Guest post by Sara Lowe
Picnics, pool parties, soccer games, BBQs – the possibilities are endless for you to be able to soak up the warm weather.
And what a great idea for your nonprofit to take advantage of the warm months and to come up with some fun and creative fundraising ideas that your donors will love.
1. Hold A Yard Sale
Did you know that there are an average of 300,000 items in an American home, and that the size of the average American home has nearly tripled over the past 50 years?
Yet 1 in 10 Americans still have to rent offsite storage. I would say it’s fair to assess that Americans are drowning in stuff!
So this year when everyone does their spring cleaning and bags tens, hundreds or thousands of items of clothing, toys, appliances, etc. – why not take advantage of this giveaway opportunity and host a yard sale for your organization?
It requires very little investment on your part and allows you to sell items that might have been otherwise thrown or given away to make money for a good cause!
Tips for a successful yard sale:
Advertise. Be sure to publish your yard sale online at least a week in advance.
You should create a Facebook event and could even post a few items in advance that you’ll be selling, especially if you are offering big ticket items like a modern TV or brand new furniture.
You can also publish your yard sale on sites like Craigslist and Yard Sale Search.
Start early and stay late. Hard-core early bird yard sale customers will show up at 6:30 a.m. if you let them.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make more money because you want a few more zzz’s.
Be sure not to put everything away too early because some will also want to stop by later in the day as well.
Set prices but be willing to negotiate. Yes, yard sale negotiating can often be uncomfortable.
Predetermining prices could help ease the awkwardness, but the most important thing is that you always keep your nonprofit mission visible as the reason for the yard sale.
People may be more willing to pay $5 for a T-shirt if they know the proceeds go to a good cause, instead of trying to negotiate it down to $1.
Set out a donation jar. A donation jar will give people the opportunity to donate money even if they don’t buy anything.
Capture information from buyers. If people are willing, get their name and email address to send them more information about your organization and your mission.
2. Organize A Golf (or other sports) Tournament
Hosting a sports tournament is a great way to get your donors involved in an activity they already enjoy outside with their friends and colleagues.
Golf tournaments done right attract a number of important high level donors (golf is expensive!) and can raise a sizeable amount of money, as United Way proves with their annual golf tournament.
Another fun and interactive tournament your nonprofit could host is a volleyball tournament.
This type of event is good for people of all ages and provides a cool way for your donors to mingle while doing something active.
Hope Volleyball hosts an annual tournament that gives teams the option to pay an entry fee or fundraise a minimum amount in order to sign up for the tournament.
This year, they will be celebrating their 29th tournament with over 200 teams and 4,000 participants, making it one of the largest and most successful volleyball fundraising events in the region.
3. Run A Car Wash
We’ve all seen those people waving to you with their homemade signs as you drive by, trying to lure you into their car wash that is usually raising money for some kind of cause.
They may seem old-fashioned, but car washes are actually a very economical way to raise funds for your organization: all you need is soap,
water, and maybe a little wax for those who want to donate extra money and get the fancy treatment.
Be sure to advertise ahead of time and set up in an area with heavy traffic to maximize your donations!
4. Coordinate Charity Runs, Bike Rides, Swims, & more…
It’s time to take advantage of the nice weather and get active! It takes a lot of work, but hosting a charity race is not only fun but also a motivating way to raise money for your organization.
Warning: hosting these types of activities is not a cheap undertaking, and typically 50% of all proceeds end up paying for expenses.
So why host a charity “thon,” and why do people want to donate money to sweat?
According to peer-to-peer fundraising software platform Classy, “…research has shown that people are willing to donate more when they believe a fundraising event will require pain or exertion.”This year, Barbells for Boobs is hosting the Tour de Pink where they will do three different 3-day bike rides around the country, all raising money for young women affected by breast cancer.
They spread awareness on their social media pages with the hashtag #BikesforBoobs.
The National Foundation for Autism Research hosts an annual 5k Race for Autism in March, where 100% of proceeds go to support local autism efforts.
This year they even did a Superhero theme which makes the event more fun for the whole family.
5. Have A Fun Pub Crawl
I know what you’re thinking: Encouraging people to drink a lot in order to raise money for your nonprofit? Not necessarily.
Partner with local bars and pubs that allow you to bring people in and provide a drink or two, finishing in a cool bar or nightclub where they can end the crawl.
Charge a set fee for the whole night and make sure you advertise ahead of time on social media, encouraging those who are going to share it with their networks as well.
Did you know that Classy, an online fundraising platform for nonprofits, was founded as a charity pub crawl?
It’s a fun, social way to get people interested in your organization, especially those millennial donors who want to have a good time and also support a good cause.
You can even try doing different themes or hosting on holidays like Halloween or St. Paddy’s Day.
Whatever your event may be, be sure to allow sufficient time and planning to maximize your fundraising potential.
The weather is getting warmer, so take advantage of some of these fun outdoor fundraising ideas and get your donors more involved in your organization!
About the author: Sara Lowe is the Communications and Partnerships Manager at Elevation, a full-service nonprofit web design agency. Sara began volunteering with nonprofits at an early age, including helping her hometown military community at the USO, teaching useful skills to inmates at a local jail, and traveling to Cambodia to help implement sustainable farming practices in a small village. Aside from loving to travel and learn other languages, Sara can often be found trying exotic new foods, doing Crossfit, or attending wine tastings.
Free chapter download!
Sign up and get a free copy of the first chapter of my new book, Storytelling in the Digital Age: A Guide for Nonprofits.
When you sign up, you will also receive my free weekly bulletin with tips, tricks, and advice for savvy nonprofits on how to kick butt at online marketing and fundraising.
See you in your inbox! Enjoy the chapter, and let me know what you think!