Any nonprofit owner or community organizer knows that fundraising can be a real hassle. First there’s all the planning, then there’s bugging people to come, and in the end, if your initial costs outweigh your profits your fundraiser was a total bust.
There are a lot of ways to fund raise money and they range from mundane to exotic. There’s the direct method of soliciting donations via phone calls, emails or websites like KickStarter. This is a rather difficult method because you need lots of friends with spare money who are really into your cause. Of course, there are also the old tried-and-true upstart methods like car washes and bake sales. These have minimal cost but also result in minimal return. Finally, there are fundraising events which take a lot of work to plan, but can be successful if implemented properly. We’ve all seen (and probably attended) fundraising events, whether it be a 5K or a cocktail party. They can be fun, but they can also be dry and dull.
So, how do you keep the fun in fundraising? To start, know what your target audience is into. If most of your supporters are over the age of 65, a Saturday morning brunch with light musical entertainment might be just the thing. But if your supporters are twenty-somethings with limited cash, you might have to get a little more creative to get them out of the house and into supporting you. You get the idea. If your organizations is all about marine life, think about how you can blend that theme in for aquatic lovers. If they are health buffs, maybe you can plan a road race or fun or host a nutritional cooking class. Entice them to be excited for your event so they’re not left thinking “it’s just another thing to do”.
At Civic Support, we’ve had quite a learning curve when it comes to fundraising. Here are two creative fundraising events that we’ve hosted which have seen increased success as we get better at planning:
Craft beer is a huge up and coming thing nation-wide. As a nonprofit that is interested in promoting localism, we felt that a tour of some small breweries would not only interest our supporters, but would also solidify our position on “support local, buy local.” We have done two brewery tours so far in which we rented a bus and brought ticket buyers to four breweries/brew pubs where they could sample beer and learn about how it’s made.
The cost of a fundraiser like this is a bit high, but the fun everyone had both years was priceless!
2) Silent Disco
If your supporters are a fun and energetic group, there’s no better way to get a lot of attention than hosting a Silent Disco. For this fundraiser we organized a pub crawl across Boston but here’s the catch; we were all wearing wireless headphones that were tuned into the same music. As we danced our way across the city dozens of people stopped to ask what we were doing and what the fundraiser was for. Not only was it a blast for all involved, it was a great way to get exposure and raise some money. Silent Storm Sound System provided the equipment rentals at a very reasonable price.
Do you have any fun/ unique fundraiser ideas? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments section below!