Top 8 Fundraising Ideas for Small Groups

Just because you have a small fundraising group doesn’t mean you can’t think big when it comes to your projects: by picking the right kind of schemes to suit your volunteers you can still pull off some wide-reaching campaigns even a limited amount of people power.

Small group of girls

There are plenty of benefits to having a small group, too: you can move around more easily, stay focused in one area or on one idea, and quickly pass communications around every member of the team.


1. Garage sale

Garage sales work well for small groups because you don’t need many volunteers to act as sellers: depending on the size of the sale just a couple might do. You can get rid of your own clutter and spend the weeks before the sale asking neighbors and members of the local community for donations too — they’ll probably be only too glad to shift some of their bric-a-brac, particular if they know it’s going towards a good cause.

Use flyers and posters to promote your garage sale and make sure all your visitors know where the proceeds are going. Read our full article on how to host a garage sale fundraiser.

2. Raffle prize draw

Raffles are simple to organize and don’t require a huge number of volunteers. You can pick up a roll of raffle tickets very cheaply, and then take it in turns to sell them around the local area, your school or your church. The buyer gets one half of the ticket, the other is dropped into a bucket, and on the day of the draw a winner is chosen.

For prizes, you could ask local businesses to donate items, or use the skills available in your group (a night’s babysitting, for example, or a free car wash). Read our full article on how to host a raffle fundraiser.

3. Penny war

A penny war is a great option for fundraising in schools and enables you to enlist the help of students (and their parents and teachers) so you have to do less of the hard work. Each class gets a jug into which pennies can be dropped: each penny counts as a vote towards the class. Every coin of a different denomination — nickels and dimes, for example — counts as a vote against.

At the end of the week, count up the coins and announce the winner. Depending on the size of the jugs, you can raise more than you might think.

4. Concession stand

Concession stands don’t need many volunteers to run successfully, and you can pitch up almost anywhere to sell refreshments and snacks. You could run a stand at your school’s next sporting occasion, for example, or at a local fair or market. If your church is putting on an event then you can make money from a concession stand without having to organize the whole day yourself.

5. Cookbook sale

This is another fundraiser that enlists the help of your friends, neighbors and the local community — collect recipes from as many sources as you can (most people will be only too happy to donate their ideas) and then sell the combined results as a professionally printed publication (check out the printing and copying facilities at your local church or school).

You can also include information about your fundraising campaign and how the money is being used in the book. Read our full article on holding a cookbook fundraiser.

6. Car wash

A car wash fundraiser gives you the flexibility to make it as large or as small as the number of volunteers allows. You can position yourself in a church or school car park or outside a local business; alternatively, you can go from door-to-door in the local neighborhood. The important point is not to take on more cars than your group can handle.

Advertise the car wash well in advance through the use of flyers and posters, and ask for donations rather than a set amount for each car — this gives people the flexibility to pay what they like, and can often result in more funds being raised. Read our full article on holding a car wash fundraiser.

7. Sponsored challenge

A sponsored challenge is another fundraising activity where your volunteers can work and raise funds separately, so it works equally well for smaller or larger groups. What activity you take on depends on the people doing the fundraising: you could do a sponsored run, cycle, silence, singalong or TV marathon.

The perfect activity would be something that’s fun to do and which other people can come and watch — in this way they’ll get some free entertainment in return for their donations.

8. Lollipops and candy

The advantage of lollipop and candy fundraisers is that each volunteer can work separately, so there’s no need for a huge team. Order the lollipops or candy that you’re looking to sell from an official fundraising supplier and you can then sell them on for a profit.

This is one of the best schemes for getting maximum returns for minimum effort — if you pick the right location and time of day you might find yourself overwhelmed with buyers. You can extend the idea to other snacks, like Krispy Kreme donuts, but make sure you’re clear about where the proceeds of the sale are going. Get more information about fundraising with lollipops.

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