Working in the nonprofit sector can mean some nail-biting and nerves when it comes to meeting your goals for the quarter or the fiscal year. If you find your organization in a tight spot and in need of a shot in the arm to raise revenue, don’t despair. While some fundraisers are large affairs that take months of planning, there are also plenty of one-offs you can pull together at the last minute for some fast cash.
The 50/50 Raffle
All you need for this easy fundraiser is a roll of raffle tickets and some advertising. Sell your tickets for a dollar or two. When you have the draw, the winner takes home half the money and you get the other half. Offering cash as a prize means that just about everyone will want to take part, and you don’t have to go through the trouble of finding prize donors. If you’re hosting an event, this is the perfect add-on, but you can also make it work as a stand-alone fundraiser if you involve local businesses and partners in selling tickets to their customers.
An Online Pop-Up
Pop-up sales are all the rage on Facebook, and you can make social media work for you with a limited-time-only fundraiser. If you don’t have a donation widget on your website, choose an online fundraising platform to host your event. Set a goal, and then get the word out to your supporters that you’re trying to raise X amount of dollars in X amount of days. This works well when you pose it as a challenge (“Get 500 people to give $5!”) and offer some online cred for your donors — perhaps an honor roll or the opportunity to enter a prize draw.
Many local restaurants are happy to pair with nonprofits for fundraising nights. The eatery donates a percentage of each customer’s bill that evening to your cause. It’s an obvious win for you, and restaurant managers are happy to bring in extra business on a slow weeknight. All you have to do is approach the restaurant and get the word out. If it’s a success, you can repeat this tactic several times per year for some reliable income.
If your nonprofit hosts regular events, you can host a pre-sale for tickets for a quick fundraiser. This works for theaters and arts groups, of course, but you can also pre-sell seats to your annual gala or discounted prix-fixe plates at your festival food tent. This type of fundraiser doesn’t require much extra work, and you will drum up some early buzz about your next big event, keeping your cause on everyone’s radar.
In a pinch, the quickest fundraiser of all is to reach out to your contact list and ask for help. An email or direct mail push that directly asks for a donation within a certain time frame can be remarkably effective. Just be sure to state your goal so donors know where their money is going and why it’s so important to write give right now. Keep it short and sweet, and offer lots of contact options so they can donate online or by check.
Not every fundraiser needs to be a big one, and sometimes the fastest is also the best. Try one or more of these quick ideas the next time your nonprofit needs some fast cash, and your organization will enjoy a nice boost without a lot of time and effort.