Giving back to charity can definitely be more fun than simply writing a check. For those of us who love to take on fun projects, here are some unique ways to incorporate the people you love into fundraising for the charities you love. I’ve also included some logistical tips for keeping it organized and ensuring the best turnout.
Bowl Me Over: This is one of my favorite fundraising ideas because a) it brings out the friendly, competitive nature in people b) you won’t need to worry about the weather so you can plan it out far in advance and c) bowling is something that is fun for adults and kids (no skill required). Call ahead to your local bowling alley, explain that you are raising funds for charity, negotiate a discounted rate for your entire party, and reserve enough lanes for your guests on a specific date. Have people form teams ahead of time and encourage them to team fundraise for the chosen charity. At the end of the day, award the highest scoring individual, the highest scoring team, and the highest fundraising team with donated gift cards from neighborhood businesses.
Pro Tip: Be sure to include food and drinks for your party into your negotiated price. People are always more likely to attend events when you feed them!
Hey, Bartender!: As if we all need another reason to throw back a cold one! This idea will most definitely get your friends on board to give back. Many times, bars will accommodate those who can promise to deliver a certain number of guests on a given night. Inquire about guest bartending and the opportunity to tend bar to earn tips that can be donated to your charity of choice. Alert your friends to the night you’ll be bartending and that your tips will be given to charity. Sometimes, the bar will even agree to donate a percentage of the sales while you’re “on shift” to the charity.
Pro Tip: Let your charity of choice know for ahead of time. With the power of social media, they can inform all of their supporters of your event you’ll have an even bigger turnout! *Note: This one is obviously just for grown-ups. 😉
Party With a Purpose: Use signature cocktails, inspired cuisine, and festive decorations at your next dinner or cocktail party and raise much needed funds for your favorite charity! Depending on the charity, create an environment that will motivate your guests to give and keep them entertained the whole night through. For example, let’s say your chosen charity’s mission is to save the rain forests. Be sure to include fresh, fruity cocktails, coconut shrimp, and bright flowers to adorn the walls. Of course, don’t forget to include a theme-appropriate playlist to keep the party rockin’.
Pro Tip: Include a display table with literature and pictures relating to your chosen charity for guests to view. Include donation boxes at either end of the table as well as near the entrance of your party.
Rummage for A Good Cause: This is a definite “kill two birds with one stone” idea. Purge your home of unwanted or unneeded items and help raise money for a charity you are passionate about. Pick a Saturday to hold a garage sale (try to choose one close to the 1st or 15th of the month). Let your neighbors know you’ll be happy to take their “junk” off their hands if they want to donate it to the cause. They will be grateful you are helping them clean house and they will be intrigued to visit the garage sale when they learn that all of the neighbors will be donating their unused items. Everybody wins!
Pro Tip: Post fliers up in your neighborhood and the surrounding area and don’t forget to create a posting on Craigslist. It is a great resource for alerting those who spend their weekends scouring town looking for great deals. Include a post on your Facebook page about your sale and ask your friends to “Share”- After all, it’s free! Also, anything that does not sell can be dropped off at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.
Here are some general fundraising tips:
- Don’t be shy. Invite new friends, old friends, co-workers, etc. to join in on your fundraiser. You’re doing this for a good cause and the very worst they can say is, “No, thanks.”
- Reminders, reminders, reminders! Be sure to send an initial invite, a reminder email about a week before the event, and a final reminder (with any updated information) the day before the event. Also, utilize your Facebook page to post updates about your fundraiser.
- In your invites and updates, always include a link to your chosen charity’s website so that your loved ones can learn more about the organization that means so much to you. They’ll be more likely to give if they know how their money will help others.
- Be sure to send thank you messages to everyone after your fundraiser and include how much money was ultimately raised. People like to know that the time they spent assisting was worth it! Handwritten notes are a nice touch and are always appreciated.
Do you have experience in fundraising? What have been some of your most successful experiences?
Share your unique ideas with us here or on Facebook.