Ideas From Kids
Ideas From Other Kids
Our mothers' group at church hosted a "sell your wares" evening last November. Our members who normally sell items at home parties (e.g., Longaberger Baskets, Tupperware, Usborne Books), set up vendors' tables in our church meeting room. They were available for two hours one evening for people to come in and do a little early Christmas shopping. The saleswomen had some cash-and-carry items, as well as catalogs for items to be delivered in time for Christmas. Each saleswoman donated her profits from the evening to the group's treasury. The event was hugely successful!
Submitted by Kate S.
Let all your friends and neighbors participate in the yard sale. They will be happy to clean out their basement or garage for a good cause. Put up flyers or place an ad in the paper with all the details and directions to your sale. Don't forget to tell all your customers that all proceeds will go to your charity.
Submitted by Danielle Dighton, MA
Here is an novel idea to raise money for your organization or project. It works particularly well if you normally have several labor intensive, or product sales type fundraisers during the year. Instead of having several small fundraising projects, determine your total fundraising needs and sell "Fund-raiser Insurance". For $25.00 (or whatever per capita figure you need to raise), a person gets a certificate and wallet sized card that states that they are insured from all fundraising activities for 6 months, or whatever period chosen. (If you are a school or other children's group, determine the necessary amount per family.) If the person so wishes, they can purchase a policy for a year for $50.00 (or other appropriate multiple amount). Give your members a break by allowing them to simply purchase insurance for the required amount and save the hassle of dealing with multiple fundraisers.
Use photo's of babies, dogs, etc. --- anything that relates to your organization. Entrants submit a photo (specify maximum size accepted), and may also submit a 3x5 card with a few sentences as a description to create more interest. Photos are mounted on a display board or inside a sponsoring merchant's window at a sidewalk festival. Each photo is numbered and a jar is numbered for each photo for votes. Votes are made with coins, dollar bills, or checks (made payable to your organization). The picture with the most "votes" (total money collected) wins a prize.
Prizes can be solicited from sponsors. The "votes" (money) goes to your organization. The most "votes" are obtained from grandmothers/fathers and aunts/uncles, so this fund raiser works best in a smaller community or at an event with relatives attending.
Source: Barbara J., Greenwood, Indiana
This is an ongoing fundraiser. Basically, it is a service where your group installs a nice national flag in the front yard of the subscriber on each of five or more patriotic days. The flags are put out early in the morning and retrieved in the evening.
After subscriptions are sold, purchase the flags, aluminum conduit (for poles) and PVC pipe. That way you only buy what materials you actually need, although you may wish to allow some extra for last minute subscribers. The PVC is cut to about 14 inches and put into the ground as a receptacle for the flag pole which is about 5 foot long. The PVC should be 'planted' ahead of time. Be sure to keep a record of specifically where it is located on each property. Make sure the pipe and PVC are a reasonably close fit to keep your flag upright. You can add a threaded end on top and cap the PVC when not in use to keep out dirt and rocks. But be sure the top is below 'lawn mover height' to avoid damage. Use a hack saw to cut the poles and PVC to the desired lengths. Drill holes in the pipe to attach the flag with picture hanging or other sturdy wire for long wear.
The subscription cost for 1 year is $25-$50. The first year, expect to clear about half of the proceeds after paying for the flags and accessories. Renew subscribers annually. Subsequent years are mostly profit - allowing for the replacement of damaged or worn flags and receptacles. Advertise in local neighborhood papers, "sell" door-to-door, or set up a booth outside the local grocery or at sports events. Confine your 'sales' to a geographic area that's doable for your group. Split the coverage area and assign 2-4 person teams to each. That way you can get finished quicker and provide back-up coverage when a team member is out of town. Be sure to leave a contact number with your subscribers so they can refer friends and neighbors who want to participate. This project can raise funds and make your participants and supporters feel good.
Submitted by Brent S, Mesa, AZ
You start off about 1 or 2 weeks ahead of time by sending out
or passing out flyers door to door telling the residents
that you will be coming around on a designated date to collect cans and bottles
to raise money for what ever you are raising money for (i.e.,
a trip or charity).
