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Puttin’ the fun back in FUNdraiser — 30 great ways to raise cash!

“Do It Yourself” FUNdraisers

1. Yard Flocking!

Purchase 10 pink plastic flamingos (lawn decorations). Pick 10 yards in your community to be the lucky recipients. Attach cards to the flamingoes’ necks with a phone number along with all the pertinent information regarding your group. State that for a $10 donation, the flamingos will be removed but for $15 they will be moved to the lawn of their choice. Make sure you also place a sign that has a contact name and phone number among the flamingos for those who drive by and would like to have the flamingos placed in a friends yard. (Also give the option to simply pick up the flamingo gratis, since some people have no sense of fun.) It takes some organization, but is lots of fun. An additional fundraising idea is to sell “Pink Flamingo Insurance” for $10 to protect yourself from the invasion of these pink pests.
2. Spirit Chain Fundraising

This is a great fundraiser for high school students, but could be used with other groups. Have a competition within the different classes in the school (senior, junior, sophomore, freshmen) to see who has the most school spirit. Each class has two colors that their paper chain consists of. Sell each strip of paper for 25 or 50 cents. Keep the chains hidden and then at an assembly have class representatives bring out the huge paper chains that have accumulated over time. Whichever class’ chain is the longest receives bragging rights for the rest of the school year. This is a great activity to do right before homecoming or other school functions when school spirit is high. The only thing you have to pay for is the paper and staples/glue/tape.

3. Arrest A Fan
A high school group sold tickets all week at school before the homecoming football game and during the game for $5.00. The tickets were papers they printed out with the students name that was purchasing and the students name that the purchaser wished to have arrested. During the game they would have a volunteer police officer in uniform with the helps of students randomly arrest the students during the game. They set up a section on the track where the arrested students had to sit for 20 minutes. The students that were arrested could pay $3.00 to find out who had them arrested and an additional $2.00 to have that person arrested. It was a lot of fun and they made a lot of money cause the students had a blast having their friends arrested. They even had fans from the other team that were sitting on the home side arrested and most were good sports about it.

4. Cow Pie Bingo Fundraising

Experience the “sweet smell of success” while hosting a cow pie fundraising event during a country fair, rodeo or other event. A cow is turned loose on a fenced-in area which has been marked off in 500 three-foot, numbered squares. The cow determines the winner by making the first “deposit” on one of the squares. Chances on each square are sold for $5. The winner receives $500 or 20% of the sales, whichever is less ($1 for every square sold.) Kids and adults will both love this fun event.

Make sure that the animal is well-fed on the day of the fundraising event, to assure a timely “deposit”. Sell squares in advance as well as before ‘turning out’ the cow. A line judge is required for close calls. Set out clear rules to avoid problems and assure impartiality. If possible, choose a field with stands for the ticket holders to wait and watch for the big moment. A football or soccer field (in off season) might be used if fenced or you have enough volunteers to keep the animal on the grid. Possible sources of the star player: a local dairy, horse farm, etc to donate the critters “time” and the field to make a grid. In place of a cow, you could also use a horse, goat, or sheep, even a dog in a pinch! However using a cow will usually guarantee media interest and greater publicity for your group. Choose a docile animal and groom resplendently for the event. Have several volunteers available to patrol the fence and assure no one is able to influence the event in any way. It’s best to have a rain date arranged ahead of time, if needed.

This can take either a short time, or a good long while, and some groups find it a good time to sell concessions like hot chocolate, popcorn, and hot dogs. There may be other entertainment on hand as well.

Alternative 1: Seek approval to allow a cow to come onto a protected gym floor or set up a staked out field area. Find a farmer willing to bring in a calf or calm cow to your event. Once you’ve figured out where the event will take place, sell squares for the area that the cow will be contained in. You can use large cardboard boxes-flatten, tape together that are number. In a field you could use line chalk or some type of safe quick-drying spray paint to mark off squares and number each square. Sell the marked off squares for a set dollar amount. You could even let people pick their own lucky squares. If there were more than one person on a winning square, the money allotted for the winner would be split among the owners of that square. And what does it take to be the winner this fundraising event? The first person that receives a fresh cow patty from Betsy is the winner.

