10 Cool and FREE Fundraisers
Although many non-profit organizations need to raise money, not all have the initial funds necessary to embark on an expensive fundraising campaign. Luckily, there are a number of FREE fundraisers available to help these groups raise the money they need. The ideas below require no money upfront and many of them are earth-friendly too. The best of both worlds.
1. The color of money
Millions of empty inkjet and laser printer cartridges are sent to landfills every day, where they'll sit for hundreds - perhaps thousands - of years.
Therein lies an opportunity.
Instead of polluting the earth even more, why not be a good little Earthling and collect these used printer cartridges so they don't end up in the trash?
Funding Factory will pay you for them and will even give you free boxes to collect them in. Plus, you can ship the boxes back for free too. All the tools you need for participating in the program are provided free of charge.
With increasing environmental awareness, there's no better fundraiser than this free one. Teach kids (and adults) about ecology, help the planet and earn money at the same time. What could be better than that?
2. Can you hear me now?
Did you realize that millions of cell phones become obsolete every day and many suffer the same fate as the used printer cartridges mentioned above? Fortunately, cell phones are recyclable too.
A lot of people will either store their old phones in a drawer or closet for years on end because they don't know what to do with them, or they'll simply dump them in the trash.
Don't do it!
This is bad for our environment because - among other things - cell phones contain toxic materials that could potentially find their way into our groundwater, rivers and streams. That's bad for the earth, bad for the animals, and bad for us.
Funding Factory to the rescue again. They'll pay you for the used phones and pay for shipping both ways.
3. Green junk mail
Here's another green way to raise greenbacks. Green Dimes saves trees by helping people stop their junk mail.
If your school or other non-profit organization is having a silent auction/fundraiser, you can sell merchandise from Green Dimes and they will share 15% of the revenue with your group. There's no cost to participate.
But that's not all.
The beauty in this program (aside from the raising money part) is that if you sign up for the free Green Dimes service to stop your junk mail, they'll send you a dollar for your trouble.
Get paid to stop your junk mail. How cool is that?
Plus, you'll save trees and help the environment when your junk mail stops.
If you choose to forego the dollar, they'll plant a tree on your behalf. Or if you want to be really green (and who doesn't?), pay $20 and they'll plant 20 trees on your behalf and give you more rigorous junk mail control.
According to their website, in just over a year, Green Dimes has stopped 3 million pounds of junk mail and saved/planted 1,000,000 trees.
4. Out with the old, in with the new
Remember when magazines were sold door-to-door by kids raising money for their schools? That's so 20th century. These days, the cool people do it all online.
Companies such as Efundraising take all the drudgery away by providing non-profit groups with free, ready-made, customizable websites, which also function as online ordering forms.
From there, you simply add the names and addresses of all your friends and relatives and all of your supporters friends and relatives, etc., etc., click a button and each will receive a customized email from you extolling the many virtues of your cause.
Of course, it's not just for schools since any group needing to raise money can sign up for free. And many do.
Apparently, most households in the US and Canada subscribe to at least a magazine or two, so families can renew existing subscriptions or sign up for new ones. Some people even buy magazine subscriptions as gifts for those who are hard to find gifts for.
5. Expose yourself to the world
Highlight your cause and raise funds the simple way. Join GoFundMe free of charge and merely complete a questionnaire using your details to generate your own special web page. Just type in the amount you want to raise, add a nice photo and a compelling summary. Folks worldwide will then be able to give money to your cause. There's nothing to sell since it's all donations. And people do get a lot of donations.
GoFundMe helps you raise funds for just about any idea, endeavor or worthwhile cause you desire. Donations are managed safely via Paypal.
So now you're asking, why would you need another free web page?
Because you want exposure. The more people see your idea or worthy cause, the more cash you'll raise, it's that easy. Besides, what do you have to lose if it's free?
This idea works well with large non profit organizations, like say, breast cancer research or muscular dystrophy, or small groups like your school band. And it even works for personal fundraisers, like for those people who need money for their individual ventures or life events.
Look it over to see the spectacular results others have had then add yours.
