Creative Charity Fundraising Ideas

Note from Jason:  Hi, after you read Jennifer’s great tips, consider visiting her personal fundraising page and learn about an important cause she is passionate about:  Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – Team in Training.

Creative charity fundraising ideas can help you go on a mission trip, run a marathon for cancer research, feed the hungry, and improve your community and the lives of others.

Most of us have charities that are near and dear to our hearts. Giving to charity is fundamental to who we are as a society and who we aspire to be.

One of the reasons I love writing for OneMoneyDesign, is that we writers are encouraged to write about our passions. So I’m shamelessly taking this opportunity to share my passion for fundraising, my charity fundraising ideas, and to solicit you, the reader, for even more creative fundraising ideas. The more we share ideas, the more we can do together!

Charity Fundraising Ideas

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - Team in Training

Whether you’re raising money for charity for the first time, or you’re a veteran, there are always challenges to meeting your fundraising goals. The first challenge, and the greatest in my opinion, is realizing that everyone may not share your passion for the worthy cause you’re promoting. Some people will care and will help, but many have their own causes.

I say this because realizing this key fact can actually help you accomplish your goals; it also highlights the need for creative fundraising ideas.

Don’t be disappointed if you hear “no” when requesting that someone give to your charity. At the same time, there are people who want to say yes, and it’s your job find them.

Whether you’re raising money for a church project, cancer research, school, or community project, these charity fundraising ideas will help you meet your personal fundraising goals. The charity fundraising ideas listed here are primarily for individuals with fundraising goals, but professional fundraisers may find ideas to inspire them as well.

Charity Fundraising Ideas: Setting Goals

Start by charting your personal fundraising goal. Track your goals and accomplishments using a calendar or a handmade poster. Charting your goal will help you visualize what you’ve done and what’s left to do. It’s also very motivating.

Say you want to raise $1000 to go on a medical mission trip. Create a timeline to accomplish your goal on your fundraising poster or calendar. You should have the amount you want to raise and a completion date for the goal, and benchmarks for each month.

If the completion date is five months away, you’ll need to raise $200 per month to meet your $1000 goal. Each time more money is added to your fund, chart it. Plan a different fundraising idea each month to help you accomplish your goals.

You’ll need more than just friends and acquaintances to meet your fundraising goal, that’s where creative fundraising ideas come in.

Creative Charity Fundraising Ideas

1. Do you have a birthday coming or a holiday? I recently went to a thirteen-year-old boy’s birthday party. He requested that instead of gifts, donations be made to his favorite charity. WOW! That’s a great idea. He raised a lot of money for his charity and gift givers were more than happy to give.

2. Have a benefit yard sale. I love this idea because everybody wins! Ask people in your neighborhood to donate items to your yard sale. Start collecting items a week or two before the event. Advertise in the yard sale section of your newspaper and on craigslist. I’ve personally used this fundraising technique and have raised hundreds of dollars in one morning. See my 10 yard sale tips on how to get the best return on your yard sale. These tips can increase the amount of money you raise for your organization.

3. Take it to the Internet. If your charity has a website that dedicates pages to individual fundraising partners, take advantage of it. If your charity doesn’t offer this, then suggest it to their fundraising department.

The Internet is a powerful tool for letting the world know about your charity. With a fundraising web page, you can link to from your Facebook page, you’ll make it easy for people who want to give.

For an example of this, see my personal fundraising page for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. (Shameless Plug)

4. Take advantage of your talents. Do you have a special talent you could share with the world and raise money for you charity at the same time? If your talent is cooking handmade pasta from scratch, host a pasta making party. For say $25, guests can attend, learn to make pasta and have a meal to boot. You could do this for candy or chocolate making, scrap booking, or whatever talent you want to share.

5. Have a benefit home concert. This isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. If you know a talented guitar player, pianist, or group of musicians, ask if they might play a small gig for your charity. (You could even host a talent show). If you have room in your home, host your informal concert there. If not, ask a local coffee house, or your church if they might be willing to host the concert. Ask for a minimum donation from guests. Guest will enjoy a night of entertainment and serve a good cause at the same time.

I have personally hosted a home concert. A talented college student needed to play in front of an audience to prepare for her senior piano recital. I invited all my neighbors. My guests LOVED the performance; even those who don’t typically listen to classical music said they really enjoyed doing something different for a change. This has to be one of my favorite fundraising ideas.

6. Create a letter-writing campaign. Most charities will help you compose a letter to send to friends and relatives asking for donations to the charity. If you do a letter-writing campaign, make it easy on the recipient by including a self-addressed stamped envelope. Also, handwrite recipients’ addresses so that letters aren’t mistaken for junk mail. The more personalized your letters, the better.

7. Take advantage of seasonal purchase trends (while raising money for charity). For example, Easter gives special opportunities for fundraising. Many people already purchase flowers or candy for this holiday.

One year I was fundraising for a mission trip. Since I once worked in a floral shop and knew how to make flower arrangements, my team and I made well over 100 fresh arrangements. We took orders weeks in advance. They cost us about $2 to make and we sold them at church for $10 (the going rate at any grocery store). Since people already buy fresh flowers, we were serving a need.

You could do this with chocolates at Valentine’s Day, wreaths at Christmas, or stuffing mix at Thanksgiving.

8. Make a change by collecting change. If you know a local shop owner who is willing to place a tip jar near their register, this fundraising idea can really add up. Make an attractive display for your charity tip jar so that people who want to give their spare change have the opportunity.

Do you have charity fundraising ideas to add to my list? If so, the world would love to know about them! Please share your ideas below.

About Jennifer Scheffel

Jennifer Scheffel blogs about saving money, living frugally and how best to save with coupons. Jennifer’s goal in life is to pursue all things, even ordinary chores, with passion and purpose. Her interests include education, classical piano, running, cooking for friends, hosting parties and homemaking.

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  • Jason

    Jennifer, great tips and best of luck with your personal charity!