Submitted by Wesley
This is a straightforward cash collection at local merchants. Here's what you do. Save old coffee cans and cover them in bright color paper with your organization's name and logo prominently displayed. A catchy slogan never hurts. Visit all local merchants and ask if you can leave a can at their cash register. Don't forget to visit all participating local merchants once a week and collect all proceeds. Your organization gets 100% of the profit.
Specify on the can where donations will specifically go. Example: "to build specially adapted homes for our disabled veterans". This helps those donating feel like they can associate their donation with an ongoing program, and if it happens to be one that warms their heart, they'll be more likely to give!
There are several commercial companies who sell donation containers in different materials and styles. They look "nicer" but reduce your profits. However, the printed labels can help 'legitimize' your drive. People tend to believe printed labels mean what they say.
Submitted by Mary M, Atlanta, GA
On the Saturday before Mother's Day (or the night before or morning of your chosen event) deliver the corsages with accompanying cards. For an extra charge, the corsage can be accompanied with a singing telegram.
Variation: Breakfast in Bed. Make up baskets of bagels with cream cheese, a banana or orange, mug with a coffee and tea bag inside, and a Danish or muffin. You could also include a magazine or a rose. Take orders in the weeks beforehand. Arrange for pickups that morning or charge more for delivery.
Suggestions from the Associated Students of the University of Arizona (AUSA)
Clean-up at McKale Center: Clubs and organizations can earn money by cleaning up McKale arena after events. McKale must be cleaned immediately following the basketball games therefore, the time commitment and the manpower is quite high. In the past such programs have been attempted, but due to lack of commitment they were canceled. A Very serious commitment is needed from the organization before the Staff will agree to let the club clean up. ROTC cleans up after the football games and has been doing so for a while now. If your group is seriously interested, please contact Steve Kozachick of athletics administration at 621-2129
Raffles: Raffles can earn an extensive amount of money for clubs and organizations with few costs to initiate the raffle. you can obtain items to be raffled through contributions from area businesses (the more tickets you sell, the more free advertising they will get). You must also comply with the Raffle policy as outlined in the Department of Student Programs (DSP) club handbook (please see the insert in the back of this packet).
Spring Fling: Spring fling is the largest student run carnival in the country and is designed to help clubs raise money. Clubs and organizations can raise money by selling items or conducting games at Spring fling. For more information about obtaining booth space at spring fling, please contact the Spring Fling office in ASUA at 621-2782.
Tucson Convention Center concession sales: Groups can raise money by selling concessions at the TCC for events like hockey games and the like. This requires a time commitment of an evening and a sizable group of people. For more information about working concessions at the TCC, please contact Debbie Kellison, Associate general manager of TCC catering, at 882-9820.
U of A Mall sponsorship: In order for a vendor to sell anything on the mall, they must be sponsored by a club. Sponsoring organizations must receive a mutually agreed upon minimum amount or percentage of the profits from the vendor. Guidelines for commercial sales are outlined in the Commercial sales policy and implementation rules which are available through the Department of student programs (DSP) and the office of the dean of students. if your club would is interested in being placed on a list of clubs willing to sponsor vendors, please contact the DSP at 621-8046.
Las Vegas Night: Casino nights are relatively easy and an inexpensive way to raise funds. The members of your organization can be the dealers and run the other games of chance you wish to run. Since it is illegal to gamble real money, you can charge a cover and give out funny money that may be used to gamble. At the end of the night the funny money can be used to bid at a silent auction or to by door prizes. Such prizes can be donated by area vendors or each member of your group could contribute a prize to the pot. Funny money may not be redeemed for us currency after it has been purchased as that would be a violation of state gambling laws.
Yard Sale: Have each member of your organization clean out their closets and contribute the items they no longer want for a yard sale that would benefit the club. The cost for the event would be for the advertising and a time commitment from each member to mind the store as well as contribution of items to sell. A yard sale can help your club raise money and help your members get rid of those hideous gifts they got years ago and never use.
Yogurt night: Contact local ice cream parlors of yogurt shops to see if they would be willing to give you a portion of their profits for every customer you bring in on a given night, the members of your club can have fun socializing and the shop will gain publicity and name recognition on the university campus. No one loses. PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU CONTACT THE MANAGERS WELL IN ADVANCE SO AS TO FILL OUT ALL THE APPROPRIATE PAPER WORK.