5. Squeegee Day Fundraising

What we do is ask people at a local drive thru (we use the Tim Horton’s) to donate money to have their windshields washed. We have one person at the beginning of the drive thru asking the person if they would like their windshield washed as a donation to Cystic Fibrosis. If they say yes, our volunteer places a pamphlet under their windshield wiper. Once they get to the front of the drive thru and they have a pamphlet under their wiper, our team of two washes their windshield and thanks them for their donation. We had all the squeegees donated as well as the windshield washer fluid. We generally mix it 50/50.

We generally do two locations from 8am-noon and generally make between $800 and $1000 dollars. A lot more than if we would have washed the entire car. We are in our 3rd year doing this. There’s very little setup (your pail and pamphlets) and it takes a very small amount of people to pull it off. We generally have 5 people at each. One person to ask for the donations and two teams of two so we don’t slow the drive thru lane down if we get multiple cars in a row.

6. Punkin’ Chunkin’ Fundraising

The Greenland (Maine) Women’s Club came up with a unique way to raise funds for the Red Cross-Great Bay Chapter and dispose of left over pumpkins and jack-ó-lanterns at the same time. Volunteers built a medieval-style catapult, called a trebuchet. One person would pull the long, catapulting arm to the ground, while two others pushed the 215-pound weight on the other end of the arm up in the air. The arm was then secured by a rope and the pumpkin put into a large sling. Another volunteer gave the rope a good yank, the trigger let loose and the arm swung the sling – and the pumpkin – through the air.

Most of the pumpkins destroyed were either left over from Halloween pumpkin sales or brought in by the bystanders. The club received a large donation from First United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, which hosts the annual Pumpkin Patch sale. This fun and creative way of disposing of jack-ó-lanterns was a community event as well as a fund-raiser. The Greenland Women’s Club collected a suggested $5 donation per pumpkin.

7. Rappin’ Teacher Fundraising
Several teachers volunteered to rap with the Wildcat, our school mascot. About a week before our pep-rally, we put the teacher’s names on jars and sold tickets to our classmates for a dollar a ticket. On the day of the pep-rally we counted up the totals & called out the name of the teacher that had the most tickets. The “winning” teacher went in front of everyone and lip-synced to “rapper’s delight” (the one where the granny sings it) and Wildcat, our mascot, did it with her! It was hilarious and it was a great success! We raised a lot of money too.

8. Pajama Day Fundraising
Students pay $.50 to $1.00 on a designated day and get to wear their pajamas to school. It’s a very easy fundraising idea. All you need is someone to go the classrooms and collect the money. Everyone at our school likes it so much that even the teachers participate! Consider having a contest for the ugliest, weirdest, etc. pajamas.

9. Egg and Beg Fundraising
For this fundraising idea, have volunteers go to area homes, asking for an egg. Have the volunteers explain what they are raising money for and then they ask the donor how much money they will give to perform various “wacky” acts with the egg. For example, “Will you give me $5.00 to crack the egg over my head?” or “Will you give me $5.00 to eat the egg raw?” The volunteer escalates the act until they get the most money they can from the donor.

Alternative: Go to a home and ask them to donate one egg (convince them that you are not crazy and promise not to throw it at their home). Go to the next house and ask them to donate any amount of money for the aforementioned egg. Repeat cycle endlessly. It is best to work in at least pairs.

10. Gas Station Attendant Fundraising
Ask a local gas station to let you pump customer’s gas and wash their windshields. You can either ask for an unspecified fundraising donation or a set amount (you will do better without a set amount). Since most stations are now self service you will be offering the customers a welcome option. It’s a win-win situation. It doesn’t cost the station a cent and their customers get premium service. You’ll get a few cheapskates but most customers will “treat you right”! You have no upfront cost. The gas stations already have the windshield cleaner, squeegees and paper towels. You just provide warm bodies and elbow grease. We use this fundraising idea at least twice a year and earn $300 in three hours with just seven people! We are a small school and love doing this fundraiser.

