Planning Your Creative Fundraiser

The first step to a creative fundraiser is coming up with a good plan. Follow these simple steps and you can’t go wrong:

Identify your Audience

Who are the people who are most likely to donate to your fundraiser? Maybe it is your family and friends or maybe it is simply people who are sympathetic to your cause. Once you identify who your donor demographic is  and their preferences, you can tailor your fundraising ideas to their interests. For example, if you are fundraising for a social justice project, you could create t-shirts with slogans relating to your cause that people can wear after they have donated to show that they supported the cause.

Setting Goals and Objectives

Defining clear and achievable fundraising goals is imperative when it comes to fundraising and is a great way to keep momentum going. Establish your metrics for success, how much do you want to raise? How many people do you want to reach with your fundraiser? If you are fundraising to buy something for example school supplies, how much do you need to raise to buy 100 books? You can then use these metrics to update people on how your fundraising is going. You can post about meeting the half way mark and tell your donor what their donation means and how it has helped your cause.

Budgeting and Resource Allocation

Estimating costs and necessary resources will set your fundraiser up for success. Set yourself a reasonable budget that you will be able to cover with your fundraising efforts. Partnering with local businesses and volunteers for support is a good idea as many places will offer help for free if it means that you bring in some extra business for them. For example if you host an event in a bar, you can ask if you can use their space for free in return for people buying drinks at their venue.

Marketing and Promotion

Marketing can be an integral part of your fundraisers success and the best part is that it is relatively easy and cheap to do. You can use social media channels to spread the word about your fundraiser and encourage your networks to do the same. Don’t forget to create an email campaign as well, this can include emailing your network about your fundraiser when you launch it and can also include update emails to let them know about any fundraising activities you are working on. Make sure you don’t over do the emails though as people don’t like to be bombarded. Finally, local media is a great way to let people know about your fundraiser. You can take out an ad in the paper, or better still, ask a journalist if they would be interested in interviewing you about your fundraiser.

Creating engaging promotional materials (flyers, videos)

If you have an artistic flair or know someone who does, ask them to help you create the promotional materials for your fundraiser. A striking poster is a good way to capture someone’s attention. You could also create a video to tell the story behind your fundraiser and let people know why your cause is so important.

Creative Event Ideas

Art and Craft Events

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 sale 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 fundraiser page. Show people how much their purchases and donations can help.

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 fundraiser.

 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 fundraiser. Ask guests to make a donation to your fundraiser 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 fundraiser page and social media to inspire them to give.

Craft Fair

A craft fair is an excellent way to support local crafters and artisans while raising funds for your cause. By organizing a market where these talented individuals can showcase and sell their handmade goods, you create a fun community event for locals to enjoy. Charging a fee for booth space not only helps cover event costs but also contributes to your fundraising goals. Be sure to promote the craft fair widely through social media, local media outlets, and community bulletin boards to  ensure a high turnout.

Seasonal and Holiday Events

Holiday Wreath Sales

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

  • 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 supply the demand.
  • Create a delivery process and make sure to schedule out your deliveries.

Seasonal Plant or Flower Sales

Teaming up with nurseries for seasonal plant or flower sales, particularly during spring or the holiday season, is a fun and festive way to encourage donations. The first step is to identify a reputable local nursery and negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement with them. This could be splitting the money you make so they get 50% and 50% goes to your fundraiser. You can plan successful sales events featuring a diverse range of popular and unique plants. Make sure to have special offers and exclusive early-bird specials for pre-purchase customers, as this can increase interest in your sale. You can also offer online pre-purchase with pick-up or delivery options which can be a convenient choice for people who are busy during the holiday season.

Holiday Market

Staying on the festive theme, consider hosting a market with various holiday-themed items. These could include crafts, baked goods, and decorations. Ask your school or local church if you can use their space and invite artists and other community members to host a stall. Let people know the market is happening by posting on social media and posting leaflets in the local area.

Community and Family Events

Organizing community and family events can significantly enhance local engagement and provide enjoyable experiences for all ages. Here are three ideas:

Makers Market

Organize a Makers Market for local crafters and artisans to showcase and sell their handmade products. Charge a reasonable fee for booth space to cover event costs and promote the market widely through social media, local advertising, and community newsletters. This event not only supports local businesses but also offers a fun shopping experience for attendees.

 Parent’s Night Out

Offer a Parent’s Night Out service, providing babysitting for children while parents enjoy an evening out. Ensure a safe and fun environment with engaging activities and delicious food for the kids. By promoting this event through local schools, community centers, and online platforms, parents can have a worry-free night out, knowing their children are in good hands and having a great time.

Community Picnic

Host a community picnic with various games and activities for families to enjoy together. Sell tickets to cover expenses and offer a selection of food and drinks for purchase. Organize fun activities such as sack races, face painting, and scavenger hunts to entertain all ages. Promote the event through flyers, social media, and local organizations to ensure a well-attended.

Creative Product Ideas

Custom Merchandise Sales

Who doesn’t love a bit of merchandise? Creating and selling creative products can engage your community and generate revenue. Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling.

