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Fundraising Ideas and Tips for Charitable Contributions

Updated on December 29, 2010

Fundraising and Donating

I've always volunteered with animal shelters. All throughout middle school and high school I spent every weekend volunteering with local animal shelters. I, also, spent time with other local charities helping underprivileged children after school, landscaping for the elderly and handicapped, made dinner for the Ronald McDonald House, and spent time helping Habitat for Humanity.

I had a busy educational career, but after high school, I pretty much stopped everything and became out of touch with the community, even though I still wanted to help.

Well, this year I really started donating and helping local charities that various groups in my company collect for. We collect toys and money for Toys for Tots; money for Juvenile Diabetes and Relay for Life; non-perishable foods for the Valley Rescue Mission; and various apparel, toiletries, and foods for the House of Mercy.

I have bought many $5 tickets to wear blue jeans for various weeks; I've purchased t-shirts where proceeds go to charity; and I've donated toys, canned goods, socks, soaps, shampoos, and towels. I do it to help people, not for any recognition because I know many people and coworkers donate more than I can and do.

Preparing for a Fundraiser

If you're looking for ideas and tips for setting up your own fundraiser activity, there are tons that you can do. Personally, this is my next adventure, as donating just isn't as fulfilling as it is to get others to donate and participate. If everyone at my job donated only $5, we could easily have over $1,000 worth of donations for diabetes research, toys for children, or food for the homeless.

When deciding upon a fundraiser, consider the following tips and ideas, and if you have something you'd like to contribute, please do so in the Comments box below.

Write out Everything

  • Start planning at least one month in advance.
  • Know how much your events and activities will cost, so that you can plan.
  • Set goals.
  • Create a beginning and end date.

Sources of Contributions

  • Donations
  • Product fundraisers (selling products, bake sales, raffles, auctions, etc.)
  • Even fundraisers

Publicize Your Fundraiser and Campaign

  • Try to use local media for events to advertise via the local news or a local paper.
  • Encourage friends, family, and coworkers to help spread the word at their churches, schools, business, and other activities.
  • Set up fliers and post them at churches, neighborhood telephone poles, stores bulletin boards, etc.

Events and Activities

  • Yard sales
  • Car wash
  • Bake sale
  • A-thons (walk, bicycle, etc.)
  • Silent auction
  • Handyman job bank (for a small donation, offer your services for landscaping, housecleaning, dog walking, etc.)
  • Tournaments

Try to get a local business to agree to matching a certain percent of the donations, which will give many people an incentive to donate, since their $5 may actually offer the charity $10.

Selling Products

  • Use companies like to sell products. In order to not have to spend any money, get the individual orders and payment before making the order.
  • Sell candy
  • Sell tickets for a raffle
  • Sell food or meals to businesses ($5.00 box lunches)

Other Fundraising Ideas

Where I work, we do plenty of fundraisers for various charities to include Valley Rescue Mission, JDRF, Toys for Tots, House of Mercy, and Relay for Life. I have seen fundraisers go and come, and I've seen some that do really well.

Currently, the more popular fundraisers include raffling gift baskets and embarrassing employees.

  • Gifts baskets are created by employees for various holidays. The tickets are then sold for $1 for 1 ticket or $5 for 6 tickets. The basket is displayed and an email is sent to employees, as notification. There is a good month from the start to finish of each basket. At the end, the Human Resources manager draws a name, and the winner gets to take home the basket. Baskets may include anything from food and candy, cups, decorations, books, CDs and anything else that the donator wants to include in the basket.
  • Embarrassing employees pretty much involves one employee at a time. There's really no embarrassment, except the employee must where a new jersey and hat of a team that may not be their favorite. Basically, votes are sold for $1 each, and for each vote, the person donating gets to choose a football team (of the selected options). At the end of the fundraiser, which generally lasts about 2-4 weeks, the votes are tallied and the chosen employee must wear the jersey and hat of the winning team for the entire day. Usually, the apparel is donated, so no money actually comes from the charity's donations.

Another fundraiser that I've tried to get one charity or another to use, also revolves around football. Basically, the top football teams (in this case college football) are chosen. Each team gets a 5 gallon jug decorated for the team. The jugs are placed in a central location and money is dropped into them. Sounds simple, right? Well, only coins can be donated. The goal is to put your pennies in your favorite team and your silver change (nickels, dimes, and quarters) in to the opposing teams. The silver change amounts to negative points and the pennies are positive points. Basically, 15 pennies, a quarter, and a nickel equals negative 15 points. I've seen this done in work-settings, and I've seen it become quite competitive. Not only does the charity benefit, but you get to clean out your extra change and pennies.


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    • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

      Jyoti Kothari 

      4 years ago from Jaipur

      Hi Whitney,

      I raise funds for several charitable activities but never tried these tips. These are new to me. Perhaps mentality of Indians are different than that of the US. Normally, I approach big ones who contribute big shares of total project cost.

      I would love to try some of the tips nest time I go for fund raising. Thanks, Rated up and interesting.

    • PSG profile image


      8 years ago from San Gerardo, Costa Rica

      I anm involved with a NGO in Costa Rica.This article is very useful to me, thanks!!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Good collection of fundraising ideas and suggestions.

      Thank you.

    • cwarden profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      These are really some very useful tips. Thanks for putting these ideas together, I am helping a friend with her fundraiser. Great hub!

    • sherrylou57 profile image


      8 years ago from Riverside

      Thank you for sharing this hub. Happy New Year!


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