From humanitarian organizations to scholastic athletic clubs, animal shelters, and non-profits, fundraisers are part of the landscape, according to Basil Ghali. No longer able to count on high-dollar financial contributions from corporations and governments, organizations must embark on fundraising initiatives to help cover expenses. Shrinking budgets and a fluctuating economy also contribute to the downturn in charitable contributions, making fundraising campaigns all but a necessity. Asking for charitable gifts is always a challenge, however, and many organizations have difficulties in coming up with fundraising campaigns that make an impact. In this guide, we’ll present five great ideas for your next fundraiser, helping you to make your event the very best it can be.
Idea #1: Crowdfunding
Fundraising campaigns were revolutionized by the advent of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, GlobalGiving, DonorsChoose, and Spacehive. These online platforms allow organizations to reach broad audiences, bringing in smaller donations from many individuals. Crowdfunding works for fundraising; it is estimated that in 2015 alone, crowdfunding platforms helped raise over $34 billion in funding for a wide variety of projects and services.
The key to leveraging the power of crowdfunding is to clearly state your organization’s mission and goals. By doing so, you can convey the importance of receiving funding to help support your programs and organization, encouraging others to lend their own financial support to your cause. Online donation tools on crowdfunding platforms make it easier than ever before to contribute to civic organizations and school programs.
Idea #2: Hosting a Community 5K
Charitable and school organizations across the country use community events to bring in much-needed funds. One of the most popular events is that of the 5K race, an event that almost everyone can accomplish. 5K races can be found in communities throughout the country, and are a fun and enjoyable way to help support your organization. By collecting registration fees, organizations can bring in a surprising number of contributions in a short period of time. To further generate funds, it can be a good idea to reach out to local businesses; featuring contributors’ names on t-shirts, cups, and swag bags can be used in exchange for monetary contributions.
Idea #3: Silent Auction
Formerly reserved for the largest charities and non-profit organizations, silent auctions have now become popular with smaller groups, including animal rescue shelters and school sports organizations. Hosting a silent auction is made possible with the help of local businesses that contribute products or services to be auctioned off. Auction items often include:
- Movie and concert tickets
- Artworks by local artists
- Gift baskets
- Restaurant vouchers
- Gift certificates
To make silent auctions even easier, there are numerous online bidding platforms, including those optimized for mobile phones, available for use. These platforms allow participants to bid on items from the comfort of their own homes.
Idea #4: The Car Smash Fundraiser
What could be more thrilling than swinging a sledgehammer to raise funds? This unique fundraising idea has taken the world by storm – hundreds of organizations have utilized this method to bring in contributions. For a few dollars in donations, participants get a chance to smash windows, put dents in the bodywork, and have a great time. Donations can be per-swing or pay-per-minute.
Local junkyards and mechanics can help you find a vehicle to smash, then prepare it by removing any dangerous liquids like gasoline before the event. Be sure to have safety goggles on hand for participants. For little or no capital outlay, your organization can bring in hundreds or even thousands of dollars with each car that gets smashed!
Idea #5: Used Book Sales
Often used by community libraries to generate funds for youth outreach and seniors programs, used book sales are a great idea for your organization’s next fundraiser. Ask for book donations from community members; many schools, libraries, and individuals will have gently-used books that can be provided for the fundraising event. Local businesses can also place used-book donation boxes out for customers. The more books you have available for your event, the better.
The key to a successful used book sale is advertising. Let area schools and organizations know about your upcoming sale, then use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to help get the word out. Selling used books for a dollar each can bring in a tremendous number of donations for your organization.
This article was brought to you by Basil Ghali, a fundraising enthusiast from Atlanta, Georgia.