Putting the “Fun” in Fundraising

Carnival FundraiserAdmit it, fundraising is not an activity that is looked upon with great zeal. It can be hard, time consuming and, most importantly, not fun. But with the right activity, mindset and some light preparation you can easily put the “fun” in fundraising.

Get the Party Started
Everyone is pinching pennies, but most people will loosen their grip on their money when it comes to food. Even basic groceries are getting more costly every day, so think about providing a fun food-based event at a good value to really draws in the crowds. You could try a pancake breakfast, spaghetti dinner or bake sale, but why not think a tad more outside of the box and throw in a dash of competitive spirit? Spice things up with a breakfast bakeoff, BBQ contest, chili cook-off or even a good old fashioned eating contest. For a real dough raiser, get a local celebrity (radio DJs or television news anchors work well) to volunteer their time for your event and your exposure is sure to grow exponentially.

Now that you have a large number of people milling about, you don’t want them to get bored. Keep their attention with tables of products to be raffled off or use the more expensive items for a silent auction. Find local stores to donate products or services to your cause, so while your guests get the great items and you get the income, those stores will get free advertising at your event. Just remember to let the stores know how many people you think might show up at your event if they need a little more incentive to donate. If you’re looking for more unconventional items try auctioning off a date with an eligible bachelor or bachelorette or maid service for a month. For some serious movin’ and shakin’, visit with the city to discover if there are any buildings up for demolition and then raffle or auction off the chance to press the button!

While a silent auction just needs slips of paper or a notepad for people to write their bids on, using raffle tickets can actually help boost your attendance. To encourage people to stick around, put the raffle and silent auction near the end of your event. Keep in mind the winners of the silent auction do not need to be present as long as you have their contact information next to their bid, but the raffle winners should be present to claim their prizes since they will be the ones holding the tickets.

Brackets Aren’t Just Punctuation
Tournaments of any sort are a surefire way to raise money, and while they might take a little more time to set up, the payoff will certainly be worth it. Poker, miniature golf, pool, horseshoes, ping-pong or even ski-ball can become a heated tourney. Always keep in mind the length of the game should dictate how much you should charge for entry. A ping-pong or ski-ball tournament might have a lower entry fee than say a 3-inning baseball tournament. If you’re not looking for monetary donations for your organization, a door-to-door scavenger hunt is a great way to find goods. Compile a list of items you’re looking for, such as canned goods or clothes, then break off into teams and start knocking on doors. Make sure you have a desirable prize to increase your members’ motivation!

Time Is On Your Side
While knocking on doors you may find that people feel they might not have time to deal with you because they’re in the middle of chores around the house. Fortunately, that’s great for fundraising! There are a lot of chores out there people don’t get done and they will pay good money to have it done for them. Depending on the season, yard work, snow removal or car washes are always great fundraisers. During the holidays, ask a local store if you can provide gift-wrapping services or, if you have access to a scanner, scan photos to CDs or DVDs to preserve people’s cherished memories. Providing a service doesn’t have to be for humans though. Don’t neglect our four-legged friends! Dog walks, dog sitting, dog baths and trips to the dog park are all great services to consider when fundraising.

Finally, if you don’t feel you’ll be able to pull off any of the aforementioned events, you can still earn a great deal with product sales. Go online to find a plethora of items your organization can sell including personalized pencils, coupon books, candy, coffee, magazines, pizza, popcorn, candles…the list is endless. If you wanted to sell a more personalized product, try gathering favorite recipes from members of your organization or the community and create a community cookbook! People will love seeing their favorite family recipe published and shared with, hopefully, hundreds of new people.

Luau FundraiserFinal Thoughts
Remember, fundraising is only as difficult as you make it. If it’s a great activity people are pumped about like a movie marathon, then your crew will be jazzed to make it a memorable night and the fundraising will take care of itself. Never forget to market your event! Use whatever means you want to get the word out whether it be word of mouth, church bulletins, low-cost flyers or free online community calendars. Just don’t spend too much or the cost of your advertising might eat the profits. Take your time with the preparations and remember — you can’t have fundraising without FUN!