If you are in charge of a youth group of any kind, from a school club to a church ministry, you know how daunting the task of fundraising can be. In most youth organizations, fundraising is absolutely necessary to make the program work. If you always end up spending hours sorting boxes of candy or gift wrap, then it’s time to explore some new fundraising possibilities. Here are some fundraisers that are both fun and easy to organize and execute.
Having put on many church social meals, I was pleasantly surprised when my husband suggested a meal fundraiser that did not involve setting up tables and serving a room full of people. We put on a pancake breakfast fundraiser where we delivered the meals. People at church signed up for a certain number of meals, left their address, and the time they wanted the meal. Youth group parents helped deliver these meals and we made a bundle. People were more than willing to pay $10 a meal, but the meals only cost us about $2.25 each. In just a few hours one Saturday morning, we raised hundreds of dollars towards a winter retreat.
While having a car wash is a lot of work in one day, it is exactly that… one day. Plus, the best part about a car wash is that it is almost 100% profit. If you assign students to bring sponges, soap, posters, etc., then every penny you earn is fundraising profit. Depending on your organization, and how much money you are trying to raise, you can either charge a set amount per car wash ($5 is usually the max) or you can just ask for donations. In my experience, sometimes just asking for donations is better. The super generous will sometimes give $20 or more.
Unless your organization is huge, then this is not a huge money maker, but it is really easy. If you check with local restaurants, they will tell you if they offer fundraisers and what percentage they pay. If you can find a restaurant that is willing to give a percentage of ALL profits, this is the best bet. With this set up, you will get a portion of everything, even people who don’t realize there is a fundraiser going on. Chain restaurants don’t usually offer this, but local restaurants sometimes will. Most of the time, however, what a restaurant will offer you is 10-20% of the profits from the people you bring to the fundraiser. This means that they must have a flier, so promoting is really important. Baja Fresh is one place that we have used, and it was very successful. We only raised about $75.00, but hey, every little bit counts.
Considering that many people do not take the time to trade in their own recyclables, this can be a very good idea. Not only is it environmentally friendly, it is like free money. Just advertise to your group that you will be collecting aluminum cans and bottles for recycling, and then start collecting them! If you are at a school or a church, you can set up a specially marked trash can in a noticeable location. Every so often, take the items to your local recycling center. Voila… the world’s easiest fundraiser.
If you are fundraising for something that is related to a specific cause, such as helping a person with cancer or going on a mission trip, then you can have a company create a wristband for your cause. With the popularity of the “Livestrong” wristbands, many organizations have used these as a fundraising opportunity. You can give the wristbands as a gift with any contribution over a certain amount, and then the wristband itself is an advertisement for your cause. So far, this is the cheapest place I have found: http://www.helpyourselfout.net/
Having a concert is a great way to raise money quickly and easily. The trick is to find a popular local band who is willing to play the concert for free (or for a small amount of pay) as a way of supporting your organization. If you do not have a location (such as a church of school) to hold the concert, you could check with the local park district to see if you could possibly use a facility for free. You charge admission to the concert and you have an awesome fundraiser that is 100% profit. You can also sell snacks at the concert to add to funds raised. If parents donate the items to sell, then you are still looking at 100% profit. One tip that I will give on this one is to make sure there is a lot of security. Having youth parents, or even your friends, volunteer to assist with this is a great idea. It’s not that things will necessarily get rowdy, but it is always good to have people around to make sure nothing gets out of control.