6. Promises, promises
Upromise is a free service that is designed to raise money specifically for a college education – yours, your kid's, your neighbor's kid, your grandchild, or whomever you want. It rewards members with college savings just for doing what they normally do: shop, eat out, fill the gas tank, take trips, buy groceries, etc. A portion of everything you buy goes into a college savings plan.
So, if you need some help paying for your kid's college, sign up everyone you know and have them buy stuff the same way. It's a painless way to get others to pay for your higher education expenses. It's not just for future expenses though. You can even use it to pay down student loans.
7. Like the Lottery, in reverse
Do you like playing Lottery tickets? Lots of people do, which is why scratchcards are so trendy and profitable for non-profit organizations. Schools, churches, sports teams, and many other groups use them to raise lots of money.
Scratchcards are like big lottery tickets. Each card has a bunch of covered dots, which are scratched off by willing participants to reveal dollar amounts. Except, in this case, rather than revealing an amount your supporters WIN, they scratch off dots to reveal the amount they DONATE.
Despite this oddity, most people are willing to play because of the small amounts involved and because they know their donations will help a worthy cause.
Donation amounts range from ZERO – meaning they don't pay anything – to $2.50, which they agree in advance to pay if the dot they scratch off reveals that amount.
Even cooler is that many people will donate money even if they scratch off a dot with a zero behind it. Plus, anyone who plays gets a sheet of discount coupons to local restaurants and other businesses.
Everyone wins! Wouldn't it be cool if Lottery tickets worked that way?
Scratchcards for fundraisers can be ordered with no money required upfront (read: free). You only pay after the dots are all scratched and you've collected all your money.
8. To infinity and beyond...
Seems like every elementary school does one of these at some time. They're not new or trendy, but, they are easy and profitable. And tasty. What are they?
Yeah, not every idea on this list is new and exciting, but get this: since all the goodies are donated, your return on investment is nearly infinite.
The only thing you need is lots of volunteers who know how to bake (and who are willing to buy the ingredients) and a few covered tables to showcase the wonderful food.
Of course, a highly trafficked area that is protected from the elements, like a school hallway for example, would be a good place to host your bake sale.
Bake sales are not just for schools though. Any group of any size can have a bake sale and raise lots of dough.
9. Speaking of dough...
This isn't normally considered a free fundraiser because you do have to pay for the product, but what if – like scratchcards – you don't have to pay for it upfront? Then it's free, isn't it?
Fasttrack Fundraising is the place to go. The cool part is, there's lots of profit to be made with a cookie dough fundraiser. Not only because profit margins are high, but also because of the massive popularity of cookie dough as a fundraising tool.
It may not be as brain-dead simple as some of the other fundraisers listed here, mainly because of having to coordinate delivery of the tubs of dough, but a little extra work goes a long way. Plus, popularity = profits.
Cookie dough's popularity stems from its usefulness and convenience. First, few people don't like cookies, so whenever there's a special occasion or just a hankerin' for some sweet treats, cookies fill the bill.
Secondly, since the cookies are already made and on hand, it's convenient to just pop them in the oven as needed instead of having to make a special batch from scratch.
Cookie dough offerings have evolved recently to accommodate the “must have it now” crowd, with pre-portioned dough, and also the health conscious among us, with whole-grain cookies.
10. The hunt is on
As long as you're out collecting empty ink cartridges and old cell phones, why not collect other valuables at the same time?
You can raise money with several different junked items. For example, some states in the US still require deposits on bottles and will pay you a nickel or more for each one you turn in.
How about aluminum cans or copper stuff, such as old pans, pipes, wire, etc. Both metals have shot up in value in recent years - especially copper.
And then there's the lowly penny.
A penny fundraiser is a great - albeit slow - way to raise money. Pennies have so little value by themselves these days - aside from the copper content, which makes them more valuable than their face value - that people are usually happy to donate them, if for no other reason than to get rid of them. Pesky little coins.
And it's a perfect fundraiser to involve the kids in since they love the challenge of collecting as many pennies as they can from everyone they meet.
Add a large clear container to deposit the coins in so everyone can watch it fill up, and a contest to reward the best collectors and earnings will go through the roof.