T-Shirt Sales: Your club can also raise money by designing and selling T-shirts. If you are planning to use the University of Arizona name or logo, you must first contact the charity for permission to use their logo and info. A great idea for where to sell the shirts is in the mall and in order to do this you should contact mall scheduling and ask for space in the busiest part of the mall!
Sports Tournament: Setting up an sports tournament such as a softball derby can be great fun and good way to raise money. Invite other clubs or organizations on campus or even ask local groups to participate and charge a entrance fee. Your club can make money and have a great time playing a sport.
Source: Associated Students of the University of Arizona
It often helps to combine a meal with some other activity such as a dance, choir concert, lecture series, or a fundraising auction. Providing a meal may make it easier for families to attend a week night church service or special school assembly. Serve a pancake breakfast after an early church service; coffee and dessert after a concert or boxed lunches during a conference. When used as a prelude to some other activity, the meal need not be spectacular, merely filling and wholesome, served hot and timely. Spaghetti or meat loaf, soup and salad come to mind.
Spaghetti can also serve as a stand alone fundraiser, with your special sauce, salad and garlic bread. To be really successful, your dinner should offer something a bit unique (or considered difficult, time consuming, messy, or requiring special knowledge to make). The best events often capitalize on some cultural heritage (i.e. Italian ravioli, Texas chili, Southern fish fry, Louisiana crawfish boil). Develop a signature dish or go with a theme (Irish dishes for St. Patrick's Day, a German Octoberfest, authentic international meals from a different country each year). If you hit on the right recipes, these events can become yearly standards, anticipated throughout the community. Once established, you can increase profits with both plate service and take home portions or cartons.
If you want to attract the general public, make sure you appoint a publicity chairman to get out flyers and posters in neighborhood stores. Submit your event for inclusion in the community calendar in your local newspaper and on the radio. If you've chosen a unique menu, you might even get a 'human interest' article. Also encourage your members to invite friends and neighbors.
You'll have to decide how to serve your meal. Table service is more formal and allows for closer time scheduling, since everyone is served at once (or as closely as possible) but it takes more workers to serve everyone. A buffet is less formal, but often your best choice logistically. Cafeteria style works fine for more informal events. is It's a good idea to have separate cooks and clean-up crew. Spreading the work around keeps volunteers from burning out.
Tickets. You'll need to sell tickets ahead of time for more formal and catered events, at the door for others. The price should be set to cover your costs and provide a profit or its not much of a fundraiser.
Here are some sample meals and ideas to get you thinking:
A Formal Affair: A formal dinner calls for linen tablecloths and napkins, as well as centerpieces. We decorated our church fellowship hall in formal black and white. The menu was: Prime Rib, baked ham, baked potatoes, green beans, glazed carrots, salad, fruit cup, variety of breads, a dessert table with elegant desserts, ice cream, coffee, tea. Donations given at the door. Youth helped prepare and serve the meal. Most food donated.
Soup Cellar: Made homemade soup and served it on three Sundays at noon (once a month). Received $1,170 through free-will offerings. We found that people in general gave more through giving an "offering" than if a set charge was made per bowl of soup.
Taco Salad Bar: Taco salad bar with all the trimmings, decorated the fellowship hall with streamers, tissue flowers, etc., played Mexican music and dressed in colorful clothing and hats. Meal was by donation.
Talent Show and Dinner: Made a meal for the congregation on a Sunday after church. After the meal we held a talent show and a pie auction. The congregation donated money for their meal as well as bid on the pies. Some pies sold as high as $20.
Youth Sunday Sandwich Meal: A tradition for us is to serve a noon meal on the day we have youth Sunday. Youth are in charge of the service, plus serve a meal of hot sandwiches, Jell-O, chips, relishes and ice cream. By donation.
