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Fundraising ideas for community projects

Community fundraising is a fantastic way to rally neighbors and friends to support a unified cause. It can be hard to fund community projects without the help of large grants, so crowdfunding provides a simple and effective way to raise the money you need. Brainstorm fundraising goals together and create an ongoing campaign to best meet everyone’s needs.

Start a community campaign

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Think long-term with ongoing campaigns

Unlike other fundraising platforms that require fixed end dates, GoFundMe serves ongoing campaigns. This gives you the time to build a credible presence, develop trust, and foster long-term involvement within your community—without the hassle of launching a new fundraiser every year.

  • Gather input from a wide range of citizens and stakeholders during the planning phase. Identify your community’s current and ongoing goals.
  • Take time to explore all possible needs and options for the community campaign(s); reach out to city officials, local businesses, and public agencies for input.
  • Done well, community fundraisers can build awareness, develop lasting relationships between community members, and create a credible presence locally that will encourage continual community involvement in the future.

Six community fundraising ideas

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1. Create and share your campaign

Craft a compelling story on your campaign page that describes why you’re raising funds and how your project will directly benefit the community. Once you launch your fundraiser, share it on Facebook, Twitter, and via email for quick promotion. Note that to maximize donations, it’s best to share your campaign gradually in stages. For more detail, see our blog post, How to Set Up a Donation Page.

bake sale

2. Host offline fundraising events

Hosting offline fundraising events can help significantly boost donations to your campaign. Successful events require some planning and organization, along with eager volunteers. Here’s how to get started:

  • Organize an event like a car wash, bake sale, or benefit dinner to raise awareness around your campaign.
  • Educate participants on the cause and/or person your campaign is supporting and ask them to donate directly to your campaign.
  • Accept donations to your campaign through mobile web or the GoFundMe app.
building materials

3. Ask local businesses to match donations

Invite local businesses to participate in your community fundraiser by matching individual donations. This can mean dollar-for-dollar matching or even double or triple the original donation, so ask what level of matching they can do. Matching donations help raise money directly from businesses and motivate people to donate since their contributions will be multiplied. Partnering with local businesses can also lend legitimacy to your campaign.

walk-a-thon fundraising event

4. Sponsor group events

Organizing sponsored events such as walkathons, runs, and bike rides are proven fundraising methods—especially during summer months.

  • Organize a weekend event when most people are available; encourage everyone in the community to participate.
  • Distribute promotional materials like flyers to raise awareness.
  • Start a Facebook event page and invite neighbors, friends, and family.
  • Ask sponsors to make their donations directly to your campaign.
  • Share the successes of your event by sharing updates, photos, and videos. If all goes well, consider making it an annual event.
fundraising auction and gala

5. Host a community auction

Organize a silent auction at your local community center or other public space that contributes directly to your campaign.

  • Ask local businesses and community members to donate items to be auctioned off.
  • Ask the city council, libraries, and any other community organizations with an online presence to promote the auction on their websites and social networks.
  • If possible, hire a professional auctioneer who’s trained to dramatically boost the dollars people bid.
  • At the event, ask winners to make payments directly to your campaign page on their mobile device.
school student event

6. Collect donations for school fundraising

Asking students to help fundraise for a community campaign helps get them socially involved and pulls in their families and wider networks to raise more donations.

  • With a school’s permission, put together educational material about your project for students (for example, a link to your fundraiser can be included in the school’s email newsletter).
  • Ask student volunteers to help raise awareness and collect donations from family and friends.
  • See if the school is willing to host a donation jar in its front office, accepting donations via cash or check.

Launch your community project now

GoFundMe’s free fundraising platform empowers communities to raise the funds they need to support neighbors, family, and friends. Use any of the ideas above to help promote community fundraising; for further information, read more of our tips and ideas. Whether it’s a one-time or ongoing campaign, you can begin withdrawing funds as soon as your campaign receives donations. Start your free community fundraiser today.

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