding carefully. Before choosing a funding source, we will research its products and ownership structure, using our international networks and any relevant publications in print and on the World Wide Web. Leaders and employees working on funding issues will support each other by sharing information and will be mutually affirming and accountable world-wide.”

For the full text, please refer to the Code of Ethics: Funding on the LLLI website, (sign in with your LLLID and password when prompted).

Polly Smith was accredited in September 2014 and began co-leading LLL Southampton meetings with her two co-Leaders. She is currently involved in running a pilot antenatal breastfeeding class and is actively involved in the local maternity hospital initiative (Breastfeeding Champions) to improve breastfeeding at the hospital. Polly home educates her six-year-old twins. Polly is also ta Contributing Editor for Growing Your Group in Leader Today.