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September 15, 2008

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Just last night, my wife and I went to a nice dinner/dance/fundraiser to benefit the building of a dormitory at an orphanage in Nicaragau. We even had a swing band (1940s style). It was an awesome time and we loved writing a big check to support a great cause like that. We also got t-shirts to take home, promoting the orphanage (conversation starters).

Entertainment Book sales. I'm not sure the commission the seller retains. But from the buyer's end, they represent a good value while helping out local groups.

I'm interested in seeing what other people post. My husband has done two overseas mission trips and is getting ready for this third. This one costs more than the prior two together. We've always sent out letters (LOTS of letters) for support. I've been amazed and blessed by the donations. Twice now we have received our largest donations from people that we never dreamed would be able to give even $10. One thing I've learned is to ask everyone, even those you think won't be able to do anything.

Does anyone have suggestions for little kids (preschoolers?) We will begin raising funds for a missions project next month. I have the 3's & 4's. I'd love some fresh ideas.

Nice dinner or other date-worthy event. Best if you can relate it directly to what the group does.

Examples: my old Sea Scout group does "dinner and a cruise": a BBQ dinner on land, followed by a relatively short (1.5 hour or so) sail. The primary reason they need to do raise funds is to afford the yearly maintenance on their historical sailboat, so it's good to take advantage of the public's attraction to the ship itself.

A number of local museums hold concerts or fancy dinners at their facilities. Once again, this takes advantage of the resources they already have, and makes people feel like they are really getting something for their money.

I HATE the piddly "get $5 from each of your neighbors" type of fundraisers, whether it's a walk-a-thon or selling candy bars. You still have to put in a lot of effort, but the return is SO small.

Back many, many years ago when I was in high school we had lift-a-thons. Football players and people in the weight training class would take donations based on how much they could bench press. Kind of like a walk-a-thon but with weights.

a --

Nice idea, but I think I'd probably earn 50 cents with that fundraiser. ;-)

I have done letter drives and silent auctions. The silent auction was fun but a lot of work. The letter drive was fairly easy considering the amount of money we made.
One thing that didn't work was selling clothing. We had to buy uniforms and the larger the order the cheaper the per unit cost was. We thought we could buy more than we needed and sell through some of the organizations that supported us. It was a money losing deal in a big way. Way to much work keeping track of the inventory and way to much given away (to our supporters) to make a profit. Plus the up front expense tied up our money in a big way.

Car washes work great for a small fundraiser. They generally required very little planning and have very low costs.

As a Boy Scout I planted trees at the local power companies strip mining land. It was hard work but you get .35 cents a tree. If you worked really hard you could rake in over $100 a day. We generally did this in the fall and then in the spring to pay for summer camp.

The company I work for is toying with the idea of doing fundraisers by letting youth groups flier a neighborhood for us (yes with ads for our company) then paying our standard referral rate of $100 per referral to the youth. If they average the same as our employees who flier they would average anywhere from $100-800 for 8 hours of sticking fliers on doors.

A popular one among youth ministers is to sell "stock" in the youth ministry programs. Just put a value how how much each share is and then people can buy as much stock as they and can perks like a stockholders dinner that highlights what all the youth did that year.

Belgium Waffle breakfast was also a popular one. There is an organization that comes in and does it for you, you just provide the space, the volunteers, and drinks.

One of my fellow youth minister's churches does an annual pie auction. They buy pies from a local restaurant and then auction them off, the pies seriously go for like $30-$100+ at the auction. It's their biggest $$$ maker.

Another one from the days of high school - simple candy sales. Your organization can get boxes of descent quality candy (things like snickers bars etc.) on the cheap for fund raisers. Then sell them for a buck (probably a buck fifty in today's money). I contributed a lot to various causes in order to feed my skittles addiction.

Where I work now we currently have the 'shame you into contributing to the United Way' fund raiser. We also have the 'pushy parents forcing you to donate to whatever their kid's school is raising money for' fund raiser. Personally, I loathe and avoid both of these.

As a boy scout my parents (and my brothers and I) hating selling things like candy and that junk. To get better money with less time and less hassle, they went to a local college and the stadium allowed non-profits, etc to work the concession stand and get paid a certain amount per week during the home games. They eventually did this at a professional sports stadium as well. Althoguh it could be a lot of work for a couple of Saturdays, the money was significant enough to cover what needed to be covered without additional fund raising.

There are a number of restaurants who will tip out to your charity on a given evening. Granted, your cause won't be rolling in it but this can take anything from one phone call to a real concerted effort to get people to a certain establishment at a certain time. If you take the former, make even a small amount of money, you've made quite a bit relative to the time involved. You do this with all of the local establishments who have such programs once or twice a years and you have a reasonable amount of money with little effort.

The best fundraiser we did at our church was flamingo flocking with the high school youth group. You get together a bunch of those crazy looking pink flamingo yard ornaments. Then you hand out forms where people donate money to have someone else's yard "flocked". The people who had their yard flocked then had to pay to have the flamingos removed. (This way we got money on both ends!) They could then choose whose yard to flock next.

If someone really didn't want their yard flocked, they could purchase flamingo "insurance" for a set price ($40 or so) and were guaranteed to not have their yard flocked. (We had a lot of condo owners sign up for this!)

