When - Time Line
Easter is usually early to mid-spring which means Lent or Seasonal preparation begins relatively early in February. The role of the fundraising organization should be explained prior to your kick off date as the fund raising organization will need to make sure "official" advance notice goes into the parish before their fundraising efforts can begin. Easter preparation or Lenten season is an appropriate time to focus on helping others and your church's introduction of "Living Lilies" is a way to explain your project that helps the parish. The fundraising group can then use each Sunday to be outside to meet the congregation and get them involved in the advance purchase of your Easter Lilies. Also orders will need to be turned in well before Palm Sunday, so time is of the essence during Lent.
Ideally introduction of "Living Lilies" should come from your minister or pastor as he will be instrumental in setting the tone for the program. It could be possible that your youth minister introduce the concept. Before doing so, however, any group connected to the fundraising effort should be in agreement about how it should work. Make sure that other internally committees that might ordinarily buy Easter Lilies (such as Altar Society) understand how this program could benefit them as they may be able to save funds by having plants donated to them.
If there are other ministries that might use Easter Lilies then they should be aware of what you are getting ready to do. If there is a ministry to those who are homebound or sick then they should know that you might have a small token of the Easter Season (an Easter Lily) that they can give to their shut-ins.
If your Altar Society is traditionally responsible for decorating the Church or hall with Easter Lilies then this can be presented as a benefit for them too. The youth group will be able to take "pledges" from individuals or families to donate (buy) a plant for the Church in addition to the plants that might be sold for home use. The youth group benefits from the fundraising and the Altar Society benefits from getting the altar decorated without cost to them.
How - Logistics
Select your Easter Lily supplier before beginning your fundraising. Puzzled about where to find a supplier near you - look in the Yellow Pages under the "Greenhouse" category. A pre-ordering may be necessary. Make sure you both understand each other's timeline for plant delivery and location. Once you receive your Easter Lily plants, distribution of your Easter Lilies should be the responsibility of the fund raising entity (Altar Society, Youth Group, etc.) and they will actually make sure that the Easter Lilies go where they are supposed to go. You may choose to have the donated Easter Lilies left at the Church or perhaps placement of those lilies can be made part of the Easter Vigil service if you have. Our organization (Easter Lily Research Foundation) has online digital photographs and art that you can use to personalize your materials.
The Many Joys of Easter Lilies
Besides being part of the Easter tradition, there is a side benefit to an Easter Lily. This is a "gift" that keeps giving. Feel free to visit our website for plant care and most importantly, how to replant so that next year your garden will again reflect the joy that these lilies give. In many part of North America you can expect your Easter Lily to rebloom again in June or July.