Limited Edition Spirit Wear

Create themed merchandise for holidays or special events, such as school spirit weeks or community festivals. You can design unique items like hoodies, hats, or mugs that capture the spirit of the occasion and relate to your cause. The key thing to remember is to promote the exclusivity and urgency of these limited-edition items through social media, newsletters, and local advertising to encourage quick purchases.

Recipe Books

Creating a recipe book can be a really special way to get to know your community. Collect favorite recipes from people you know and others in your community, ask for people to provide local specialties dishes and family recipes. Design a professionally printed recipe book, featuring photos and stories behind the recipes. Ask if you can sell the book at community events, schools, online, and through local businesses.

Custom T-Shirts

Creating a customized t-shirt for your fundraiser is a great way to increase donations and also raise awareness for your cause . You can also offer personalization options like adding names, slogans, or custom graphics. There are so many online platforms for easy customization and ordering, make sure you do your research to find the one with the most competitive prices. You can promote the t-shirts through fundraiser-related communications such as social media and emails to boost engagement and support.

Eco-Friendly Products

While you are fundraising, why not help the environment at the same time? You can sell eco-friendly items such as reusable bags, water bottles, bamboo utensils, and organic cotton tote bags and use the profits to boost your fundraiser. Highlight the environmental benefits of these products, such as reducing plastic waste and promoting sustainability. Use environmentally conscious packaging and marketing materials to appeal to eco-aware customers.

Online Craft Sales

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.
  • Sell digital downloads of artwork, offering personalized or customizable options to cater to individual tastes and preferences.
  • Create monthly subscription boxes with themed items, offering them as a way for supporters to regularly contribute to and engage with the cause.

Leveraging Technology and Online Platforms

Technology is your friend when it comes to fundraising so don’t be afraid to use it! Leveraging technology and online platforms can significantly enhance fundraising efforts and community engagement. Let’s break it down:

Crowdfunding Campaigns

A crowdfunding page can help you collect funds easily and quickly. You can use sites such as GoFundMe to create a moving fundraising page. When putting together your page the most important thing is to connect with your audience, remember to include key parts of your story and make it personal. You can also include pictures and videos to bring your story to life.

Social Media Fundraising

Social media is a great way to further amplify your fundraiser. Initiate viral challenges or video contests to generate excitement and encourage supporters to share and promote the campaign on their social media networks, amplifying reach and impact. The most important thing is to ask your donors to share your fundraiser on their own social media channels.

Virtual Events

Online Auctions: Host live-streamed auctions for donated items, promoting the items through various online channels and facilitating bids in real-time.

Virtual Workshops: Offer online classes or tutorials in exchange for donations, providing valuable content while supporting the cause.

Virtual Concerts: Partner with local musicians to host a virtual concert, selling virtual tickets and promoting the event through social media and local online communities.

Maximizing Participation and Donations

Once you have set up your fundraiser, it is important to maximize the number of people donating to your fundraiser. There are so many ways to do this that go beyond your initial friends and family.

Partnering with Companies

Collaborate with companies to set up matching donation programs. This is a great way for companies to give back and also doubles the impact of individual donations and encourages people to give larger sums of money.

Securing Sponsorships

Ask a local business to sponsor your fundraiser. They could help by providing merch for you to offer as a prize in a raffle or they could sponsor a particular fundraising event you are organizing. If you do manage to secure a sponsor be sure to shout them out and promote them in exchange for their support.

Engaging Storytelling

Everyone has a story to tell and people want to hear it. When writing your fundraiser story, think to yourself, what makes this fundraiser special? Be sure to include personal details and reasons why your cause is so special to you.

Build relationships

Share compelling success stories and testimonials to highlight the positive impact of donations, creating an emotional connection with donors.

Regular Updates

Keep donors informed with regular updates on progress and the tangible effects of their contributions through newsletters, social media, and personalized communications to maintain engagement and trust.

Post-Event Follow-Up

Effective post-event follow-up is crucial for maintaining donor relationships and improving future fundraisers. Here are some important points to keep in mind:

Thanking Donors and Participants

Personalized thank you notes are a great way to express gratitude and let people know how much their contribution meant to you. You can also post updates, showing appreciation for your donors’ support and participation. If you receive a particularly big donation, you can publicly acknowledge the major contributors through social media, newsletters, or at future events, to give them the recognition they deserve.

Sharing Results and Impact

Make sure you report back to donors the success you are having by providing a detailed report on the progress of your fundraiser, including total funds raised and key highlights such as events you host or milestones you meet. An important thing to remember is to clearly communicate how the raised funds will be used, showcasing the impact on the community or cause to reinforce the value of their contributions.

Planning for Future Fundraisers

So, now that one fundraiser has been a roaring success, it is important to think about the future in case you ever want to fundraise again.

Collect feedback from participants and donors to understand their experiences and gather suggestions for improvement. Analyze the feedback to identify areas for improvement and brainstorm new ideas to enhance future fundraising efforts ensuring continuous growth and better engagement.