Put the FUN in Fundraising!

We know, it is easy to say fundraising is fun, exciting and fulfilling but hopefully the fundraisers you are doing actually are fun! It is understandable that new volunteers can feel overwhelmed at the prospect of fundraising goals, but remember it is all part of the experience. Using your personal flair and imagination can lead to really successful personal fundraising activities and it is an incredibly valuable skill set to have for future employers. Here is a small list of FUNdraising ideas we want to share in the hopes they will inspire others to be creative in the efforts.

1) Make a video!

This is easier than it sounds. Any small camera or phone can be used for videotaping these days and often the home made video look will be endearing to your friends and colleagues. The trick is to show a bit of personality and make it memorable; tell the audience who you are and what you are fundraising for. If you are at all theatrical you can make it quite a production. You can then share the video through your social networks very easily and link it to your fundraising page. Here is an example of a video we whipped up in the office one day in support of  an Aeroplan fundaraiser:

2) Throw a party.

People like to attend events. Friends and family are likely to give small amounts to attend a fundraising event you are hosting. At your events you can generate more money towards your goal by including raffles, silent auctions and prizes. Here are some alumni events that have worked:

Another volunteer from my group and I did a fundraising event at a pub in Toronto. We had bands playing throughout the night, a cover charge at the door and we also had raffle gifts throughout the night, which were donated by various companies around the area. -Lisa D’Alimonte, Youth Ambassador, Ghana 2010

I threw a dinner! All you really need is people to help you out, but I rented a hall and had a silent auction and made well over half of what I needed! I even made YCI pamphlets so everyone knew exactly what I would be doing. It was a long day but totally worth it. 🙂 –Maggie MacDonald, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania 2010

I put together some open mic events! People were keen to support my efforts and it helped that really talented folks performed! -Sagal Abdulle, Youth Ambassador, Costa Rica, 2005

3) Odd jobs.

This one sounds funny but it has worked for our previous volunteers. Offer your services to people in return for their donations. This could be anything from babysitting, cleaning house, painting or dog sitting. The last one was successfully done by on of our volunteers who documented his experience on his blog:

Oakley, Matt Leslie's fundraising ally.

I dog sat for a friend.  Oakley, a 7 month old Yellow Lab, was very excitable and  a tad rambunctious at times.  He was incredibly goofy and mostly enjoyed plowing his face through the snow to try to escape his collar. To show just what I would do to raise money, I thought I’d document the experience with Oakley on my blog: http://mattanzania.blogspot.com/2011/04/matt-leslie-dog-whisperer.html -Matt Leslie, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania 2011

4) Take a small donation and turn it into something BIG.

One volunteer in the past used a small donated item and turned it into a serious money maker. Her trick was having something that meant a lot to the community she was from:

I was a given a free pair of Rough Rider tickets (in Saskatchewan it’s like gold) and had a raffle for them. Just made my own raffle tickets (I think I found a template online) and got people to fill out there information then I pull out of a hat and called up the winner. Each ticket was 5 bucks and I made about 1,000. It’s all about connections, use the people you know to assist you in reaching out. -Julie Geremia, Youth Ambassador, Ghana 2008

5) Remember your childhood.

Chances are at some point in your elementary school career you participated in a fundraiser. What worked then will probably still work now. Game nights, cake walks, candy sales, wrapping paper sales, car washes, bake sales, bottle drives, shake a can (you know those cans with slots in the top where people put their change, did anyone else call it that?), and so, so many more. These are all feasible and if you have a buddy (or another volunteer on the same project) planning and hosting them can be especially fun. One of alumni had the great idea to do a little contest on her desk at work:

I did a jellybean fundraiser at work. I found an old school Heinz jar at an estate auction; in fact, I got it for free!  Had to buy the beans but jellybeans aren’t too expensive. I had the contest running a few months before I left. I didn’t expect to raise tons of money from it but I saw it as a way to draw people’s attention to what I’m doing and hopefully direct them to my fundraising page. -Kendra Seignoret, Youth Ambassador, Guyana 2012

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