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Creative Fundraising Ideas

Getting creative with your fundraiser can inspire donors to give more than they might to a ho-hum fundraising campaign. You can catch a prospective donors’ attention through social media shares and other promotions that amplify a crowdfunding campaigns reach and success. These creative fundraising ideas can add unique and fresh elements to the long list of established fundraising ideas.

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woman painting

A heart for art

When public schools are forced to cut spending, the first programs to go are often art, theater, and music. We’ve seen an increase in crowdfunding for creative school programs, and many have included unique and clever elements like creatively inspired events that have made the fundraiser a success. Some other noteworthy trends are:

  • The National Philanthropic Trust recorded a 9.2% increase in giving to arts, culture, and humanities organizations in 2014—the largest rate of growth among all types of nonprofits.
  • Creative fundraisers encourage an appreciation for arts programs. If you meet your fundraising goal through an arts- or crafts-based event, you’re proving the concrete benefits of arts organizations and education.

Six fundraising ideas that spark creativity

art gala

1. Host an art gala

If you’re an artist or have friends or students that are artists or craftspeople (perhaps photographers, painters, or jewelry makers), ask them to donate pieces to an art auction supporting your cause. Here’s how:

  • Find a space to host the event—ideally a gallery, café, or school space. Serve drinks and appetizers.
  • Allow people time to walk around, chat, learn about your cause, and enjoy the art.
  • Provide information about your cause by setting up a donation station with a mobile device displaying your campaign page. Show people how much their purchases and donations can help.
  • Once everyone’s had a chance to browse, begin the auction; winners can make donations to your campaign.
  • You could even get a professional auctioneer to drum up bidding, or run a silent auction for the less expensive items.
screen printing

2. Host an art workshop

There’s likely to be a great deal of overlap between people who support your cause and those who want to learn a related craft.

  • Ask yourself: what kinds of art workshops can you and your fundraising team teach? Can you ask an accomplished teacher to donate his or her time?
  • Think about figure drawing, portrait or still life photography, landscape painting, even cake decorating or other food art.
  • Host half-day or full-day workshops in exchange for donations to your crowdfunding campaign.
people performing in talent show

3. Organize a talent show

Host a talent show and invite supporters and members of your local community to perform. Some easy steps to do this are:

  • Name the talent show after your crowdfunding campaign. Ask guests to make a donation to your campaign as the price of admission.
  • Choose a venue like a gymnasium, local theater, or other public space.
  • Publicize your talent show in your community and on your crowdfunding page.
  • If possible, ask a well-known member of the community to act as your emcee.
  • Ask businesses for sponsorships and matching donations.
  • For those who can’t attend, share pictures and videos from the show on your campaign page and social media to inspire them to give.
handmade craft

4. Sell crafts online

If you and your fundraising team have ideas for clothing, jewelry, or other artwork you can reproduce in large quantities, you can use sites like eBay and Etsy to help you raise money.

  • Choose a craft you can produce in quantity and customize easily with buyers’ names or other information.
  • Upload photos of your crafts onto an e-commerce site.
  • Note in the item description that profits from the sales go to fundraising for a cause, and link to your fundraiser.
  • Make and deliver the items to order.
  • If your first set of items are a success, consider adding new ones.
  • Donate all the funds made from selling your crafts (i.e. the margin between costs of making and shipping the products and the amount you make after selling them) to your fundraiser.
men holding holiday wreaths

5. Sell handmade wreaths

This is perfect for the holidays! Plug into the holiday trend and offer your wreaths in exchange for donations to your crowdfunding campaign.

  • Make them yourself, or find a wholesale supplier who’s willing to donate fresh wreaths or raw materials to your cause.
  • If you assemble the wreaths yourself, add flourishes like dried berries, succulents, flowers, chili peppers, corn husks, herb, or ribbons—especially if they visually or symbolically relate to your cause.
  • If one wreath is selling out, recreate it to meet to supply the demand.
  • Create a delivery process and make sure to schedule out your deliveries.
woman with quilt

6. Knit a quilt with your community

Making a quilt with your fundraising team and other volunteers is a great way to bring a traditional craft into your campaign. Here are some tips:

  • Ask people, organizations, and businesses to sponsor squares on your quilt with a donation to your campaign.
  • You can include a message or image of their choice on the square of each sponsor.
  • Along with space on the square, give each supporter a raffle ticket.
  • Once the quilt is finished, raffle it off as a prize. Another alternative is to have patrons sponsor a square, but instead of raffling off the quilt, host a live auction with your quilt as the centerpiece and invite your supporters to share an honorary dinner afterward.
  • After the event, you can donate the quilt to an organization you support with your fundraiser, or a local hospital, shelter, or other caregiving group.

Ready to get creative?

Creative fundraising allows people to celebrate their true colors, have fun, and show off their talents while giving back. At GoFundMe, our free online fundraising platform makes it easy to raise money for your cause. Look to our website for more tips and ideas, or come up with great strategies of your own. And if you haven’t already started a creatively inspired campaign, kick off your free fundraiser today.

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