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13 Great Fundraising Ideas for Your Group, Club or Organization

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Cardia is a videographer from Barbados with a passion for travel, craft, writing and helping others.

Fundraising is a major part of being in a group or organization such as a sports team, a youth group or a school club. However, these ventures don’t have to be difficult and boring—with some creativity, good work ethic and eyes on the goal, fundraising activities can be fun and profitable!

Keep in mind that promotion, advertising and volunteering play an important role, so be sure to use all methods of communication available, such as social networks, phone calls, posters and of course word-of-mouth.

1. Movie Nights

Break out the popcorn! Movie nights are a great way to earn some money for your organization. First, find a venue where you can set up chairs (if it doesn’t already come with benches or seats). If your group is associated with a church or school, see if there is a large room or area that would be available for you. You might have to pay a nominal fee.

Be sure to show popular or recent movies in order to attract a large crowd. Family-friendly movies are often the best for these events. You can show the movie by setting up a large projector screen, then using a projector and laptop to play the movie.

Charge a small entrance fee, and also sell snacks such as chips, popcorn, pizza, hot dogs, and candy. Also sell drinks such as juice, water, sodas and even beer.

Create a Facebook event page, and use social media broadcasts to get the word out.

2. Car Washes

This is one of the most popular (and effective) ways to earn money as a group. Look for places where you could hold your car wash: supermarkets, malls and large stores with large car parks are best. Call and ask for permission to use their facilities for your fundraiser. Also, check for a nearby source of water, like a tap.

Once you have a date and time set, promote the car wash. To show that you all belong to one group, wear the same colour shirts, or if you have a team shirt, have everyone wear theirs. If possible, get a banner advertising the group’s name and the car wash.

Have two members work on one car at once—it would be more time-effective. For larger vehicles such as trucks or SUVs, have three to four people. This way, your group will be able to wash more cars and earn more money.

As an extra way of making money during the car wash, you can also have a bake sale, and sell cookies, slices of cake, cupcakes and other treats. Some people might not be interested in having their car washed, but would be willing to buy something from the booth or donate a few dollars to your cause.

3. Have a Stall at a Local Farmer's Market

Book a stall or tent at the local farmer's market on a weekend, and have everyone in your group donate items to sell. Handicrafts or baked goods can also be sold. Think of it as a garage sale, but on a much larger scale. Have a few members on hand to help display the items as well as to keep an eye on the money. Also, keep the money tin hidden and away from customers.

Have a few people walking around the rest of the market, asking for donations, and inviting people to the booth. Also, when potential customers visit the booth, tell them what you’re raising money for. Telling people what your cause is can result in more donations.

4. Raffles

Raffles are a surefire way to earn some cash. Offer popular items as prizes: cell phones, electronics, gift certificates, bicycles, or even vehicles! Remember, the more desirable the prize, the more tickets will be sold.

Sell raffle tickets, and collect the names, numbers and addresses of each ticket buyer. Then have a publicized raffle ticket draw!

5. 'Half the Pot' Money Raffle!

This is a twist on the popular Raffle idea, and is a very easy and effective way to quickly get cash for your cause!

The idea is pretty simple: have a large container, and tickets printed with numbers on them. Walk around at a sports event, a fair, or another fundraiser that your group is hosting (such as a barbecue or movie night), and ask for donations. Tell everyone that it’s a raffle—by putting money in and taking a ticket, they stand the chance of winning the prize, which is half the money collected in the tin! For example, if $500 was collected in the pot, $250 of it would go to the raffle winner, and the other half would go towards the group.

People are always looking for ways to get a little extra money, and would definitely be encouraged to take part in this unique kind of raffle!

Later on in the event, you can use the microphone to announce the raffle winner.

6. Bake Sales and Barbecues

Baked treats such as cupcakes, cake, donuts and cookies can really rake in the money for your group. Also, items such as chocolates, mini pizzas, mini quiches, fritters, and banana bread do well at bake sales.

Set up a table by the entrance of a supermarket, store or mall (with permission, of course); you can also host sales at the schools and churches associated with your group. Price everything so that you are guaranteed a profit. Also, if possible, have a few members walk around with boxes of goods to sell.

