Fundraising Ideas

Our last post highlighted how to put the “fun” in fundraising. If you’re in the midst of planning for summer camps and retreats, you’ve probably already run into deposit deadlines and planned for budgeting needs. For those looking for ways to supplement the money needed to carry out your event (either by helping attendees pay discounted fees or helping offset your own costs), here are a few fundraising ideas you can implement.

I reached out to friends across the world for fundraising ideas that are working for their ministries, schools, nonprofits, and other organizations. Here are some of their proven and successful ideas:

  • Our church does a Food Auction each year. People make dishes that are ready to be warmed/cooked. Our pastor serves as the auctioneer. – Kira, Maine
  • We sell t-shirts to help offset costs. Who doesn’t love a new tee?! – Tobey, Wales
  • We have several local restaurants that will work with us to do plate sales. We sell tickets to church members and members of the community. The restaurant makes the food, and we help package it in to-go plates. Ticket-holders pull up to the curb, drive-thru-style, present their tickets, and we give them their plates. This is by far our most lucrative fundraiser! – Amber, Texas
  • This spring our youth and children are doing a dinner theater where we charge for tickets. – Kara, Arkansas
  • ‪We do a sweetheart banquet in February. We don’t sell tickets. It’s donation only. – Ashley, Tennessee
  • ‪I have worked with local restaurants to make coupon books where each location can determine their coupons (free drink with entrée, half priced appetizer with entrée, etc.). The only cost to do this is the cost to print, and you can sell the books at whatever price you choose. The better the coupons, the more you can charge. – Bo, Tennessee
  • We make the most money for our local band selling coupon books. An annual 5k is also a great way to make money, especially if you can get prizes donated. – Shelly, North Carolina
  • We work with local restaurants that donate a portion of their proceeds one night to our organization. – Sandy, Illinois
  • Our organization sells wreaths at Christmas. We also host a fundraising dinner and a clay shoot. – Amy, North Carolina

‪These are just a few ideas from people who have walked in your shoes. Feel free to take these ideas and make them your own. See how your organization can come together to raise money in new and innovative ways!


Simple Fundraising Success: Give Them Something they Need

Every year the youth in my local church raise money for a service trip. Over the past 50 years the leadership has determined, through trial-and-error what events and services raise the most money. I thought I’d share their findings with you, and include a principle that you could employ for some simple fundraising success.

Here’s the principle: make it easy, and give them something they need.

What are the two most popular and successful youth service fundraisers at my church? The after church potato and soup lunch and the group housework service. Here’s a quick description of each.

Potato and Soup Lunch: Once or twice a year the youth schedule an after church luncheon. They hire a caterer at a discounted price, advertise for at least four weeks and set up tables with table cloths and candles. Then, at 12:30 on the date advertised  the fellowship hall is opened up and guests make their way through a potato, soup and salad bar. The food is hot, and delicious. Guests can choose their own potato and salad toppings. Someone is playing piano and guitar music softly in the background, and  diners enjoy chatting with their immediate, and church family. A basket at the front holds donations. A small note next to it supplies guests with a base cost per person, so that guests understand what the meal cost the youth and that money given over that amount will help fund the service trip.  These luncheons are always very well attended. The convenience of participating cannot be understated in this case. People are already hungry, a delicious meal is ready on-site, and four hundred people stop in ready to eat and donate.

Group Housework Service: The second successful fundraiser involves a team of anywhere from two to thirty youth working together. In the fall and in the spring, times when people are looking outside at their yards and thinking “I really need to get out and rake (spread mulch, weed, mow) but when am I going to find the time?” the youth group advertises willing workers and a coordinator’s cell phone number and email address. Church members contact the coordinator with a weekend date that works for their schedule, a description of the project, and a ballpark number of workers needed. The youth and a supervisor show up on the agreed upon date, do the job, and then accept a donation for their work that will be divided by the number of people in the group. This fundraiser also has the convenience factor, allowing people to choose the time, date and project type.

If you are helping brainstorm for a fundraising event, think about what people will be doing around the scheduled date. Buying Christmas gifts? Getting ready for back to school? Spring cleaning? Putting on snow chains? Consider tapping in to these tasks, and you might find a unique and lucrative fundraising idea. What do people need and how can you provide it to them in a convenient way?