Raising money is like running a marathon. It takes stamina, dedication, discipline and getting through difficult moments. Fundraisers provide extra income for associations and organisations. Often this is even the largest part of an association’s income.
That’s why fundraising has become so essential. It not only ensures financial stability because bringing students, staff, parents and the community together also gives a sense of togetherness.
Fundraising inspires creativity and promotes the entrepreneurial mindset. It unites like-minded people who want to work together for a good cause. Done right, a fundraiser can result in a new network of fans, friends, followers and supporters. The result of those referrals and word-of-mouth advertising is that your association or organisation is promoted even more.
A successful fundraising event can also grab the attention of the press and media in your area. The more positive articles you can get about fundraising associations, the more people will find you.
Whether you’re drafting your annual strategy or just a mid-year campaign, here’s a list of unique fundraising ideas that will definitely get you started or perhaps give you new ideas.
Table of Contents
Fundraising ideas for school associations
1. Obstacle Course
Organise a race with obstacles such as rope and wall climbs, running over a beam, sack races, running through a garden sprinkler or mud bath, climbing stairs, dodging water balloons filled with paint, jumping through tires etc. Obstacle courses are exciting for everyone involved, so there should be enough donations coming in.
You can use the obstacle course in a few ways. You can ask each team or individual participant for a small contribution to participate. Ask a certain amount of money for each time they want to go down the track. If you want to raise even more money, have your supporters try the obstacle course as many times as they want to beat their own times.
If you expect a large turnout, it is best to organise a fundraising association in the summer months.
2. Cultural theme days
Another fundraising idea is that you can organise many different cultural themed days throughout the year, focusing on different parts of the world or different cultures. Try to pick up traditional costumes from that country/area of the world. You can then ask the students and the parents for a contribution to the fundraising association if they want to be photographed in traditional costumes (for example, a kimono).
Provide a variety of traditional yet healthy meals from that country.
For example, you can organise a theme day, “Discover the Far East”, and serve dishes inspired by it:
- sushi (nori) or rice wrapper spring rolls
- Vietnamese spring rolls
- fried rice or noodles
- vegetable or chicken skewers
Because you organise the fundraising association in a school environment, you try to keep the food as healthy as possible. This means no fried snacks, less oil and lots of fruit and vegetables.
Many traditional fundraising campaigns often focus on selling foods with a low nutritional value, which can jeopardise the health and performance of students.
3. Students get locked up.
This fundraising idea is a bit more challenging to organise in terms of logistics, but it does have huge potential.
Organise an event at your school (carnival, field day, sleepover) in short, anything that is tempting enough for children to want to participate.
Pack that day (or night) with interesting and fun activities. Kids want to have fun with their friends, and parents will love to get some (often) much needed time to themselves.
Promote the activity at your school and parent meetings. Set a fundraising goal that each student must meet in order to participate. Make the goal challenging enough to motivate, but not too challenging, as that can be discouraging.
Anyone who meets that goal can participate. For example, the ‘lock me up’ campaign of Free a Girl.
P.S. – Make sure that the parents give written permission for this.
Fundraising Ideas for University Societies
4. Community Services
One of the many fundraising ideas is to raise money by offering the skills and services of your students and teachers/professors to the highest bidder.
These skills can be professional (e.g. photography, tutoring, web design) as well as everyday activities (e.g. grocery shopping, driving, babysitting).
Otherwise, let people sponsor your staff and students who provide community service for 24 hours.
5. Start the morning with a dance.
Another fun fundraising idea is to raise money by hosting an alcohol-free morning dance party.
Instead of alcohol, sell freshly squeezed juices and smoothies. This unique idea for the fundraising association is sure to catch on with the students as it makes them more energetic for the morning lectures. Create a juice & smoothie bar where students can order or even create some of their own unique juice and smoothie blends.
Ask for a small entrance fee and some extra money for each smoothie and juice. You can also ask for a higher entrance fee, where they get two drinks (or more) for free.
6. Challenge me!
Organise a fundraising event with challenges raising funds for your cause. Create an online challenge where participants promise to do bizarre things if enough money is raised (e.g. shave their beards, don’t talk for a week, etc.).
The participants have to film themselves (take selfies) as they complete their challenges and share them on social media.
7. The Voice
Organise a singing competition such as ‘The Voice’. Not the real one, of course!
Have participants sign up and compete for a prize. Recruit three judges (e.g. university professors) and have them judge the contestants. Make it all fun and light-hearted, because this isn’t a professional competition. You can collect extra money by asking for a small contribution from all spectators during the event.
If you’d like to raise even more money, you can also sell soft drinks, chocolates, and snacks at the venue for the fundraising association.
Raising money for sports associations.
8. Hiking with a guide
Guided walks can bring in extra dollars for sports clubs while at the same time promoting health. A guided nature walk is the perfect way to reach people of all ages and walks of life.
Ask people for a contribution to be able to walk with you on your favourite trail. You can take your supporters on a walk through the hills, along a river, around a lake or at a national park.
Hire an expert who can keep everyone safe and point out the exciting and valuable elements of the environment. While walking, you can even give them more information about why you’re raising money.
9. Print water bottles
Whatever physical activity you choose, staying hydrated is essential.
In addition to sports and staying active, drinking water is one of the most crucial components for getting fit and staying healthy.
Design and sell printed water bottles to raise money for your sports club. Find a company that prints water bottles the way you want them and then sells them!
Not only is this a product that is of value to everyone, especially those who are active, but it is also very environmentally friendly.
