One common issue that nonprofits share is the need to find new ways to raise funds to pay for their noble efforts. For small nonprofits without huge membership lists or deep endowments, there is a constant need to be innovative in this area. In this article, we will share some ideas for offbeat ways to raise money for your nonprofit organization.
Think for a minute about how many of your colleagues, members, friends, and family like to declare themselves as “foodies.” And then consider how many of them are competitive in finding and/or preparing unique meals. Your organization can use these characteristics to organize the ultimate foodie contest featuring dishes prepared by the foodies in your organization and membership. You can ask for a donation from those sampling the master culinary works and then do a secret ballot to determine the winners. If your organization is promoting health, sustainability, or environmental issues, you could direct the participants to tailor their offerings accordingly. For a more advanced event, your organization could also hold the event at a popular local restaurant and request the assistance of local restaurant critics.
Focus on Hair
Many people are proud and protective of the hair on their head as well as the hair they have carefully sculpted on their face. For this reason, think of the fun your organization could have asking people to shave off their hair or facial hair for a certain amount of time in exchange for donation pledges. This method would work well with organizations that want to show solidarity with people undergoing illness-related hair loss. Alternatively, you could have participants grow their hair out for a set amount of time with donations going up for each month of growth. Having male employees grow out their facial hair would be an effective way to draw attention to male-related issues.
One-of-a Kind Auction Items
Everyone loves an exciting auction where they can get quality items at bargain prices. Even better is when you can get one-of-a-kind items at bargain prices. Your organization can offer a creative auction by accessing your own employees’ talents as well as securing unique offerings from your organization’s network. For example, you could auction off private lessons for all types of hobbies and sports. A skilled photographer or videographer in your organization could donate their time for family or wedding videos/photographs in exchange for a generous donation. You might also feature behind-the-scenes or VIP tours of interesting venues in your community. Another idea would be to offer quality art, jewelry, and handicrafts created expressly for the high bidder.
Themed Party Night
The possibilities in this category are endless. It all depends on what themes you think would most interest members and potential future members and supporters of your organization. The beauty of this category is that you can decide to keep the same theme annually or change it up every year or periodically. The first year it could be a decades-themed party, while the next could be a sci-fi or movie-specific evening. People love dressing up, so make sure to feature fun prizes for the best costumes.
One easy addition to any party is a karaoke machine featuring songs from the decade or related to the theme. People will especially have a great time performing as their alter egos. In addition, you could offer a pet-centric theme or allow guests to bring their favorite animals to your event.
Showcase Small Donations
In order to attract more donors, your organization could offer people the chance to give up one daily meal or a beverage of their choice in exchange for donating the amount. In this way, the participants would only have to donate between $5-$20, and your nonprofit could highlight the power that even these small amounts will have in helping your efforts.
Your organization could encourage people to pledge these donations more than once as they saw fit during a suggested donation time frame of a month to a year. You could also get more value out of this effort by asking participants to brag about their activities on social media and by gently encouraging them to recruit people in their networks to participate in this worthwhile cause.
Who doesn’t like getting something nice delivered especially for them? Your organization can make someone’s day and raise some serious capital by providing special deliveries to people in your community for a generous donation. The basic idea is to use your organization’s employees and vehicles as a friendly delivery service that will spoil the recipients with food, sweets, flowers, or other nice treats. Donors can purchase the special deliveries for friends and family and include their own messages.
One idea is to offer breakfast-in-bed service, where your delivery people will bring trays and/or tablecloths to set up a nice breakfast either in bed or at the kitchen table to start the morning off right. Other meals could also be featured with the main point being attentive, friendly service by the delivery people.
Other recommended delivery items include flowers, chocolates, or something that is related to your organization’s mission.
One added twist would be for the delivery people to dress up in classic or funny costumes. Your employees could also provide a unique value by offering a singing message of goodwill or reciting a humorous joke or poem.
All of us at Network Depot hope that you will have success using some of these interesting fundraising ideas. In addition, we hope to inspire your organization to find new, useful ways to generate much needed funds for your nonprofit. We wish you the best in these efforts as you strive to achieve your organization’s unique mission.