Running a nonprofit is often a labor of love, and fundraising is a big part of the job. If you feel like you’re always on the phones asking your reliable donors for help, it may be time to expand your efforts and find a way to reach more people. A creative fundraiser can help you in two ways. First, you’ll get a much-needed infusion of cash to put toward your mission. Second, a unique fundraiser has the potential to get your name and your message out in front of more people, and they could remember you for their future giving.
Try these out-of-the-box ideas to kick-start your next fundraising effort — and have some fun while you’re doing it:
1. Host a Charity Tournament
Lots of nonprofits host walks and runs in which participants collect money from sponsors, but you can put a new spin on this old idea by sponsoring a tourney for a different sport. Charge an entry fee for each team to play and perhaps an inexpensive ticket price for entry to the championship game. You can also host concessions and sideline carnival attractions to increase your profit margin.
2. Sponsor a Community Arts Event
Help beautify your community and make some money at the same time by sponsoring a street art event. Let participants make chalk drawings on sidewalks, decorate a lamp post, or paint a bench as part of a contest — for an entry fee. You can also open up judging to the community by having people vote for their favorites, perhaps by purchasing votes for a nominal fee. This type of project also gets your name out in front of your community, so you get some excellent publicity, too.
3. Design an Escape Room
“Escape the room” puzzles are on-trend right now, and if you have a building to hit the event, you can design a life-size puzzle of your own. Getting out the word about your pop-up escape room will be key, but once you have participants in the door, consider charging extra for clues to help them solve your puzzles and riddles. Bonus points for coming up with a theme that resonates with your mission.
4. Organize a Talent Competition
Host a talent show in the style of “America’s Got Talent” or “American Idol” in your community to drum up a lot of buzz for your organization. You can charge an entry fee for participants and sell tickets to the event, along with any concurrent concessions the night of the big show. If you can generate enough interest to cast a wide net for talent, you’ll have an amazing show that test your cause noticed.
5. Dare to Be Different
Challenge your audience to be bold and try something incredible for your fundraiser. Participants can set a fundraising goal and seek donations to each a certain threshold that will make them do something really unique: shave their heads, get a makeover, dive into the ocean in the winter, go on a blind date, etc. If you can come up with an exciting activity that aligns with your organization’s goals, even better.
The more creative your fundraiser, the more buzz you’ll generate for your cause, and that has lasting benefits for your nonprofit. With that in mind, get creative, fire up your social media profiles to get out the word and set the date for your next big fundraising event!