10. Challenge: 10,000 steps
Taking more than 10,000 steps a day will improve your mental and physical health. Studies show that people who take at least 10,000 steps a day have less anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue.
The 10,000 step challenge requires participants to take 10,000 steps per day over an extended period of time (e.g. a week or a month). Let your supporters accept commitments on how long they will participate and track their steps (via their phones or Fitbits).
You can also turn it into a peer-to-peer fundraiser. Here you ask participants to encourage their friends, family, colleagues and classmates to join their teams, or they can make a donation to support the fundraising association.
11. Healthy eating workshop
Another unique and attractive idea for the fundraising association is to organise a healthy eating workshop. Everyone, especially if they like fitness and sports, wants to eat a little healthier at some point.
Consider organising this workshop in January because many people want to start eating healthier as a new year resolution.
All you have to do is charge a fee for participation and promote the fundraising association through social media, email and physical advertisements such as flyers.
Whether you’re hosting a short (1.5 hours) or a slightly longer (all day) workshop, paying attention to healthy eating can be a great way to get your entire community on the path to healthier eating.
Fundraising Ideas for Youth Teams
12. Spelling Contest
In most spelling competitions, children will compete as individuals. Each child, in turn, is asked to spell a different word, and they can recite their answers or write them on a board.
Ask money from the children who participate and from the parents who come to watch. Ask for an extra contribution from children who want a ‘repeat’.
13. Face painting
A face painting fundraiser is a simple and easy way to raise money for an association or organisation. Face painting works best if it is organised during another fundraising event, such as a sports day or a barbecue. It takes very little planning, and the supplies you need to complete this fundraiser are inexpensive and readily available. You will need a table and chairs, plates for the paint, make-up wipes and paint and paintbrushes.
You don’t need to hire a professional performer, but you do need someone who is good with children and who enjoys spending a day with children. Supporters pay a fee to have their faces painted. Have some pictures of face painting samples available for your supporters to choose from (superheroes, patterns, animals, stars, hearts).
14. Fun Family Day
This attractive idea can be organised many times – maybe even once a month (depending on available resources). Aim for a day on the weekend so that both the kids and parents can participate.
These are fun days for the whole family, but they should be really focused on the kids. They should be fun and educational days. Provide painting lessons, organise sports competitions, organise a dance party, a clay workshop.
Appeal to the parents with educational opportunities and to children by making these educational activities fun and entertaining.
Once a few families find out and participate, it will spread like wildfire, and your monthly fundraising association will be a huge success.
Of course, ask the families for a donation. This fundraiser also helps build a community of parents and children.
15. Pet Party
Kids love animals! And let’s face it, who doesn’t?
Partner with a nearby animal shelter and host an animal party at your local school or playground (or other green and kid-friendly area). Have the shelter staff bring adoptable dogs (and sociable and quiet cats).
This is a great opportunity for children to play with animals outdoors and a good chance for some animals to be adopted. Never underestimate the power of children begging their parents for a puppy or a kitten!
You could organise this fundraiser together with the animal shelter. Since both of you can benefit from the fundraising association, it makes sense to do it together.
As part of the fundraiser, you could also host an interactive workshop that teaches children how to interact with animals without hurting them.
16. Buy a bracelet and support a good cause.
Fundraising bracelets are a great way to get more people involved in your organisation’s cause. However, it is very important that you do not make just any bracelet if you choose to implement this fundraising idea. The design of the bracelet should be unique and representative of the purpose. Otherwise, there is little reason for an individual to buy and wear the bracelet.
Make your bracelets modern and stylish. To create something special, you can team up with a local designer who is behind the objective of the action.
For example, if you buy an ocean bracelet, a pound of trash will be removed from the ocean and beach.
17. Soup Party
An excellent idea for community organisations, and this fundraising activity is sure to bring people together.
Find a simple recipe for a delicious and hearty soup and let us know. Ask participants to bring soup ingredients and then cook the recipe together.
Serve the soup with a piece of bread and sell it per portion – clearly indicate where the proceeds will go.
This fundraising idea is especially suitable for the cold autumn and winter days!
18. Flea Market
Most people have a lot of stuff that they secretly want to get rid of. Your community can use participants’ items to raise money and repurpose items that are discarded! It works the same way as a flea market.
You could organise it like this:
- Book Market: Let your attendees donate used books, magazines, and comics they no longer need and sell them to the community.
- Shoe fundraiser: Have your participants drop off their nearly new shoes and find a company that pays for the shoes you collect.
- Clothing fundraiser: Give your participants the chance to exchange clothes and revalue old clothes. Ask your participants to bring clothes that they no longer wear and what they have to bring. Hang the clothes neatly on clothes racks in the designated area and invite everyone in your community to participate in the trade/sale.
Have a way to collect money and provide receipts for your donors.
Alternative idea: You can also combine these three promotions in one large flea market where books, shoes and clothes are sold.
Conclusion- collect money association
Raising money can be difficult and exhausting, especially when you have to do it all year round. With so many campaigns and fundraisers happening simultaneously (and seemingly all the time), there is also an element of satiety and tiredness when it comes to giving.
Use the above ideas as inspiration and come up with your own!
Most of the fundraising ideas we’ve shared above are physical but don’t forget the digital possibilities.
By planning and executing numerous fundraising ideas throughout the year, you can achieve your fundraising goal.
These fundraising ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. Talk to your members, your volunteers, your supporters and ask what they want to participate in? Then follow their lead.
Remember that even the simplest fundraising idea needs preparation. Leave enough time to plan the event stress-free. Have fun raising money!
Check out our non-profit blog for more tips and resources for non-profits.