11. Community Service Fundraising
The youth group gets people to sponsor them for each hour of community service. Then, they schedule 20 hours of service over an eight week period. There are many organizations to choose from. On a national level, you can choose from many organizations such as Red Cross, The Salvation Army, or even needy people in your own church. In most communities, there are several local organizations also. The positive side of this fundraising idea is raising money by serving others.

12. Best Seat in the House Fundraising
First, find a sofa to use. This fundraising raiser involves raffling off tickets for a student and two friends to win the best seat in the house. Tickets are sold throughout the week prior to a game. Before a volleyball, basketball, or football game announce the winner. The winner gets to sit on the sofa with two of his or her friends. Make sure the sofa is in an ideal spot to view the game. For halftime, order pizza and sodas for the winner and guests.

13. Karaoke Night Fundraising
We have a monthly fundraising event that both the kids and adults have really gotten into. We host Karaoke nights. Admission is $5 per person and our parent guild supplies the punch and snacks for the evening. Sometimes we hold a competition and sometimes it’s just a free for all. The machine is rented from a local DJ along with a library of 5000 songs for about $100 per night. We normally raise $500 to $600 in an evening and have a great time doing it!

14. Head & Face Fundraising
Operation Beard Off: Our school principal had never been seen without his beard. We managed to convince him to shave it off at our school country fair if we had enough donations to encourage him to do this. We set a minimum amount that we wanted to raise and advertised this as a “secret minimum” — this meant that the donations kept coming in … because no one knew if we had reached the minimum or not! Our fair usually raises about $13,000. We actually raised $1,600 from this single promotion (our minimum had been set at $1000) and we were thrilled with the response from such a small school community! Source: Andrea

15. Mustache Growing Fundraising:
A group of over 40 University of Georgia veterinary students all grew mustaches to raise money for the Wildlife Treatment Crew, a student volunteer organization that assists wounded animals. Each participant was sponsored individually.

16. Head Shaving Fundraising:
Several volunteers in Erwin, North Carolina agreed to have their heads shaved as a statement of solidarity to raise money for the National Childhood Cancer Foundation. Because treatment typically given to cancer patients causes their hair to fall out, the group recruited volunteers to shave their heads publicly in return for pledges of financial support. Money was raised by collecting sponsors for each “shavee”.

17. Goatee Growing Fundraising:
Officers from the Milford, Massachusetts Police Department conducted a “Goatee for Givers” campaign to benefit the needs of a severely challenged child who had endured numerous medical setbacks. Each officer was charged with raising at least $100. They agreed to be publicly shaved on the front steps of the police station if they came up short.

18. Haircut Fundraising:
A barber shop in York, Pennsylvania held a six-hour Cut-A-Thon to help pay the medical bills of a seriously ill child.

19. Movie Night Fundraising:
Many organizations rent a movie and hold movie night fundraising events. This works especially well if you have a large room and projection/large screen TV. Make money by charging a single price for the movie and refreshments; provide the movie free but sell refreshments; or charge nothing and just ask for donations. Make sure you select a movie that will be of special interest to your group. Allow plenty of time for socialization before and after the movie. Some groups have held all-nighters where movie-goers bring their sleeping bags and blankets and have a movie marathon.

20. Kiss The Cow (or Pig) Fundraising
First of all, each member of the youth group raising money would decorate a jar with his or her picture on it. People then put donations in the jar of their choice. (Contributing to the youth of their choice.) Next, all the money is counted. You hold a dinner for all those involved and the money counter announces who has raised the most money. Someone has to be responsible for getting a cow, a real cow to the church. The one who has the most money in their jar has to kiss the cow. You can also get well-recognized people to get involved. For example, your senior pastor, youth leader, etc. Have them decorate a jar of their own and the proceeds will go into the general youth fund. If they win, they have to kiss the cow.

