I spent my Saturday working on a BBQ / sausage sizzle fundraiser for our Scout Troop this weekend.

To me, the good old-fashioned community fundraiser is such a vital part of a strong community – whether that be a small town, or a neighbourhood within a larger town or city. While some people can’t go past the smell of sausages and onion on the barbie, others are drawn to the cake stall for mouthwatering homemade goodies, or the handicraft stall for a dazzling array of handmade handiwork.

And what about the school fete with fun like face painting and jumping castles? Or the book stalls that entice you to “fill a bag for $2”? Always a very dangerous place for me to visit! Or the ever popular trivia night?

Unfortunately with people being so time-poor these days, many fundraisers like these that rely on volunteers are slowly dying out. Schools and community groups like sports & Scouts/Guides have had to introduce an option of allowing parents to donate either time or money for the fundraising – and many are choosing to donate the money. I hope it’s a trend that reverses, as I think community fundraisers fill more than just a “make money” hole.

In our sausage sizzle last weekend, it gave our Scouts valuable experience in cooking, taking money (and working out change!) and interacting with the public, as well as the social aspect of them all working together for a common cause. On the other side of the table, we had several people stop to buy because they were former Scouts and wanted to have a chat and a reminisce about their Scouting days. We even had a few donations as well! People take the extra few minutes to stop, slow down and have a chat while they’re being served.

So tell me, what community fundraiser is your favourite? What can’t you go past?