Fundraising is the lifeblood of many smaller charities and nonprofit organizations. Realistically, they need funds to continue offering free and vital services in your community. But their operations are small, typically made up of a few paid employees and mainly volunteers. They may believe their fundraising efforts are limited.
Small charity groups help to build the community, keeping it safe and thriving even in times of despair. Take your local animal shelter, food bank, women’s shelter, or drop-in center—many simply can’t take on large fundraising efforts because they don’t have the revenue or volunteers.
If you run a small-scale, community-focused organization, you need simple fundraising ideas that will take a minimum of time and effort. But little time and money don’t always equate to small returns.
Even the quickest fundraising efforts can create a sizable return when they are unique and even valuable to the community.
Take our top 6 quick and easy fundraisers to heart.
1. Charity Dinners
Charity dinners and potluck events don’t have to be elaborate affairs. Good food and company will appeal to your larger community regardless of a black tie optional dress code. Serve up a quick and easy pancake breakfast, a spaghetti supper, a soup kitchen, or a hot dog derby.
If you mean to draw a large group of people, these easy fundraiser are simple to pull off with few up-front investments or volunteers. Just reach out to your local chain grocer or restaurant, and offer free publicity in exchange for donated food.
2. Themed Dinners
Expanding on the charity dinner idea, why not host a specialty themed dinner? Think a Mexican fiesta where guests can pay to make their own taco or a Mr. Potato Head contest where competitors pay for a potato and all the fixings. The winner dresses the best looking spud, so be sure to have a prize on hand.
3. Garage and Yard Sales
Garage and yard fundraising sales are easy to pull off in the spring and summer months because people are itching to do some spring cleaning around the house and yard.
At the same time, new students are looking to furnish their apartments for school in the fall with hand-me-down items. Take advantage of this and ask volunteers to donate unwanted items in fairly good condition. If they don’t have items to donate, they can still lend a hand running the sale.
4. Silent Auctions
In the same sales genre, host a silent auction fundraiser. Put out a call to local merchants for donated items that can be auctioned off.
If the items are donated, you will take home the final selling price of each item! Just be sure to advertise where the items came from. Merchants will offer up goods for free publicity.
5. Bake Sales / Food Fundraisers
Homemade food fundraisers such as bake sales, candy grams, cookie exchanges, and so on, are easy to organize with the help of a few budding bakers. But when you add a theme, fundraising magic happens.
Assemble a few volunteers to bake themed cookies (try hearts for Valentines Day, holiday trees for Christmas, pumpkins for Halloween, bunnies for Easter) and sell them at work or at school for a set fee.
6. Holiday Help
Holidays are a great time for quick and easy fundraisers because folks are busy. Merchants are also more willing to donate prizes in the spirit of giving, and for free advertising opportunities as well. Take advantage of the holiday spirit by offering services that will aid the busy mom or dad.
For instance, Christmas is a great holiday to start with because you can organize gift wrapping services, babysitting services, and even personal shopping services. However, there are a lot more fundraising efforts that can be tied to several holidays:
- Candy grams for Valentine's Day
- Easter basket arrangements for Easter
- Adult-supervised Easter egg hunts
- Adult-supervised Halloween parties or trick or treat outings
- Safely packed trick-or-treat sacks for Halloween
- Valentine’s day movie nights
- Pumpkin carving events
- Christmas cookie exchanges
- Valentine chocolate gift boxes
- Thanksgiving centerpiece arrangement auctions
- Pre-stuffed stockings