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Great Fundraising Ideas

Updated on October 24, 2010

Original Fundraising Ideas for your Favorite Cause

It seems that everywhere you turn, someone is raising money for a cause, whether that cause be for a charity such as The Heart and Stroke Foundation, or for your son or daughters grad trip. Fundraising for something you really believe in can be very exciting as well as rewarding. Many non-profit organizations would go under if it were not for the devoted volunteers who donate their time going door to door asking for donations or organizing an event in a large reception hall. Sometimes asking outright for monetary donations makes certain people uncomfortable, however there are many other original fundraising ideas which will help you accomplish your goal.

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Fun ways to raise cash

I call it "FUNraising!

I have been involved in different types of fundraising events for quite some time. Last year, one of my co-workers and I got together and decided that our department needed a social committee that would organize fun activities. We did realize very quickly that if we were to host any type of event it would require a lot of money. The ideas we eventually came up with apply whether you are raising money for your dog's surgery to helping the homeless. Here are some recommended ways to raise capital and have some fun along the way!

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Hold an Office Bake Sale

What better way to fundraise than with food?

Holding an office bake sale is a great way to raise funds. The advantage here is that everyone loves to eat home cooked food and it brings everyone together. Not only that, people appreciate the fact that they can take a break from making their lunch. The last bake sale that we held raised over $1000 in just a few hours. At the same time, if you work with talented craftspeople or entrpreneurs, this is a good time to invite them to promote their product or service and at the same time, they would be more than happy to donate a portion of their sales back to the charity.

Because a bake sale may require a few hands to execute, why not ask retirees to get involved? It is easier to ask them to help out because they have a lot more free time on their hands than someone who works full time. We have a list of pioneers that we call every time there is an event and they are more than delighted to help out!

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Create a Cookbook from the Office Bake Sale Recipes

A very popular option for a large group and an original fundraising idea

Have you ever thought of creating your own cookbook? Ask everyone who brought their specialty to the bake sale to also submit the written recipe. Once you have accumulated at least 100-150 recipes find a company that can type, edit, bind and publish your cookbook such as the Rasmussen Company in Manitoba, Canada. There are even extra pages included in the book where you can sell advertising space and make even more money. It is a win-win situation since everyone who has contributed to the cookbook will want their own copy.

Then, everytime you have a fundraiser you can sell the cookbook. Or, another interesting option: if you have the time and manpower, go to lulu.com and publish the cookbook yourself.

Why not learn about fundraising through one of these references? - These books offer a wealth of information about how to fundraise

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Become your own magazine publisher!

You can start by a one page newsletter and work from there

Print a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly newsletter about a topic in which you are knowledgeable. For example, if you work in the travel industry, seek other like-minded colleagues to collaborate on this one by having them submit small written articles related to their areas of expertise. You can also do a feature of the month about someone or a group of people who are doing remarkable things. If this newsletter has potential for wide distribution, reserve some space for advertising other industry-related businesses such as for travel agents or tour operators. The advertising proceeds can be then donated to the charity of your choice.

In addition to the printed format, converting this offline newsletter into an online website or blog would be another way to reach your target market. Putting Google ads as well as links to other sites related to your topic can actually bring in some money.

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Hold a "Sell Your Gold Jewelry" Event

"Go for the Gold" jewelry!

This is something fairly new and is becoming all the rage. Since the price of gold has gone way up there are companies that will buy your unwanted gold. Why not cash in on the idea? Here is what our office social commitee has planned. We work with hundreds of employees so we've invited them to exchange their gold jewelry for cash! The company that purchases the jewelry will pay out a commission to the host (in this case, our social committee).

Our social committee hosted a sell your gold event just recently and we earned several hundred dollars in commission from the sale of gold that the employees brought in. If you work in a place that has many employees, you can host a party a couple of times a year and it can be very lucrative!

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Free advertising for your fundraising events

Websites, such as facebook, twitter or craigslist are just a few

To keep everyone to date on what your committee is doing, why not create a facebook group? Ask as many co-workers to sign up and participate by giving ideas on how the group can raise money. You can also write about what you are doing on your blog and have others do the same. Since you are doing so much good, write your own press release and maybe, just maybe someone in the media might pick it up!

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Hold a Holiday Craft Fair

A craft fair held a month before Christmas can rake in the dough!

