So you’ve started a charity, you’ve decided to impact the world in a way that just might improve things for other people. Now you need to find some funding because great ideas for charities don’t pay for themselves. Don’t you worry, we have 10 fundraising ideas for nonprofits to serve as inspiration.
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Crowdfunding – Peer to peer fundraising Ideas
- Very inexpensive fundraiser, often no upfront costs
- Leverages your audience
- Can grow your donor base
Peer to peer fundraising for charity uses the power of your audience to get funding. If you have an engaged audience, running a p2p campaign may work well for your organization.
Most p2p campaigns use a crowdfunding site, these make it immediately possible to receive donations. Often the only costs involved are a percentage of the money received, about 2-4%. Most people have heard of one site or another, so they trust the process.
This sort of funding campaign is excellent, it brings in money quickly and cheaply. Because the process relies on social sharing, your primary audience can grow as people share.
Fundraising Letters; Asking for Money with Letters
- Old School – May connect with new groups of people
- Can bring in sizable donations
There is nothing fancy about sending out fundraising letters, you are literally mailing a letter asking for money. The simplicity of sending a note is what makes the concept work so well.
Cost is relatively low, you’re looking at the expense of stamps and envelopes. It is possible to dress it up a bit with cards and professionally written copy, but even then the costs are not insane.
These days people are inundated with digital marketing, going old school might just get you noticed. Getting noticed by the right people can lead to some sizeable donations. Beyond your general audience, send letters to businesses, to their CEOs or managers. Send letters to famous people, to influencers, to the president for crying out loud. People are bothered so much with digital attempts to get noticed, a mundane approach might just work wonders.
Writing, printing, stuffing, and mailing hundreds of letters can be time-consuming. Here is one service we like to get the job done.
Aaaand just because I’m a nice guy, here is an example letter
My name is [your name], I am writing to you on behalf of [organization] as part of a seasonal funding campaign. Our mission is [snippet about your mission statement]. We have helped [x] over the years and will continue to fill this great need as long as we can.
Truth be told, we cannot function without the continued support of people like yourself. You are receiving this letter because [ include a social aspect, “other people in your community have given’ and referred you personally ] If you are able, please donate, your support would mean the world to the people we help and us.
[break down donations]
$25 = Meals for three people
$50 = A sleeping bag for two people
$1000 = A month off the street for three people
We have included a stamped envelope with a credit card slip to make the donation process as easy as possible. We can also accept checks or donations through our website [website].
If you are not able to give at this time, you can still help by spreading our message on social media and with your personal social circles.
Thank you very much,
[name and contact information]
Getting Donations with Text to Give Campaigns
- Relatively inexpensive
- A promotion that offers great exposure
- Plenty of software that makes it easy
Everyone has a phone with some kind of texting capability. Everyone looks at their phone when a text comes through. Texting can be one of the best ways to raise money for charity.
Short of sending out a text one at a time, software is really the only way to send out mass messages. Fortunately, there are many options available out there that provide easy, computer-based solutions to reaching your donors through text. I do intend to have a write up at some point to help you find the best text messaging marketing software, check back, or google for the time being.
Think of this as writing a letter but in one sentence. Try to include social proof, i.e., you were referred to us by one of our donors, and a personal message along with your ask for money.
Social Media Giving Campaigns
- Easy to set up donation campaigns
- Engage your audience by sharing
- Almost free
This method is very similar to a crowdfunding exercise but doesn’t require any outside software. If your audience is engaged enough, you may even have these pop up on their own. People will post something like, for my birthday, I am asking that you donate to [x].
Rather than creating a campaign targeting the same audience yourself, try to get others to do the heavy lifting. When someone who is not affiliated with an organization, asks friends to donate it bears more weight.
Encouraging your followers to start their own campaigns will give them ownership. People will be far more receptive to donating if a friend asked them. As a bonus, new people will automatically trust and love your nonprofit because it was recommended by a friend.
Set up a Silent Auction for a Great Return
- Expensive compared to other Fundraising Ideas
- Great for exposure in your community
- Can bring in lots of money in a single night
Silent auctions can be a great way to bring in funding and engage the local community. In general, they require money upfront for things like space rental, catering, and bar fees. Auctions require a fair bit of effort to put together, both in logistics and marketing.
