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Creative Fundraising

Creative Fundraising

By Ami Sullivan

As the amount of funds available for giving decreases, and the demand for charitable giving increases, non-profit organizations have been getting more creative in their fundraising plans.  The traditional letter-writing campaigns and tax deductions will still work for your most loyal of donors – your repeat and steady donor base, but soliciting additional funds from your loyal donors and adding new donors these days takes creativity.  As non-profits begin to layout their fundraising strategies for the new year, here is a starter list of some of the more creative fundraising strategies, some new and old, that your organization may want to consider.  Most of these are aimed at truly grass roots organizations; however the ideas may be adapted for larger events and fundraising goals.  Remember to be creative and have fun with it!

Fundraising Ideas include…

  • Art Sales (locally created and donated – doesn’t have to be well-know artists, kids art works too!),
  • Beach/Lake Bar-B-Que,
  • Bike-a-thon,
  • Bike Ride (Hosted Charity Event),
  • Black-tie Bowling,
  • Book Store (Barnes and Noble/Borders) Story Time,
  • Business Partner Profit Percent Donations (Grocery Stores, Retail/Food Outlets),
  • Cartwheel-a-thon,
  • Casino Night,
  • Celebrity Softball / Basketball / Baseball/ Football/ Soccer Game,
  • Coin Donations,
  • Concession Stands (At Sporting Events, Swap Meets, Fairs, Bizarres, etc.),
  • Coupon Sales (Burger King, McDonalds, Entertainment Books, etc.),
  • Design Competition,
  • Eating Contests,
  • Fair (Host Local Fair with Game Booths, Cake Walks, etc.),
  • Gala Event with Celebrity Waiters,
  • Gala Event,
  • Golf Tournament / Celebrity Golf Tournament,
  • Home Tours,
  • Ice Cream Night (Ben & Jerry’s, Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone, Maggie Moos, etc.),
  • Ice-skating Party (Even where there isn’t a natural ice skating rink – create one!),
  • Individual Sales (Magazines, Gifts, Wrapping Paper, Cadies, etc.),
  • Jog-a-thon,
  • Miniature Golf Tournament / Celebrity Miniature Golf Tournament,
  • Olympic Event Day,
  • Pizza Parties,
  • Raffle,
  • Rock-a-thon,
  • Scavenger Hunt,
  • Silent Auction,
  • Ski-a-thon/ Snowboarding
  • Subscription Sales,
  • Swap Meet or Bizarre or Fair Donated Goods Sales,
  • Talent Show,
  • Tennis Tournament,
  • Tricycle Competition,
  • Walk-a-thon,
  • Wish Lists.

With any event, a key part will be attracting people to your event or cause; work with your local media – radio, newspapers and TV to get the word out.  Post flyers in popular coffee shops, libraries, bowling allies, etc. and announcements at group meetings.  Work with your local community to get their assistance in spreading the word, the greater the buy-in, the greater the attendance and giving.  Lastly, don’t be afraid to toot your own horn – no one else may do it for you and people need to know the great things you are doing – that’s marketing, not bragging!

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