Fundraising ideas

How many ways can one person be asked to support a cause? E-mail, IM, widget, Twitter, event, colleague, direct mail, donation box … Though it may seem easier to rely on tried-and-true members, the most successful clubs are looking outside their ranks for financial support and holding fundraisers designed to attract not only dollars, but media awareness, too. Some of these fundraising suggestions might be applicable for your club, and some may not.

Holiday Gift Wrapping

During the Holiday rush, many stores run a “free” (i.e. DONATIONS ACCEPTED!) holiday gift wrapping service. Different community groups are allowed to participate in this fundraiser. Be sure to secure your clubs spot early. Spots are usually filled by early November. In addition be sure to have your shifts planned out.

Christmas Tree Lot

Many Kiwanis clubs sponsor a Christmas Tree Lot to raise money for their club, charity and allow other organizations to assist for fundraising purposes also. This requires hard work, but the payoff is worth it. Tree Lots gross in tens of thousands of dollars each holiday season. You will need pretty dedicated members willing to work hard and get dirty.

Roses for Valentine’s day

A few days before and on Valentine’s Day, purchase roses wholesale, and then sell them throughout the community Other items such as chocolate or baked goods are freat options for this holiday.

Host a tournament.

It can be basketball, softball, video game, pool, volleyball—any type of tournament! Have an entrance fee for individuals or teams. Advertising the tournament is the key to success of this event—start at least two months before. Be sure to have great prizes for those who win. You need to give an incentive for people who pay to enter a tournament.

Host a Talent Show

Many organizations host talents shows for people to watch. Consider incorporating a television show theme like Dancing With the Stars, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Got Talent, etc. Don’t forget to recruit judges! This will require time and serious planning. Just like tournaments, be sure to have good prizes.

Usher/food vendor at major events

Did you know that whenever there is a concert or major sporting event many arenas look for organizations to be ushers or sell food? Some places pay up to 75 dollars per person for a few hours of work. Some arenas even allow groups to be vendors and pocket all the profits. Contact your local arena or professional team to see if they offer such programs. Making reservations is a bit difficult, as often reservations are required to be made months in advanced. You have to make sure those who volunteer commit so that you are allowed to participate again whenever the opportunity arises.

Create a calendar

Develop a theme for a special calendar. Approach a printer about offering a discount for printing the calendar, and offer the printer advertising on the calendar. After the calendars have been printed, sell the calendars to parents, local businesses, etc. The price of the calendar should cover the printing and allow for additional funds to support the club.

Aluminum cans

Collect cans and flatten them in a race to see who can collect the most for the recycling center. Once a month, take the cans to the recycling center.

Barbecue dinners

This is an especially good project to do during the early fall. Food usually can be secured wholesale. Sell tickets prior to the dinner; make sure you promote the event.

Carnival night

A hall or auditorium can be decorated to suit the theme of the carnival. You can offer a range of activities, such as a cakewalk and weight guessing. Sell refreshments and provide entertainment too.

Chili cook-off

These are very popular. Whether your club just participates by being an entry in a cook-off or actually organizes a contest, you can raise funds. These can be fun but will require a lot of work and planning.

Concession stands

Many clubs operate concession stands for parades, fairs, festivals, athletic events, plays, or other community functions. This activity can be very lucrative and should be investigated as a possible project. You may wish to divide your proceeds with the sponsor to demonstrate your support and appreciation for allowing you to be a part of its event.

Holiday Easter bunnies

Selling chocolate bunnies at Easter time can be a successful project. Contact a local vendor. Selling with a pre-order, pre-pay basis can cut down on surplus bunnies.

Holiday bazaar

A holiday bazaar is a great fundraiser. Secure a location, sell spaces—including concessions area, arrange for setup and take down helpers, decorations and a radio announcement. Local craftsmen count on the same date each year, which seems to ensure a successful turnout. This project has minimal costs and is financially beneficial.

Pancake breakfast

A pancake breakfast can be a high profit fundraiser. It also can be fun, easy to organize and an excellent project. Don’t overlook the sale of placemat advertising. The income derived from ad sales often exceeds the breakfast receipts.

Peanut day

Involve all club members by accepting donations on street corners in exchange for a bag of peanuts. Some clubs attach small handbills to the bag, explaining the purpose of the club and how the money will be used. For complete information on organizing such an event, contact: Kiwanis Peanut Day Inc.

Other resources:

Fundraising for Dummies, by John Mutz and Katherine Murray
How to Produce Fabulous Fundraising Events: Reap Remarkable Returns with Minimal Effort, by Betty Stallings and Donna McMillion