You’ll need people calling local businesses getting donated items. This outreach can be timeconsuming and difficult if your not the cold call type. You also need someone handling the general logistics of the venue, and event staff. Possibly the most important job is marketing, all the donated items at all the best locations will be useless if people don’t show up to bid. Don’t wait for all the ducks to be in a row, start marketing as soon as possible.
Don’t waist the attention. The value in a silent auction or anything similar isn’t just potential donations. Make sure you are getting emails, phone numbers, and facetime with everyone at the auction. The people that show up are basically the best audience you could hope for, don’t waste the opportunity to connect.
Set up an Online Auction for Quick Cash
- Online Auctions for Charity are cheap and easy to set up
- Can serve to reach new people through organic marketing
- Requires something attractive to auction
The key to raising money with an online sale for charity is the item. This is not your typical eBay listing, but rather a one-off item that can draw some attention to your cause.
Items that work well for virtual charity auctions: Sports memorabilia, concert tickets, gift cards to local restaurants, unique travel packages. Generally, things that you cant simply buy on your own.
Dance Nights, Trivia Nights, Night Nights
- Kind of expensive
- lots of logistics
- great exposure for your nonprofit
Anything social is always an excellent opportunity to bring in money for your charity. People love a reason to get out, it gives the drunken stupor a bit of meaning. Dance nights, trivia nights, and anything that brings a crowd together with drinks, friends, and food will always be a success.
These can get expensive if you decide to foot all the cost. The venue, music, and food will cost quite a bit. However, you can look for donated space to ask restaurants to support your cause.
Touch a Truck for the Families
- Cheap – most things are donated
- Great exposure for your cause
- Great for family-oriented causes
A Touch a Truck is a fundraiser that brings in businesses, fire, and police departments that have cool trucks. The idea is to get them to bring their equipment down so kids, and kid-like adults, can touch, climb, or otherwise gawk at the neat vehicles.
Touch trucks are a great way to involve young families, and you’ll usually get a decent turnout with nothing more than a few signs. Charities running a touch a truck usually charge for admission, food, and general merch.
We are not talking massive amounts of money for your charity, mostly small donations. However, there can be a bit of residual income from donor lead social campaigns. This is because donors and people who discovered your cause will help spread the word after the day is over. Expect to pay for space, food for volunteers, and maybe for the food vendors.
Brand and Sell Coffee – Physical Products for your Charity
- Recurring revenue for your charity
- Difficult to establish
The internet is full of people calling themselves Private Labelers. Private labelers are people contracting a company to slap their personal brand on an already established product.
The idea of private labeling isn’t shady, its been around forever and is just another way of doing business. Do you really think your local grocery store actually makes their own version of Fruit Loops?
These days private labeling a product is so standard, manufacturers are starting to advertise this as a service. Coffee is just one example, Google any standard product with the term private label, and you’ll find some great options.
Keep in touch, because I plan on writing an article about private label for charity soon.
A good product with your brand means reoccurring revenue for your charity. More, because you’ll have a social impact, you may be able to charge a bit more than usual for your product.
The downside is this sort of thing can be a business in and of itself, with all the obstacles that come with a physical products business. You’ll need to buy inventory in bulk, handle storage and shipping and devote part of your website to retail.
Charity Golf Tournament, Charity Disc Golf Tournament
- Difficult to establish
- Can bring in HUGE money
- Engages businesses
Here is a good article about putting together a Golf Tournament. They are difficult to establish because to be successful, you need a lot of people working together. The benefits are enormous, though, because they can bring in large donations from corporate accounts.
Golf and business just go together, we all hear about people business deals that happen on the greens. This is where the best clients are for sales, this is where the best partnerships are formed. It makes sense that this is where exposure would be at a premium, your charity can take advantage of this fact.
If putting together a whole tournament is too much, try just getting a single hole sponsoring your cause. Even just going to a match can be beneficial because you’ll meet people involved in corporate giving and see how the day is put together.
As time goes on, we will be adding more to this list and linking additional resources. Please keep in touch!