Soup & Sweets: Tickets to the Soup & Sweets are sold for "$X" each. For this price the purchaser may choose a soup of their choice in the buffet line, sample a sweet from the dessert table and have coffee or tea. Following the luncheon the person may remain for a some type of scheduled event at which donated door prizes are presented. Six months or a year prior to the luncheon, the committee in charge arranges for a location for the event. One month beforehand, the Soups Committee contacts local restaurants to see if they are willing to donate "X" gallons of their specialty soup for the luncheon. The number of restaurants will vary with the size of the luncheon. The restaurants will usually be glad to co-operate if the "cause" is one that appeals to the community as a whole. An alternative is to have members of your organization make various soups in quantity with ingredients financed by the group. When the soups are donated by the restaurants, this fact may be used for effective publicity for the affair. With the permission of the restaurants, recipes for some of the soups may be given in the newspaper release advertising the Soups & Sweets. A Sweet Committee arranges with members of the organization to make a variety of deserts for the buffet. They need to encourage elaborate and special desserts - with members donating these (or you might use restaurants as well to supply these). Each member of the group should be responsible for selling a definite number of tickets. This serves the double purpose advertising the luncheon and giving the approximate number of those planning to attend. The group may sell a limited number of tickets at the door on the day of the event. Any soup that is left over can be packaged in Styrofoam containers and sold.
Two-Buck Lunch: Most people go out to lunch with other people from their office and spend lots of money on costly meals every week. Help them and help your youth group at the same time. Pick a week and make announcements to the offices in your area that you will be selling sack lunches. Have your group make enough lunches for all the offices in your area. Take about 20 lunches to each office (this number may vary depending on how many people work there). Put a flyer in front of the lunches explaining what you are earning money for and what comes in each lunch. Sell the lunches for $2.00. (You could even sell them for $3.00 if you feel like it's not too much.) Leave a box or something where they can put their money. Be sure to keep close count of how many lunches you leave and how much money is earned each day. This could turn into an ongoing relationship between you and certain offices. Let them know that they are free to call with orders and you will provide lunches according to what and when they order.
Sources: Mennonite 1999 Youth Convention, DCLA, Youth for Christ/USA and Great Little Events Limited
Angel Tree Alternative: Each year as the Christmas holidays approach, our hospice sells lace angel ornaments which people can buy in memory of or in honor of anyone they choose. Those ornaments are then placed in Christmas trees at our office until a few days before Christmas. We then have an open house in which people can come and take their angels off the trees. It is a good time of sharing with the community as they gather together during the Open House. Refreshments are served. [This idea can easily be adapted by non-Hospice organizations to fit their mission.]
For Pets: Our mall allowed us to put a Christmas Tree up in Center Court. For each $5.00 donation, we would illuminate a light for your pet --- a red one for "in honor of" and a white one "in memory of". We asked for a picture of the pet and would hang it with a red or white ribbon. We had to put up an-other Christmas Tree because the first one because too full of pictures. We did not worry about the fact that we had 100 white lights on a tree, but 150 memorial pictures ---- you can't even the two out. We found that the public did not even pay attention to that. They were too busy looking at the pictures. On the weekend, my mother took her Golden Retriever, Chelsea, to the mall. She was dressed as Santa, complete with bells on her toes and a Santa Hat. The kids AND adults loved it. Of course, we had the fish bowl out and would average $150.00 in donations a night. Also, we took thick foam board and put them on wreath stands. We had a red board for the honored pets and a white board for a memorialized pets. We listed their names on each board. We noticed that people liked to look at the names the try to find the picture on the tree. We were glad we wrote the names on the back. We earned over $3,000 from the tree and fish bowl. It was a so fun.. THIS IS IMPORTANT! We did not have someone at the tree at all times. The only time someone was at the tree was on Friday and Saturday night when we took Chelsea out there. Twice a week, I went out there to hang pictures and write names on the boards. The public never paid attention to me, but take a dog out there and they flock around and dump money in the fish bowl. We had a stand out front of the tree explaining what it was for. We kept forms in that stand for people to fill out. They would simply put their name, the name of the pet, was it in Memory or Honor of, etc. Then they would send it to the address at the bottom (my house). The BIG BIG money maker on this was something we almost did not do. We told people that if they wanted to buy a light in honor or memory of someone else's pet, we would send that person a card. Many people made donations like that for Christmas Presents. When the person received a card, they turned around and made a donation either for their pet or someone else's. This brought out a lot of emotion in some people. I saw several people who made a donation in memory of their pet just break down and cry when they saw the picture on the tree. We thought it would be necessary to have someone at the tree at all times, but we knew we could not do it. Turned out, we did not need anyone there except on weekend nights when the mall was really crowded. We also got the newspaper to print the form to fill out as a donation to us. We got a good response from that. Also, the local weatherman (a REAL popular guy) came out and did the weather from our trees twice. There was a huge response after that.
