Any charity or non-profit organization needs to raise money. Yet rounding up the troops and asking for donations isn’t always enough. For big fundraising drives you need big ideas. Looking for an idea for your organization’s next fundraiser? Check out some of these ideas to get the ball rolling.
1. Candy bar sales
Some of the best fundraisers are also the simplest. If you’ve ever encountered someone selling candy such as M&Ms from a large box, you’ve seen someone trying to raise money for his organization. You won’t rake in the big bucks selling candy bars for a dollar a piece, but you can sure sell a lot of them. With fundraiser packs you can get a decent cut of each sale, too.
2. Restaurant gift cards
Restaurants love it when you buy gift cards, because it locks you into spending that money at their establishment. They like it so much, in fact, that they’ll often offer big discounts to fundraising organizations. Some restaurants will offer you $50 gift cards that you can sell for as little as $25. Best of all, you get to keep a chunk of that sale as well. Be sure to take advantage of this one; few people will be able to pass up the opportunity for a half-priced meal.
Popularized by LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation, wristbands have caught on in a major way for fundraisers of all kinds. The best part is that they’re super cheap to obtain. If you buy in bulk you can get them for as little as a dollar a piece. You can mark them up to about $5, since it’s for a charitable cause. That’s one great way to raise money for your organization.
4. Coupon books
While selling discounted restaurant gift cards might bring in many customers, selling discount coupon books can bring in even more. Instead of offering discounts at a single restaurant, coupon books offer discounts at not only restaurants, but dozens of retailers and other shopping outlets. They can cost a bit more, but the savings are all there.
5. Exercise pledge drives
You probably see these all the time: walk-a-thons or 5K runs to help fight cancer. These fundraisers make money through the participants. The participants find people to pledge, and then collect after they’ve completed the walk or the run. The best part about these is that people can pledge based on performance, so it becomes a bit more fun for all involved.
Done correctly, raffles can be a high-earning endeavor. The key is to find a sponsor for the raffle. For instance, if your organization wants to raffle off a flat screen TV, find a retailer that is willing to donate one to your cause (in exchange for publicity, of course). You can then buy raffle tickets rather cheaply and charge as much or as little as people are willing to pay. You’ll keep almost all the money donated.
People will always pay for a good meal, but they’ll pay for a bit more if the proceeds are going to a cause they believe in. You’ll have to find a restaurant or ballroom open to hosting such an event, and might need to hire outside caterers. After you figure out those costs, you can decide how much to charge per plate. Chances are you can still earn significant money for your organization.
8. Community yard sales
This fundraiser works in two parts. The first part is to get community members to donate items to your yard sale. Most people are willing to part with items for a good cause, just as they’re wiling to donate from time to time. But donating items is a bit easier than donating straight money. After you collect enough items, it’s time to sell them. You can sell them relatively cheaply, too, since it didn’t cost you anything to acquire them.
9. Date auction
These are always fun, because they get people talking. Who will bid on whom? No one knows until it happens. All it takes is a few people willing to display some humility in front of a big crowd. Surely your organization has a few of those people, right? Again, there is little overhead here, other than finding a place to host the event.
10. Car washes
This is another idea that requires very little overhead. The members of your organization can gather at a community lot, usually available for free for charities and non-profits, and offer to wash people’s cars for a nominal fee. Members can bring their own soap, buckets, and washing materials, saving the organization money. That means almost all proceeds go directly to the organization.