So You Want to Raise Money for a Cause — Popular Fundraising Tips and Ideas

This is a guest post by Gabrielle Green of TipsOnHowToSaveMoney.

bake sale fundraiser
image via demosphere/Flickr

With busy schedules between work and home life, the very idea of organizing a fundraiser makes most people come down with an instant headache, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether your child’s elementary school needs a new playground or you want to support the March of Dimes, fundraising for a good cause doesn’t have to be complicated.

Below are some popular fundraising ideas and suggestions to get you started.

Popular Fundraising Ideas

  • Fundraising wristbands are by far one of the easiest and most popular fundraisers. The silicone bracelets can be customized for any charity or fundraiser by stamping them with a tagline, school motto, or company slogan. They are available in nearly any color you can imagine to match your cause, school colors, and everything in between.
  • Smoothie stands are a healthy new twist on the tried and true lemonade stand. While you can go the lemonade stand route and serve the smoothies yourself, you can also partner with a smoothie shop and arrange for a percentage of sales to be donated by hosting a Spirit Night or something similar.
  • Car washes can be fun and are fairly easy to organize. The most difficult part might be finding a high traffic location and getting permission to be there–but it’s for a good cause.
  • Advertise as you walk. This will only work in some instances, but if you are doing the Autism Awareness Walk for instance, ask a local company to sponsor you, and in return, you can put their logo or name on the t-shirt you will be wearing to the event.
  • Bake sales never get old. Everyone loves goodies! Cupcakes, brownies, cookies–all of it and more! Offer some low carb items as well so that you can expand your potential customer base who are willing to buy and eat goodies for a greater good.

Fundraising Letters

Here’s the truth: donors are commonly put off by being asked for a donation without offering anything in return. It’s the ugly truth of charity, even though it’s not always said. The Humane Society is a great example. While it may seem like much, they always send out a small token of appreciation when they ask for donations that you can keep whether you make a donation or not. I can honestly say I’ve always kept and enjoyed the cute little address stickers they send and I have made a donation more than not.

The only way to attract the attention of your potential donors is by tapping into their emotions so that you can stand out above the rest. Whether you tap into fear, love, guilt, gratitude — whatever the case may be in your particular situation, you need to grab their attention, which will in turn hopefully make them make a donation.

When approaching businesses, tax breaks are a benefit, but this will depend on the type of fundraiser. It’s worth mentioning.

Lastly, and most importantly, you need to make your objective crystal clear. What is the donation for? Why are you fundraising? The donor needs to understand how important that new playground is or that Alzheimer’s robbed you of more time with your grandfather. Pull on their heartstrings a little, but not too much. And, take that extra minute afterward to send a thank you. A personal touch goes a long way and chances are you will be fundraising again in the future, so make it a remarkable memory for them and for you.

5 thoughts on “So You Want to Raise Money for a Cause — Popular Fundraising Tips and Ideas”

  1. Great ideas. We use almost all of these with the Medical Club at my school. Another fundraiser we’ve found to be extremely successful is those candy lollipops made from the candy melts you get at the crafting store. Another tip is use holidays to your advantage. Our last candy pop fundraiser was the week of Valentine’s Day. And we sold homemade candy lollipops (roses, hearts, “love”, ect). $1 a piece and I printed out little to/from gift tags on my home printer and tied them on with a piece of ribbon. People were buying 30-40 at a clip for their children’s valentine’s exchanges at school. If you can plan a fundraiser with a holiday that people already buy things for – then chances are you’ll do very well. A lot of people commented that they thought the homemade pop was nicer and more thoughtful then just some random candy A from WalMart. Use that to your advantage – after all its more money for your cause/charity!

    Another good fundraiser we’ve had lots of success with is raffle baskets. We usually do themed baskets. Lots of times local businesses/restraunts are willing to donate gift cards or merchandise. Its good publicity for them. Themed baskets in the summer are good money makers : think “beach basket”, “car wash basket”, “picnic”, “spa”, ect ect : )

  2. This is an extremely FABULOUS post regarding fund raising! I honestly expected to click and see a few ‘tried and true’ fundraising efforts, but there are definitely some new twists to some old classics and a few unique new ones, too 🙂

    I especially like that last bit; when it comes to something you really want, you DO have to play on people’s emotions. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though!

  3. thanks for sharing and wonderful tips, I especially like that last bit; when it comes to something you really want, you DO have to play on people’s emotions

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