Sources: Hospice of East Alabama,
Sell Home-made Birdseed Ornaments
Shower With Flowers
Each year our club has a Thanksgiving and Christmas Basket Raffle. Have each member donate a food item to fill the basket. Example: If you are doing a Thanksgiving Basket someone can donate a can of corn, a packet of gravy mix, a bag of marshmallows, cider mix, etc. Try and have the turkey donated by your local grocer. Make flyers, announce in your newsletter, memos, sell to people at work, school, church, neighbors, etc. Sell tickets for a dollar each which is an easy sell to most folks. Make sure to have the name and phone number on your tickets so you know who to call when the winner is announced. Set a date to announce the winner and the delivery date. Put the name of your winner in your clubs newsletter and on the web-site if you have one. The Christmas basket raffle obviously works the same - just the ingredients are changed.
Submitted by Tammy M
Your only expense is the raffle tickets (a double ticket roll, a single ticket roll that you tear in half or a board with the numbers for sale). Winners are always happy with a cash prize. All you need is one or more ticket sellers. Raffle tickets normally sell for $1 a piece, with an incentive for multiple purchases such as 3 tickets for $2, or 5 tickets for $4, etc. Using a price incentive for multiple tickets can often increase your total sales and builds a larger 'pot' to split with the lucky winner.
All ticket stubs (or duplicate tickets or numbers, depending on your style of raffle tickets) are placed in a hat or other container from which one lucky number is drawn. The 'take' is tallied and one-half awarded to the holder of the lucky number. The drawing is normally held toward the end of the meeting or event, and the lucky number holder must be present to win. If not claimed within a set time limit which can be as short as a minute or two, a second number is drawn and awarded the prize. Generally speaking, the larger the prize, the longer time allowed for the original winner to claim his or her prize. At a large function, with a sizeable pool of money expected, multiple prizes of perhaps $100 or more could be awarded. Whatever the prize split, it should be determined ahead of time and used as a sales incentive. (i.e. "Buy a $1 ticket and get 5 chances to win $100). You can also consider a 60-40, 70-30 split, etc but 50-50 seems to be the most popular split.
Donors can weight the boxes with a brick to disguise the contents, have an oversize box for a very small present, or wrap boxes within boxes to increase anticipation. You get the idea! Announce that at least one of the boxes contains a '$x" bill or something of value that is small enough to fit in all the boxes. The dollar value will depend on your group and anticipated bidding amounts.
As guests arrive they place their boxes on a display table so potential bidders can examine them and speculate on what they contain. Whether you use a live or silent auction, make sure everyone has time to pick them up and shake them before the bidding. Guessing the contents is much of the fun.
At the specified time, the boxes will either be auctioned individually or the results of the silent auction announced. If you have a live auction, make sure you have a couple of "valuable" prizes auctioned first to stimulate the bidding. Above all, make sure you allow time to let everyone to open their box in front of the group. That's where the fun is.
Alternative: Pound Auction. Have everyone donate an item. Each item must weigh in at one pound. Have each person donating wrap their items so that you are unable to tell what the item is. Then auction the items off.
Submitted by Shanta P, Dallas, TX
Collect volunteer artwork to feature in the calendar (one piece per page or a collage on each calendar page). Photos of town landmarks or a collage of pictures from Founder's Day, Four of July or Christmas Parades, or other local events make good choices. Select a theme related to your school, town or organization to guide you in choosing the pictures or artwork.
Work with a local printer to produce the calendars (they may do this at a reduced cost in return for an ad!)
Once printed up, sell the calendars for $10-$15 at sporting events, school functions, and door-to-door. Try to get local book stores and restaurants to display the calendars for sale.