To make it even more exciting, we told the church that if they caught the high schoolers flocking their yard, they didn't have to pay the removal fee and we would remove them immediately. The high schoolers were quick though - I don't think they ever got caught (but they usually went after dark).

It was a blast doing the flocking. We raised thousands of dollars for the mission trip at the time. I would highly recommend it.

RLZ,
The flamingo flocking takes me back to my high school days. Except we did toilet paper or forks....HS students can be very stealth! That is awesome. I'll have to remember that when my kids are older.

The museum I work for holds an annual gala that tends to raise about $1 million for our education department (which is about half of our annual education budget.) Usually the gala is focused around something significant in aerospace. I think we've had astronauts, Tuskegee airmen, WWII bomber pilots, etc. as our guests of honor.

I was involved in organizing two successful fundraisers for our local public library this past year. One was a silent auction, which raised $12,000. The other, more innovative event, was sponsored by my bookclub. We had a Bobby Flay-style "Throw Down". Two of our members agreed to cook country-fried steak in competition with each other. We sent out invitations and our guests paid $100 a plate to come to dinner and be the judges. The rest of our bookclub members made side dishes, appetizers and desserts and, at the event served as waitstaff. The guests went through a buffet line to get their accompanying dishes and then were served two 1/2 portions of steak, each on a different colored plate. Each guest was given a score card with which to rate the steaks. We tallied the scores and announced a winner. We also gave out door prizes throughout the event and all the attendees had a great time. We raised over $10,000 with this event and it was a lot of fun.

I used to do a lot of fundraisers, and still do a few my top two are:

1. Golf Marathon - play one hundred holes of golf in a day and collect sponsors.

2. Frozen Pizza Sales - take pre-orders for frozen pizzas, arrange to have a pizza making day, sell the pizzas for people to freeze - be smart and sell them in packs of 5 or 10.

My fraternity had a "Lincoln for a Lincoln" fundraiser. We mailed all of our alumni a penny taped to a letter asking for them to return a $5 bill in its place (or they could write a check or send more of course). It worked really well and was one of our most successful.

When my children were still at school I used to do a lot of fundraising. Ome of the best was always the Bingo evening, very low overheads, very easy to organise. We would also sell burgers, drinks and chocolates.

I ALWAYS try to avoid raffles and anything that involves sponsorship -walkathon, spellathon...

Fundraiser 1
When I was in high school we duct taped the principal to the wall. You had to pay a dollar for a foot of tape and then you got to 'stick it to the man'. He put a disposable jump suit over his nice clothes, stood on a stool and was cocooned to the wall. At the end they pulled the stool out and left him to hang while they counted the money and presented it to the family. We were raising money for a girl in my class who'd been in a terrible car accident.

Perhaps not the biggest amount of money, but definitely the most fun. They raised about $1000 over the course of 5 lunch periods in a school with only 800 students (and that's grades 6-12 in one building). I'd say a little over half participated, but some people bought more than 1 foot. If you need more money, just do more people! If there's touchy-feely worries, you could always put baseball catcher pads on the subjects.

Fundraiser 2
In college we turned the student union into a mini-golf course. It was an annual event. Each hole was created and staffed by a club for the day. You paid $5/person to play and voted for your favorite hole at the end. The winning club got a very small prize, but major bragging rights.

Best Fundraiser I have researched is Children Abductions Safety Protection since all parents are totally unaware of dangers in their own neighborhoods, so once educated, a parent who would not register their children to protect them from abductions and sexual predators in their own neighborhoods.

Yes, with almost 4,000,000,000 registered sex offenders, and millions more who have not been caught yet, you can never be too safe. Child-Shield-USA.com is the premier child safety experts in the country since 1990. Are your children safe?

Find out the facts for FREE, watch the statistical video and then you decide if your children are really safe. Most parents thing their children are safe, so did those of abducted or missing children.

With volunteerism down due to recession and most families dual income, less time to help local non-profit organizations, Child-Shield-USA is the best answer I have found which involves no investment, no selling, just telling and sharing with parents. Statistics do the selling, just ask people to visit web site, it is that simple. They register for free which is first step to protection of their children, and then the automated information system takes over until full enrollment is secured.

Test the system for yourself, register for free and get educated about this severe problem of child abductions and children molestation and if nothing else, you will learn just how dangerous your neighborhoods could be. Check link to FBI sex offender search and enter your zip code to learn more. If you want to learn more, just ask.

Children-Abductions.com

This discovery has far reaching benefits and concerns. The benefits could come from military uniforms which could be worn on the battlefield allowing the soldier to move about virtually undetected by the enemy. I’ m sure there are soldiers in Iraq at the moment who would love to get their hands on an Invisibility Cloak or any other material that would reduce the ability of Iraqi insurgents to take aim at them.

My middle school always had a fundraiser called Pie for Life where over a period of a couple of weeks students would put money into a box with a teacher's name on it and the three teachers with the most money got a pie in the face on the last day before spring break.

Another thing my middle school did that always brought in money was during the school dances we had this really awesome teacher who let us duct tape him to the wall. They charged like a quarter for each piece of tape and we ended up using like 6-9 rolls of duct tape. We had so much tape on the teacher that it actually held him up on the wall. It was a blast.

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