Simple & Cheap Fundraising Ideas

by Fern Morris
A donation jar is one of the simplest fundraising methods.

A donation jar is one of the simplest fundraising methods.

Coming up with simple and cheap approaches to fundraising can seem challenging at first. However, many of the most effective fundraising methods that are tried and true are easy to put into action and require little financial investment. When one of these fundraisers is implemented by a dedicated team for a good cause, satisfying results are bound to be realized.

Donation Jars

A donation jar fund drive is a simple and cheap way to collect funds for your cause. All you have to do is think small. Focus on collecting the change given to customers at local stores and restaurants. A lot of small change can add up to a large sum. Start by collecting jars, boxes, coffee cans and other small containers that take little space near a cash register. Print container labels with the name of your cause and a brief description of the purpose of the fund drive. For example, “Donate to the Oak School Art Program to help buy art supplies for the next academic year.” Next, approach managers of local businesses for permission to place your jar on their counter. Finally, send volunteers regularly to collect proceeds and check with the manager about your progress.

Guessing Games

Guessing games are easy fundraisers that work well in an office setting, requiring little set-up and oversight. People who choose to participate should pay a small entry fee, and all entry fees are given to the selected cause or organization. For a workplace picture-matching game, invite employees to bring photos of their pets or photos of themselves as babies. Charge employees $2 for a ballot to try to correctly match the pictures with the employees. Award the winner a prize. Guessing jar games also work in offices, schools and community centers. A large jar is filled with something that can be difficult to count in a large quantity, like candies, buttons, marbles or beans. The person filling the jar needs to know the actual count. After the jar is filled, display it in a prominent place and invite people to guess. They can pay a dollar for their ballot, and once all the ballots are collected, the person with the closest guess wins a prize.

Restaurant Night

Ask the managers of local restaurants and cafes to participate in a fundraiser. Sometimes restaurants agree to donate a certain percentage of profits from a particular evening to a good cause in exchange for promotion and publicity. Agree on a particular day and time, as well as a set percentage (usually five or 10 percent). In exchange, your group should promote the restaurant night through fliers, social media and by word of mouth. Choose a typically busy night.

Meet a Mentor

Raffle off the opportunity for people in your community to meet with local celebrities or respected leaders. This fundraiser requires only the “mentor” figure to donate an hour of her time. Approach people like CEOs, the mayor, or a local newscaster. Ask them to donate an hour of their time to mentor the winner of a silent auction. Post information about available mentors and set up silent auction forms at a community event or in a visible place in an office or school. This fundraiser requires little organization and can provide someone access to a leader in her field. Raise money for your cause while providing a professional development opportunity for the winning bidders.

About the Author

Fern Morris has been writing about the arts, culture, etiquette and society since 2004. She has published her work internationally in various magazines, websites, exhibition catalogues and academic journals.

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