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Fundraising Basics : Fundraising Tips Last Updated: Apr 12, 2009 - 12:22:55 AM

17 Unique Fundraising Ideas
By Cynthia Kirkeby
Apr 6, 2009 - 11:55:03 PM

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A good fundraising plan for the year will contain a mix of ideas.  By using an unexpected or creative fundraising technique during the year, you will keep your donors from being bored, and subsequently raise more money for your school or organization.

  1. Envelope Fundraiser.   This can be very effective at the first PTA meeting of the year.  We handed out envelopes at the meeting to all of the parents, and ended up raising enough for a new broadcasting system!  By printing on the envelopes a couple of projects we were trying to raise money for, and giving the parents the ability to earmark where the funds were going, the parents felt more empowered and were more likely to donate.
  2. Set Up A Challenge Campaign.   NPR  radio makes wonderful use of this each year.  One person challenges others to match their donation within a certain timeframe, usually with a bonus if a certain number of donations are made.
  3. Run a phone-a-thon.  This is a helpful way to raise money from Alumni.
  4. fundraising1.jpg
    Pledge Drive.
      Have the person or organization pledge a certain amount per month.
  5. Seminar Series.  Enlist a group of individuals to each teach one of a series of seminars on a topic of interest.  (Example:scrapbooking techniques)  Charge a fee for the seminar and donate the fee to the organizatiion.
  6. Mega-Garage Sale.  Arrange for a group of families to hold a multifamily garage sale.  Or have people from your organization donate items for an organization garage sale held in the parking lot of your school or organization.
  7. Throw an International Dinner.  This is often a great fundraiser in conjunction with kids that are studying foreign countries.  Each student's family makes a dish from a country of their choosing. Then you invite the  community to attend the tasting dinner, and charge a fee for their entrance.
  8. Set up a Progressive Dinner.   Couples pay a fee to participate.   Each couple or group puts on one course of a dinner at their home, and the other couples go from one home to the next to attend the meal. Set a fixed menu for all participants with four to five courses, and provide the recipes for the event.  This works best  when you can group people in fairly close geographic proximity.
  9. Throw a Monte Carlo Night.  Everyone gets to dress up and play fake gambling games.  All proceeds go to the organization or school.
  10. Arrange A Loose Change Challenge.  Have kids from your organization make some cute decorated change cans or jars. Then have  parents or businesses collect all of their change for one month.  At the end of the month, collect the jars.
  11. Hold a Bake Sale or Book Sale.  These can be creatively augmented. (Keep and eye open for additional ideas for these events.)
  12. Set up a special sportswear store for your organization.  Schools can set up teamwear designs, art class designs, creative writing designs, etc.  in their stores.  
  13. Raffle off Something Cool.   Ideas:  Arrange for a local car dealer to participate by raffling off a car, or have someone donate their timeshare, or ask a local catering company to donate a gourmet dinner for the raffle, or perhaps a local theater could donate 2 movies tickets per month to a lucky couple.
  14. Arrange for a Home Tour.  You can set up a tour of historic homes, or of decorator homes.  Variation: Choose a large home that is up for sale,  have designers in the area each decorate a different part of the home. 
  15. Arrange for a Horseback Tour of the Area.  Learn about the history of your area by horseback.
  16. Collect Cans and Plastic Bottles for the Recycling fee.  You might surprised by how much you can make doing this.
  17. Hold a Live Auction with a Silent Auction  Ask membership to donate items for an annual auction.  Place the larger items like vacations, large artwork, and special events like catered events, on the live auction, and place smaller items on a silent auction.  Ask local businesses and national chains if they will donate an item or a gift certificate for services.  Many restaurants and hotels have a special department for handling these types of requests.

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