1. College basketball
For college basketball fans, March means March Madness—the NCAA playoffs. It’s a great time to invite your supporters to enter a basketball bracket in exchange for a donation to your cause. For the tournament semifinals or finals, host a game-watching party. As two teams go head to head, make things more interesting by asking people to pledge donations each time a specific event happens in the game—a lead at the end of a quarter, a minimum point total for a particular player in a quarter, free-throw percentages, number of fouls, a certain player getting ejected, etc. This not only makes it a lot of fun to watch—it’s a slam-dunk for your fundraiser.
2. April Fool’s for good
Everyone’s wary of playing the fool on April 1. Use the day for good by hosting a prank-a-thon. Come up with a fun title such as Random Pranks of Kindness. Write up a list of sweet, compassionate, and funny “tricks”—for example, covering the target’s car with kind or silly notes, or filling a friend’s shoes or a coworker’s desk drawers with a pleasant surprise like flowers or candy. Once you have a list of nice pranks, circulate it among friends, family, and colleagues. Have people sign up for specific pranks on behalf of loved ones, and name their price. All money raised goes to your fundraiser, of course.
3. Easter egg treasure hunt
At a local park or in your own yard, host an Easter egg hunt to raise awareness of your cause and funds for your fundraiser. Add fun and festive activities—make a list of clues for people to figure out, then fill plastic eggs with sweet treats and riddles for where to look next. At your entrance table, have a sign-in sheet so people can opt in for updates and other communications about your cause. Have participants pay a small fee to enter the hunt, with proceeds going to your fundraiser. You can also take advantage of the perks of mobile giving—have a smartphone or tablet ready with your donation page on display, and accept direct donations on site.
4. Tree planting
This is a great option if your cause is related to climate change or environmental issues. Celebrate Arbor Day (April 27) by planting new flora around your neighborhood. In the weeks leading up to Arbor Day, ask for pledges from supporters. Get volunteers to join you as planters. You could also have volunteer planters secure pledges from friends and family. Accept donations of seedlings and other plantable items, ideally native plants. If you plant on private property, ask the owners for a donation to your cause in exchange for the plantings. If you plant on public property, such as in a park, be sure to get permission from local authorities. Make a festive day of it and have a mobile device on hand to collect donations from visitors to the park.
5. Garden party
Another great opportunity for environmental causes is Earth Day, April 22. It’s the perfect day for a party where everyone comes together to plant a garden. Pick a site, such as a communal area at a park or a neglected lot, and invite the neighborhood to make it beautiful. For a donation to your fundraiser, provide a plant, such as herbs, flowers, or shrubbery, and the supplies to get a garden growing. See Arbor Day above for related ideas.
6. National Volunteer Week
The last week in April is National Volunteer Week. Many organizations offer special volunteer events across the country, and you can do the same for your fundraiser. This is a great week to leverage the work of volunteers into a major fundraising win. One option: check with a local high school or college to see if you can coordinate an event where students volunteer in support of your cause. It could be as simple as a car wash, or something more elaborate. The event then becomes your fundraising opportunity.
7. Mother’s Day tea
If your cause is related to advancing the causes of women and children, Mother’s Day can be a great opportunity for a fundraising event. A tea time is a perfect option for spring. Set it up in an outdoor or indoor space with decorations, a variety of teas and treats, and a table where people can learn about your fundraiser and make a donation. Using a mobile device, you and attendees can quickly make donations.
8. Memorial Day barbecue
Memorial Day weekend is a great opportunity to host a community event. You might include outdoor games—ring toss, sack races, even a huge Jenga game. Serve food donated by local restaurants. Ask a live band to provide music (if your fundraiser supports schools, why not include the school band?). Events held on long holiday weekends are usually well attended. It might even be a good idea to host a golf tournament leading up to the barbecue. Create flyers with information about your fundraiser and leave them around town and at the park or venue where your event will happen. A large poster at a central location is also a great way to spread information—especially if the poster is something people want to take a picture of or with, to post online. Sell tickets prior to the event so you know how many people will be attending your fundraising event.