Whether you’re a 501(c)(3), are part of sports team, school band, scout troop or a civic organization, fundraising is often critical to your success. However, it can be difficult to get your supporters and community excited about buying candy (that they don’t want), holiday wrapping paper (that’s expensive) and having their cars washed (yet again). So to energize your base and engage your community in a way that’s fresh, new and exciting, it might be time to try some unique fundraising ideas that can help you stand apart from the crowd. Take a look at five fun fundraising ideas for non-profits, teams, and more.
- FUNdraisers at Chuck E. Cheese’s: We are proud to support education in your community. When you host a fundraiser at Chuck E. Cheese’s, a 20% donation will be made to the school for all sales generated by your participating friends and family members, if you raise $3,000 or more. We will provide materials to promote the event, ten free play points for each child enrolled, a visit from Chuck E. at your school on the day of the event, and a free meal for all teachers in attendance.
- Friday Snack Shop: Perfect for school groups, this is a year-round fundraising idea that allows teams, groups and/or clubs the chance to earn money for the things they need. In order to start, all you need to do is work with your school to set up a time and place for your snack shop (like the last 20 minutes of each lunch period, in an area near the cafeteria or lockers). The setup could be as simple as a table or as elaborate as a converted supply closet, which would function as a pantry. Stock the table with popular, largely non-perishable treats and healthy snacks, like trail mix, pretzels, baked chips, jerky, apples, and veggie packets, etc. Price them at a profit, but keep rates low enough to encourage purchases. Rotate inventory regularly to maintain interest. Best of all, the responsibilities (and profits) from unique school fundraisers like this can easily be shared between two or more groups.
- Something-A-THON: Think dance-a-thon, bowl-a-thon, or spin-a-thon (on bikes at a local gym). Participants pay an entry fee, then seek pledges for every song they dance to (or for every hour of dancing they do), every pin they knock down (or game they bowl), or every mile they ride the spin bike. You’ll need to work with a local partner who can donate the space, as well as a DJ, emcee and/or spin instructor(s), prizes for winners, etc. Marathons like these are fun fundraising ideas for nonprofits and clubs that also tend to gain media attention, which can help you raise even more money.
- Mini-Golf Tournament: Team up with a mini-golf course to host a family-friendly tournament. Decide whether the tournament will allow individual players, or teams only, or both, then determine the rules for participation (how many players can be on a team, if scoring will follow the course’s par rules, etc.). If possible position a scorekeeper/judge at each hole to confirm results. In addition to earning money from entry fees, you may be able to sell hole sponsorships, and/or receive a portion of the proceeds of snack sales during the event. If possible, have t-shirts and/or goodie bags available to participants, as well as prizes for top finishers.
- Quaff & Create: This unique fundraising event can be for adults only, or a family-friendly affair, it all depends on the beverages supplied for the “quaff” portion of the evening. In order to make this event a success, you’ll need a large space, art supplies (pottery or canvases to paint, pastels and paper, collage materials, etc.), beverages and snacks, and an art teacher who can lead his or her audience on a personal artistic exploration. Participants can pay a fee to participate, then either receive one drink ticket, or pay cash for beverages and snacks. Depending upon what you’re able to have donated, all proceeds, or a portion of the proceeds, can go to benefit your organization – and your participants will leave with a work of art that they’ve created.
- Dine Out for Charity: Find a pizza place, a diner, or another family-friendly restaurant and ask them to host a one-time-only fundraiser. The event can take place all day or just during specific hours (preferably the lunch or dinner rush). During this time a portion of the proceeds from every item purchased will be donated to your organization. Restaurants that host unique fundraisers like this usually have programs and materials available to help you create a buzz in the community and make your event a success. Along with receiving a portion of the proceeds, talk to the restaurant manager about the possibility of your organization setting up a table at the restaurant to help educate people about what you’re raising money for.
To develop your own ideas for unique fundraisers that will engage your community, look no further than those around you. Think about how the people in your area spend their down time, how they use their city or neighborhoods, what restaurants or activities are most popular, and who you can partner with. By creating fun events and opportunities that allow people to come together, you can not only raise money for your own organization’s needs, but help build relationships and create a stronger community for everyone.
Check out Chuck E. Cheese’s for more info on planning parties or fundraising events.