8 Free Fundraiser Ideas

person putting coin in a piggy bank

What’s up Dark Phx Family,

I know you remember those all those school fundraiser programs. The ones, where they had you selling products out of a catalog.

There were so many of them; candy, popcorn, coupon books, cookies, pizza. The list is endless. I didn’t even care about what it was I was supposed to be selling, my little eyes were glued onto the cool prizes you could get for hitting different levels of sales.

The irony in that is I never got far in meeting sales goals, I got the first level of prizes a few times, but that’s about it. I had no clue what I was doing in sales and I didn’t have much of a support system to help me get the items sold. My mom got the bulk of my clientele through her co-workers, friends and family. She did what she could.

I also didn’t care much about why the school had us selling all these items throughout the school years, they may or may not have shared the details, I don’t remember. However, as an adult I realize these fundraisers were how they could afford the extracurricular activities and various needs of the school.

Did you know fundraisers are not limited to schools and non-profits? Anyone with a supportable cause can make financial strides with fundraising. The more supporters you have for a cause, the more likely you are to meet or exceed your funding goals.

If you have a new purchase or investment you need to make and you have some time to put a quality sales plan in action, fundraising can come in handy.

I’ve put together a list of 8 fundraising ideas with little to no out of pocket costs to help you reach your magic number.

A Yard Sale

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure.” Organize a yard or garage sale! Do you, or people you know, have items around the home that you no longer use or need? Appliances, clothes, electronics, furniture, tools, etc.

Even if you think to yourself, “nobody’s going to buy that”, it doesn’t hurt to try anyways. You never know, but what you do know is, you don’t need it anymore.

Your job is to compile all the items that can be sold, plan and organize a sale date and find a visitor-friendly location to host this event. Preferably, a weekend date, the bulk of working people are usually free on the weekends.

Partner with a Local Restaurant

You could partner up with a local restaurant for a day and invite everyone out to eat. In this scenario, your job is to fill their seats with paying customers on an agreed upon date. The restaurant usually donates a percentage of every meal purchased to your cause.

Not only does everyone like to eat, but they also need to. A win, win for the consumer, you and the restaurant. Commonly, the percentage you might see is between 10-20%, but it can be different. You and the owner will negotiate.

I recommend looking for a restaurant with quality food and to plan a date with popular holidays or local events in mind. You want to also give yourself enough time to sufficiently spread the word.


Use Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is when you raise money using the collective efforts of a large number of people. This strategy is most commonly seen online with platforms like GoFund Me and Kickstarter.

In this option, your job is to sell others on your cause through your words and storytelling. This is your opportunity to tell people what it is that you are trying to accomplish and how their funding will help you accomplish it. You’ll also need to implement strategies to get eyes on the story you tell.

I recommend doing a bit of research on the crowdfunding platforms available and their individual terms of doing business. This will help you determine the fees they charge for their services, the incentives you can offer for donations made and the payout process.

Host a Live Stream Talent Show

Do you have a large following on social media? Or can you organize an online event with a lot of viewers? You could host a live streamed talent show.

People love talent shows; America’s Got Talent, The Voice, The X Factor, Dancing with the Stars, American Idol. I’ve seen countless social media influencers host talent shows on their lives.

In this idea, performers could pay to join the showcase and a chance to show off their talents or the audience could pay to vote for a showcase winner. Either way, I recommend using a portion of the proceeds as part of the prize for the winner. Incentives always seem to make trading time, energy, or money worthwhile for the consumer.

Your job is to pick a platform to stream the live talent show, to recruit talent contestants, and to get eyes on the event.

Start a Gift Wrapping Service

A gift wrapping service is great for someone, who is good and quick at wrapping up gifts. Surprisingly, not everyone knows how to wrap gifts that look good and, well, not everyone cares to know how. You know what that means…

There are a great deal of people willing to pay others to wrap their gifts. Even if you don’t know much about gift wrapping, there’s always platforms like YouTube University to help you learn, for free I might add.

To keep this fundraising option free for you, you’ll need to require the consumer to provide the necessary tools needed to complete the job; wrapping paper, tape, boxes, and bows. At least, until you can invest in your own material with some of your profit. In fact, I strongly recommend investing in your own materials to make it even simpler for the consumer and to help you drive more sales.

Although the biggest gift giving holidays are near and it can mean big business to someone willing to put in the work, this is not the only time you can start this type of service. All throughout the year there are other holidays, special events and occasions that could benefit from using this exact service.

Play your cards right, what started out as a fundraising idea, can turn into a full fledge business for years to come.


Host a “Give It Up” Fundraiser

In a Give It Up Fundraiser, consumers are asked to give up any one item they would normally buy daily for a good cause. The consumer is also asked to donate the dollar amount that they would usually spend on that item, to the fundraiser. The item can literally be anything; coffee, a pack of cigarettes, a snack.

This fundraising idea is probably best hosted online. Your job is to convince the consumers to give up something that they probably want to give up anyway and explain why that money would be better spent on your cause. If you have access to a large number of people and you can sell your cause, this could be the one for you!

The fundraiser could be longer than one day, you could shoot for a weekend or a week. Hell, if the cause is big enough, you might even can take it a whole month.

Host A Game Night!

Are you charismatic? Can you keep a room of people interested or entertained for a few hours? Listen, it might be a good idea for you to try hosting a game night as a fundraiser!

Think about it… people love games, friendly competition, and conversation with good people! The players could buy into different games, if you want to have a variety of games like a casino night. Or it could be one game, tournament style. You could also request donations from people, who would like to come, but aren’t interested in being active participants in the games.

You’ll need to have some incentives to make it worth everyone’s while to be successful. The winner or winners could either win prizes or a portion of the proceeds. I recommend having complementary refreshments and small bite options for everyone else. You might even be able to partner with a local business on this to save costs on the extras.

A Photo Contest

People love an opportunity to show off what they love. Give it to them! Put together a photo contest, where contestants pay to submit their videos or the audience pays to vote on their favorite submission.

You could choose from all types of fun themes; cutest baby, ugliest sweater, craziest hair, best dressed. The winner could receive a prize or a portion of the proceeds.

This fundraising idea would be a good fit for someone with access to or who could partner with a large platform, you’ll need people interested in submitting photos and you need excitement around selecting a winner.

In Conclusion…

If you are in search of quick funding for a new venture or a large purchase, it pays to get creative. Sometimes working another job is just out of the question. Fundraising can be a much quicker solution that can turn into a new full time business. I’ve provided 8 free fundraising ideas to get you started.

& I’m just hitting the tip of the iceberg! The main take away from this article, if any, should be to focus on selling your cause and to showcase the value of the donations received.

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