A twist on this fundraising event is having a barbecue. Have a grill or portable stove on-site, and sell hamburgers, hot dogs, fish, various meats, fries and salads. You can charge per plate. Also, you should have some Styrofoam containers on hand so that people can take the food with them.

7. Parties

Host a party! With good advertising, a popular venue and great music, your profit can be in the hundreds or even thousands. Start planning in advance: create a list of the most popular nightclubs, call each and ask for a price quotation. Compare prices. Sometimes it’s better to take a package from a nightclub, as they would provide drinks, bartenders, and a DJ. However, if you know a DJ that would be willing to give you a discount for their services, you can use them instead. Also, if you want to draw more people to the event, have a local celebrity as the guest of honour.

Promotion is the most important step to take if you want your party to be successful. Create a Facebook event page and have someone design a poster with all the important information on it. Share the event and party information on Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram.

If having it at a nightclub is not an option, look for a public area such as a beach or park. Ask the correct authorities for permission.

8. Sponsored Walks and Runs

Plan a route for a walk or a run. Of course, ask the correct authorities for permission to use the route, especially if it includes roads normally used by traffic. The local police would be able to block off the roads so that the participants are able to use them safely during the event. The route should end in a communal area such as a park, and participants can be given healthy snacks, and some music could be played.

You can charge each person a nominal fee for participating. Ask for donations from various companies so that you can give each participant a little ‘welcome package’— these often contain a bottle of water, a snack, a washcloth or small towel, and a drawstring bag. Companies can also donate bigger items that can be given as prizes. Also, encourage participants to wear fun clothes! Have prizes for Craziest Costumes, Creative Costumes and other categories.

9. Zumba Classes

Zumba classes are all the rage now, and they have the potential to earn some money for your organization. Rent out the local gym, or find a venue that is open, such as the local park, a public car park or a beach. Hire an aerobics or Zumba instructor to come, and once again, promote the event. Also, get a DJ or a sound system to blast music to keep the crowd pumped.

Charge a minimal entrance fee, and give every participant a complimentary bottle of water. You can have energy drinks and healthy snacks such as fruits on sale.

10. Sponsor Sheets

Sometimes good old sponsor sheets are the best way to earn money. Design and print charts on sturdy paper with amounts of money in each square. Also, have a small message at the top with the organization’s name and a description of what the money raised will be used for. Then use a rubber stamp with the school or church’s crest to stamp the sponsor sheet, therefore making it valid. Unstamped sponsor sheets are often seen as scams, so people may be hesitant to give money.

Members with sponsor sheets can ask friends, family members, neighbours, fellow churchgoers, and schoolmates for donations, and each individual ‘sponsor’ can cross off the amount they donated on the sheet. To earn even more money, members can ask people in public areas such as malls, supermarkets, recreational places and stores.

11. Ice Cream Sales

This is especially great for fundraising during the summer, especially in public areas like the beach or a park. Buy ice cream in bulk—you can serve both scoop ice cream and frozen popsicles. Some ice cream companies give special deals to groups that are trying to fundraise – they often would lend a freezer or even a small cart and would split the profits with your group. Call the companies in your area to see if something like this would be possible.

If you’re selling the ice cream that comes in tubs, be sure to have wafer cones, plastic bowls and spoons on hand. You can also earn more by charging extra for toppings such as nuts, cherries, chocolate chips and sprinkles.

12. Sell Snacks at Sport Events

Sports events and tournaments are a great place to earn extra money. Snacks sell very quickly here. Ask for permission first from the event organizers – sometimes they will even make announcements that a group is trying to raise funds, which can encourage them to support you!

Buy snacks in bulk to sell, such as potato chips, bagged pretzels, candy bars, chocolates, and packs of gum. You can even have someone walking in the stands with donations tins, asking for direct contributions to your group. If the audience members are in a good mood, this can result in more donations and cash for your cause!

You can also sell items such as whistles, scarves and pom poms in the different team colours.

13. Have a Talent Show

Talent shows are very profitable. People from the organization can participate in the show, and you can also open it to others in the community. Participants can display a variety of talents: stand-up comedy, singing, dancing, drama, poetry reading, playing an instrument... anything! Have participants invite their families and friends, and make a Facebook event page to further promote it. Charge an entrance fee, and also have refreshments on sale.

Make sure to have a venue that has a stage or raised area, and ask everyone to meet there a few hours before the show to help set up.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Cardia