Fundraising Variation 1: Teachers and the staff at your school who agree to take part in the Kiss-A-Pig has a jar placed on his or her desk. Then students put pennies in that jar if they would like to see that person kiss the pig. If a student did not want to see that teacher kiss a pig they would put in silver coins and that would put them in the negative zone. The one with the most pennies (less silver) would have to kiss the pig. As a reward for the teacher, they receive a dinner for two at a nice restaurant.

21. Teacher Torture Fundraising
School principal picks as many teachers as he/she feels will willingly participate – no party poopers! The principal also has to play (to be fair of course). The principal then selects an “appropriate” activity that each teacher has to do such as: kiss a pig, color hair a wild color, dress outrageously, roller skate, etc. Be creative! Have fun! The teachers vote on what the principal has to do. Get a large jar for each teacher and the principal. Write the name of the each teacher and the principal and their “assigned activity” on their individual jars. Put the jars where someone can keep an eye over them – preferably in a high traffic area. Students, teachers, parents, and other school employees “vote” by depositing money into the jar(s). At the end of the fundraising event, the three (five, etc) teachers who have the most money in their jars, have to do their assigned activity. Have the “winners” perform their activity at a pep rally or other regular assembly, or hold a special assembly just for the fundraiser.

22. Prom Boutique Fundraising
With all the expense that goes into a prom, few schools think about generating funds in any way except ticket sales. However with a little planning an organization can generate extra funds by collecting donated evening gowns prior to the event and sponsoring a prom boutique. Many students may have limited income and purchasing a dress that’s only been used once for a reduced price will help them and produce money for your group or cause. The San Ramon Valley High School Drill in Danville, California, offered dozens of donated prom dresses and evening gowns on sale at bargain-basement prices. While clothing stores charge anywhere from $100 to $500 for prom dresses, boutique shoppers did not have to pay more than $50, with some garments priced as low as $20. The event was advertised at high schools in and outside the Valley. If your group can generate enough dress donations, you could consider a consignment boutique by asking contributors to showcase their gowns with the group earning a percentage of the sale. The Long Island Volunteer Center holds such an event annually to assist girls from families on Long Island that can’t absorb the expense of a new gown for a prom, sweet- sixteen birthday party or graduation event.

23. 50-50 Raffle Fundraising
50-50 raffle fundraising simply involves the sale of raffle tickets with the proceeds being split evenly between the winner and your organization. Many clubs include a 50-50 raffle at all their regular monthly meetings. Tickets are sold throughout the ‘get acquainted’ or informal portion of the meeting. The profits can be earmarked for an individual ongoing project, or included with other funds raised for your main charitable goal.

Your only fundraising 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 sizable 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.

Variation: One group uses a numbered grid, including numbers from 1 – 45, and sells them for $2 each. Once all of the spaces are sold, they draw just 2 prizes – 1st prize is $30 and second prize is $15. This gives a 50/50 split between the total prize pool and the profit that retained for their charity – i.e. $45 each. The winning numbers are the ‘supplementary’ numbers drawn in the Australian State Lotto, which is telecast live on TV and published in the newspaper. The State Lotto has a total of 45 numbers, and so that is why they only sell that many squares. The benefit of using the telecast/published Lotto results is that everyone can watch the draw from home, and it saves the trouble of drawing numbers themselves.

24. Thon Fundraising
There is an appropriate fundraising thon event for every organization. While events vary widely, the basic means of raising funds is pretty much the same. Participants collect pledges from family and friends – either a flat fee or so much per “x” that they complete during the event. Companies may also sponsor the event – especially if it relates to their business. Organizations often make additional funds selling refreshments, advertising and souvenirs. We have included a variety thons below to give you some ideas. As you can see, all are not athletic events. The Valley Forge Patriot Band holds a Fundraising wash-a-thon every year. It is a pledge car wash where the kids receive a per car pledge or flat donation. Car wash is free — we just try to get the numbers up. Payout is based on the number of cars washed by the entire marching band.

