Great ideas guys! I'm going to have to get one or the other form of cards. I have to say that I really like the ones from moo.
Here's a few more fundraising ideas to consider:
Send emails to people who would have some kind of connection to the OBS based on their interests, background or jobs. This is not just for people that you know personally. Be sure to appeal to their particular connection. For example, last year I sent emails to all of our local TV meteorologists. The specific part of the plea that I used with them was:
As a New England meteorologist you obviously know about the Observatory and the great work they have been doing for more than 75 years in weather and climate research. You may not be aware of the breadth of their wonderful education programs which most recently have been expanded to include a distance learning program designed for grades 4-12 that will take classes to the summit of Mount Washington and into the observatory's weather center via interactive video conferencing. All of these programs are funded by the contributions of MWO members and through fund raising events like this one. We're trying to help them to keep these programs alive and successful.Other good candidates for this would be local school teachers and school officials (highlighting the distance learning program). This could be your kids teachers or could just be a list of science teachers, principals, etc that you could find from school web sites.
Try getting some local business to sponsor you. This doesn't have to be financial sponsorship. See if a local store, bar, restaurant, etc would be willing to put up a poster for STP in their establishment with your pledge link on it (and possibly allow people to make cash donations that they would collect for you). You could spend some time at the location as well doing personal solicitation.
You could also try to find a local store, supermarket, etc that would let you set up a fundraising table outside (like many other non-profits do). People will almost always drop something in the box and if you can get to talk to some of them and explain the cause you may get bigger donations.
Provide some service for people in exchange for donations. I can't take credit for this idea. Erich (Bluedog) came up with this last year and got donations from people at sports car club events (I think that's right) that he did photography for. On a similar approach Charlie's idea of auctioning off the painting is awesome.
Find a local group that you could do a talk for about the OBS and your previous STP experience. A school, retirement home, outdoor club (local AMC chapter), etc would be good candidates. Offer to do a 1/2 hour talk and slide show and then make the pitch for donations for the next event.
See if you can find any methods for getting matching funds. This could be from some philanthropic organizations or even from your employer. My company provides several opportunities for people that do volunteer work including providing a day off each year for volunteerism and a "dollars for doers" program in which they will give $250 to an organization that an employee does at least 25 hours of volunteer work for in the course of the year.
I'm sure there are many other good ideas out there as well. Let's keep building this list and make this an over the top fundraising year for STP10!!!