Many teens in middle school and high school find themselves fund-raising for a cause.
Whether for a school team or club events, church mission trips, international humanitarian efforts, school trips, or anything in between, the act of asking others for money is enough to make even the most outgoing student squeamish.
These days, young people can use the power of social media and the Internet to make fund-raising faster, easier and maybe even fun.
The same technology that powered major events such as the Occupy movement and the Arab spring can be used to raise money or invest in the community.
One of the most effective forms of modern-day fund raising is also one of the simplest. "Crowdfunding" websites such as IndieGoGo, Kickstarter and GoFundMe allow anyone to create a page detailing the reason for raising money. Although the exact methods and rates differ by site, typically you set a goal for your project, and the crowdfunding site charges a small percentage of your donated amounts.
After writing an introduction to your project, the option to upload photos is given, as well as the option to offer incentives for donating. Incentives can be anything: a postcard from your travel destination, a handwritten thank-you letter, or even a hug.
After the page is finished, it is published on the website and available for anyone to donate any amount. Most crowdfunding sites are linked with social media sites, giving all of your friends and followers the ability to donate quickly and conveniently.
Garage sales, powered by viral advertising on media such as Facebook, Twitter and Craigslist can be great sources of income, especially if you specify the cause for which you are raising money.
While raising money for a mission trip to Kenya, Abigail Stiles, 16, of Riverbank held a garage sale with the team from her church. The four of them were able raise nearly $350 each.
Most of the items for sale were donated. Stiles and the other members of her church offered to pick up any donated items, and held the sale for two days.
One tried-and-true method of raising money is the bake sale. Bake sales have proved to be an effective technique for countless years, and with proper marketing techniques can be even more efficient.
With the help of a heavy Internet presence that most teens enjoy, donations of baking supplies and physical labor can be more easily obtained.
You might plan to set up outside a public area, or deliver platefuls of handmade goods to your customers. You might create a Facebook event or organize a "baking party," in which everyone is "charged" admission of a key ingredient.
Baked goods can take on a role in other fund-raising events, such as being used as a raffle prize, or being served as refreshments for potential sponsors.
For the more creatively inclined student, there are unlimited ways to earn extra money. Making handmade jewelry, such as beaded earrings or hair feathers, can generate a high margin of profit when sold at schools and craft fairs, or on websites such as Etsy.
Skilled photographers can offer to take family portraits for donations, or candid shots of children playing at a park. Painters can offer portrait sessions.
In the past, community murals have been used to raise money for art associations and student art groups by charging local artists for donations to paint a section of the mural. By holding an art session for younger children, both admission and materials fees can be covered.
Whatever a student's passion or gift, he or she can take it and create a fund-raiser out of it.
With Internet connectivity, fund-raising can be more efficient and effective.
Zachary Senn is home-schooled and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom Program.