If you work in a company of several hundred employees you should be able to find between 20-30 bakers and crafters. If space permits, host the craft show in your lunch room or another large enough venue. I work in an airport and last year we received permission from the airport authority to hold a fundraising craft bazar in one of the waiting areas. It was open to all airport employees and everyone contributed by donating non-perishable items that we brought to one of the local food banks. More info about running a craft fair can be found on my Holiday Craft Fair page

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Hold a car wash

Ask your teenagers to help out with this one!

Car Wash Fundraisers are always a lot of fun. Not only are you helping a non- profit, you get to enjoy it by being outside on a bright and (hopefully) sunny day, with music and a lot of laughter!

Great Ideas for fundraising items! - Wish Pearl Pendants make the perfect fundraising items

Not only is wish pearl jewelry original, it is affordable and can be resold at a tidy profit! If you are organizing a fundraiser, these items can be purchased at wholesale prices!

Like what you are reading?

Everyone is an expert about something. Why not share it with the friendliest community on the internet?

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Have a Silent Auction

This is another popular idea. Ask local companies, even contacts through fellow employees to donate items that can be used for a silent auction. You would be amazed at the amount of money that can be raised this way. Sometimes these businesses will jump at the chance to participate for the extra publicity it would bring them.

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Hold Raffles to help raise funds

People love to win prizes!

This is a popular fundraising method. Have someone in your group sell raffle tickets and hold the draw at the end of each month/quarter. Half of the pot can go to the event with the other going to the lucky winner! This method works well when the prize is cash, however you can also raffle off prizes as well. At our office Christmas party last year, a few lucky people took home gifts such as a digital camera, DVD player and TV. We purchased them with the extra money we had raised throughout the year.

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Have a Book Sale

People still enjoy using those portable hard copy books!

Remember the days prior to the handheld devices when we turned to paperbacks for entertainment? Books are still popular. Have your friends/co-workers bring in unwanted used books and sell them! Then keep all the profit for your charity.

If you have ever been involved with a fundraiser, how do you do it? Share the experience below

Have you ever organized a fundraiser? - What was the cause?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I use GiveForward.com for personal fundraisers, I know you can use them for non-profits too (our family has just really hit some health-related down times). Our current fundraiser I simply cannot get off the ground! But our last one was pretty successful......

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 5 years ago from Texas

      Some very good ideas. Thanks for the information. I have never heard of the gold fund raiser before, except for my own. It is a good time to get rid of broken pieces laying around in the bottom of the drawer,

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 6 years ago from Virginia

      Two times a year I head up the church yard sale for the building fund. You have given me additional fundraising fodder there Maple "S". Great lens, keep em coming when you're not traveling across the globe!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I'm out and about for the Angels April Fools' Day Quest

      ~ Squidoo Angel Blessings ~

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I've helped the Friends of the Library organize a number of fundraisers. For them, the booksales were always big money raisers and they would hold a huge one every year with small ones at intervals. Of course a library receives book donations quite often to build up the supply for these sales.

    • maplesyrup59 profile image
      Author

      maplesyrup59 6 years ago

      @Paramitch: Yes I have heard of those scammers on TV and I agree with. Those are not the ones who should be invited to buy the gold. We invited a reputable jeweler from our area and compared beforehand with other jewelers the price that they were buying at. The conclusion: all jewelers were paying the same rate and those who sold their gold were very happy with the outcome.

    • profile image

      Paramitch 6 years ago

      I have to loudly disagree with the endorsement of "sell your gold" parties, which I think is really irresponsible. Those companies have pretty much all been outed as scammers who victimize and mislead consumers, and those 'sales' of gold equal far less than if consumers simply sold the gold themselves, without middlemen.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great fundraising ideas ~ I've been involved in organizing a few of these. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

      It is my job to find fundraising ideas for our local theatre group. You have some good ideas here. So far raffles have done the best for us.

    • MisterJeremy profile image

      Jeremy 6 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      We get good results from fundraisers like car washes and bake sales when we set a minimum price but encourage people to give more. KIds at our church were raising money to go to camp and one cookie went for $100.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 6 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Very good suggestions. Never had heard of the gold-selling as fundraising idea, actually. For my own fundraiser, I used Kickstarter.com. I have a lens that I set up to promote the Kickstarter fundraiser, and I'll lensroll this to it to give people other ideas.