The amount of money you'll raise depends entirely on the sales effort of your volunteers. Many community members won't hesitate to support a good cause! Profits can be quite high, depending upon which services you can have donated in return for ads. Selling ad space is the hardest part.
Be sure when selling the calendars to let people know how/where the proceeds will be spent.
Submitted by Mary M, Atlanta, GA
Dollars count FOR your class. Once the competition gets going, you can raise quite a bit of money in small change, adding pennies to your own jar or silver to competitors. It's great fun! Every class comes out a winner. Last place classes get ice cream cones as prizes. The Second place class receives a sundae with whipped cream, syrup, bananas, the works! The class in first place wins a pizza party and sundaes!
Variation 1: A school 'penny war" with the classrooms competing against each other. Jars are placed out side of each classroom at the start of the day and end of the day, with someone monitoring of course. For every penny added to the jar a classroom would receive one point. Every nickel, dime, quarter, added and the class lost points according to the value of the coin. A dollar in the jar and the class lost 100 points. Kids are allowed to place coins and dollars in any jar they want, so they could make a classroom with the most points that day lose points by placing everything but pennies in the jar. Points are posted every day and the money collected in the office at the end of the day where student helpers wrap pennies, nickels, dimes and so forth. At the end of the nine week period, the class with the most points wins a popcorn/movie party. This can be done in elementary schools but for secondary, it works best if the competing classes are all homerooms. Easy way to raise money for the school, with no cash outlay.
Variation 2: You put one jar in a room for each grade. The jars are used to collect monetary contributions. For every $.10 you award one link in a chain. Each link is a strip of paper cut out and then the ends are stapled forming a circle. Each grade must have a separate color, so that when you hang the chains they can see what grade is winning. It is a great way to make money and the competition level is usually real high.
Variation 3: Have the whole congregation bring in their spare change and keep track of it somewhere (maybe 5 gallon water jugs in the back of the sanctuary). Think of a way to get people competing for weight (pennies are better) and/or for amount (dimes are better). Allow people to put in bills, but take them to a bank and get change. Have a huge change counting party. (A goal may be 5 pounds of change per youth, or the ministers weight in change).
Variation 4: Divide your group into two teams. Give each team a large container and tell them that the group with the most pennies in their container one or two weeks before the event will be declared the winner. The losing team must serve the winners at a special dinner in their honor. The two teams can get pennies from anyone (people in church, school, parents, friends, etc.). You could also do this with nickels, dimes or quarters.
This idea is similar to the to the sales they have in stores during different holidays such as St. Patrick's Day where organizations will sell paper shamrocks for a dollar. You print the donor's name on the shamrock and it's hung up in the store for all to see! We chose to use paper houses with our logo on them and asked local businesses to sell them for us. Since we are a homeless shelter the houses were a big hit! We gave each business about 50 houses to start, a tally sheet, and a money bag. We collected at the end of each week although the fund raiser continued on for the whole month. We also did advertising in the local newspapers and radio.
Submitted by: Gail G
Clean up after Independence Day fire works displays, auto races, dog shows, etc. Often the organizers of these events will pay an amount of money to another organization for their volunteers to do the clean-up. Church youth groups have had success with cleaning up Fall leaves in yards for a donation to the organization.
Submitted by: Barbara J.
Your group can make money prior to Halloween selling "Goblin Insurance". Here's how it works. Using a computer and a printer you print up special Halloween Insurance Policies. You charge $5 per residence policy and $15 per business policy. Here's the good part. You keep all the money! Your group agrees to clean up any Halloween mess - soaped windows, etc. made during Halloween night. You do not agree to repair vandalized items - broken windows - blown up mailboxes, etc. Most people will think it's a clever idea and will donate $5. Sell a couple hundred and you have yourself $1000. Your expense will be the cost of ink and a ream of paper.
This idea is to search out historical buildings or homes in an area. Map the course and take a bus load or two of people to visit these places. A tour inside is a must and get permission of course. You either get a spokes person to tell the history or search it yourself if no one else is available. Have a bus commentator, preferably someone who knows the area and some history. Make one of the venues a stop for morning tea and lunch. Seek giveaways for passengers according to the theme. 20's, 30's or whatever. Timing is crucial and must be constructed before the actual day. This is a fun day and a great profile for your cause.
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