25. A Fundraising Bowl-A-Thon
This event is fun and raises lots of money. Participants get sponsored by pin, collects donations, or both. Lanes are rented at a local bowling alley for the event. Each participant pays for their bowling and their shoe rental. Event organizers may decide to provide snacks and drinks for the bowlers. Each participant bowls three games. Prizes can be awarded for things like highest score, lowest score, most strikes, etc. One group that ran this event purchased old sports trophies from a thrift store and made new labels for each to give as prizes, as well as giving prizes donated by local businesses such as clothing items and gift certificates. After the event, participants collect from their sponsors according to their bowling scores. For example, if they bowled a total of 300 points for 3 games, and someone sponsored them for 1 cent per pin, the sponsor would own them $3. It is best to encourage sponsors to pledge 5 cents or 10 cents a pin. Kristina, Las Vegas

26. Job Cards Fundraising
Each volunteer writes on a 3″x5″ card what they would be willing to do for fundraising for pay (i.e. painting, car washing, cleaning, yard work, babysitting). These cards were placed on a table during our spaghetti fundraising supper so adults could take note of the youths’ abilities and areas of interest. Donation. (The kids got paid better in the end).

27. Donation Container Fundraising
This is a straightforward cash collection fundraising 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 fundraising donations will specifically go. Example: “to purchase school supplies for under privileged children”. 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 fundraising 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.

28. Night In Jail Fundraising
Volunteers in Adams County, Pennsylvania, paid $40 for an all-inclusive stay in a new, state-of-the-art prison. Children between 12 and 18 years of age stayed for half-price, but each had to have an adult with them. Spouses could share a cell. The event was a fundraiser for the Adams County Homeless Shelter, but it was also a training exercise for the prison staff. Of each $40 fee, the shelter received almost $38, with the remainder paying for the food served. Two meals, served on plastic trays, were included in the price. For an additional $5, inmates could purchase a commemorative T-shirt that read “I spent the night in jail to help the homeless.”

The inmates arrived by noon on Saturday to be signed in and issued their essential orange jumpsuits. After that, they were provided their meals on a prison time table and attended the same educational sessions offered to real prisoners by prison staff. Release was at noon Sunday. Overnight guests stayed in a minimum security area in cells that are like rooms. Accommodations were made for privacy. The roster of inmates was a mix of men and women, a diverse blend of college professors, people who conduct prison ministries for area churches, and residents of other areas who simply thought it would be an excellent opportunity to experience prison life – without breaking a law.

29. Dinner Auction
Our local Auxiliary hosts a Dinner Auction 2 or 3 times a year. We have raised a considerable amount of money for various organizations. We ask for volunteers to make a single dinner. We supply the take out containers to package them into. (Pork Chops, Mashed Potatoes, a vegetable and roll) We pick a night to hold the auction. Everyone brings their dinners on that particular night. We arrange all dinners on a table so the people can see what they are bidding on. Our “auctioneer” then starts the bidding. Most dinners start at $5.00 ea. You would be amazed at how much a particular dinner could go for! At our last auction, a chocolate hot fudge cake went for $27.50!

30. Carnival Fundraising
My helping hands club wanted to host a fundraising event that also included community involvement. That is why we hosted the WINTER CARNIVAL at one of the local elementary schools. First of all announce in your school what clubs would like to participate in such activity. From then on announce that the clubs participating will be able to keep whatever profits they make at the carnival. Hold the fundraising carnival in an open space or the gym or auditorium at school and place the booths all over the place with enough space for people to walk by.

The booths can consist of simply an arrangement of tables with poster boards on the side of your table advertising what your booth is all about. Advertise as well to the community!!! Get permission from local libraries, schools, and businesses to see if you can post up posters and flyers asking your community to drop by. Our booths included friendship bracelets, pie in the face, face painting, tattoos, candy sweets, picture with Santa, etc. Be creative! If High School juniors like myself could achieve this then there are endless possibilities as to what YOU can do.

For more ideas please visit http://www.fundraising-ideas.org/DIY/

Youthlinc

Youthlinc is a Utah-based 501c-3 nonprofit dedicated to creating lifetime humanitarians through local and international service. Learn more about our programs by visiting our website: www.youthlinc.org.

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