Winter Fundraisers Series: How to Host a Penny Wars Fundraiser

Penny Wars Fundraiser

Penny wars are a fantastic way to get people to donate to your cause. Curious?  Read on!

What is a Penny War?

Penny war fundraisers are a style of fundraising where different teams, groups, or etc. compete to see who can raise the most money.

This is how it works:

Setup

Get a bucket or empty water cooler. You’ll need one container for each team. Design a sign or other kind of artwork that clearly shows which bucket belongs to which team.

Place these containers in a central location that’s relevant to your fundraiser. So, if you’re raising money for a school, display your penny war buckets in a hallway with high traffic. Fundraising in an office? Position your penny war buckets in your break room.

Start the War!

Now, it’s time for the war of dollars and cents! Participants in a penny war donate change to their team’s bucket. Whichever team collects the most change in their bucket during your fundraising period is the winner!

Prizes

Penny wars can have prizes, but they don’t need to. Usually the people donating to the cause will also benefit from the funds raised. However, if you want to incentivize your donors with a small “winner’s reward,” that could generate more interest in your penny war fundraiser.

How To Host a Penny Wars Fundraiser

All you need for a penny war fundraiser is buckets (or some type of receptacle), a place to keep them and two or more competing teams. Here’s a few ideas for the types of teams and groups that can benefit from penny wars:

High School Penny Wars: Freshman Vs Sophomores Vs Juniors Vs Seniors

Encourage the different graduating classes to compete in a penny war. Use the funds raised to produce school-wide benefits.

Sports Teams: Varsity Vs Junior Varsity – OR – Sport Vs Sport

If it’s two divisions of the same team, the money raised can directly benefit that sports team. If you run your penny war against competing sports, try doing it during the same season.

Penny Wars for Adults: Millennials Vs Generation X – OR – Pirates Vs Ninjas

If you’re fundraising audience is a group of adults, you can still have a penny war. If you don’t have different “teams” just choose two fun groups or ideas that people can donate to. The first example separate competitors with the year they were born. The second is silly and cosplay friendly – what are you, a pirate or a ninja!?

A Fun Variation For Your Penny War

Want to step up your penny war competition? Put meaning on the literal pennies with this fun variation:

Teams are encouraged to put pennies in their own team’s bucket. Each penny is worth a point. The team with the most points at the end of the fundraiser wins.

Each team is also encouraged to donate other forms of currency in the opposing team’s bucket(s). Each piece of non-penny currency is results in 1 point getting subtracted from that team’s total points.

For example, Team A has 1500 pennies in their bucket, but they also have $250 in other currency (nickels, dimes, quarters and various dollars.) As a result, their penny war points are 1250.

This version of a penny war can bring extra profits because it encourages higher denomination donations and creates more competition for the participants.

Increase Profits with a Penny War Party

Throw a fundraising event and include a Penny War as one of the activities.  For example, if you have a buffet dinner fundraiser, have two team buckets at the beginning and/or end of each line.  Before people begin going through the line, divide them into teams and let the donations begin!

 

Winter Fundraiser Series: Flowery Fundraiser in February

How to Do a Flowery February Fundraiser

If you are looking for a fundraiser to do during the winter months, February is a great month for which to plan. Valentine’s Day is a holiday when gifts are given, so it is a perfect time for a fundraiser.  People love giving and receiving candy and flowers, so why not have a fundraiser that supplies them?

Start Early

While this fundraiser is fairly simple, it is date sensitive so start planning early.  Because you will be delivering the flowers on a particular day, the florist will have a deadline for the order so they can deliver your flowers to your group on time.  You need time to take and collect orders.  You also need time to plan.  Therefore, pull your fundraising team together in plenty of time to get everything planned.

Planning

Planning a flower fundraiser is easy. Start by assembling your fundraising leadership team.  The team doesn’t have to do all the work. They help plan and make sure that all the work gets done.

Determine the Type of Flowers to Sell

Easy Alternative to Live Flowers

Chocolate flowers are usually chocolate lollipops shaped like flowers. This is a fundraiser that is especially good for elementary schools.  It’s simple.  Purchase the lollipops and then sell them.  Companies like The Goodies Factory offer a wide selection.

The first step is to determine which type of flowers you might want to sell — live or otherwise. For this article, we are going to focus on live flowers.

Research which type of live flowers you would like and where you will get them. Get in contact with your supplier to find out when you need to place your order so that you receive them on or around February 14th.

You also need to determine if you want to sell individual flowers or arrangements.  This can be determined by profit made per sale as well as by simplicity. It is much easier to sell and deliver individual roses for Valentine’s Day than to deliver whole arrangements.

Finally, plan for prizes to help motivate sellers.  The amount spent on prizes should be a very SMALL percentage of the profit.  Don’t be afraid to go to local businesses and ask for donations to use as prizes.  You’d be surprised at how motivating a free pizza or hamburger can be.  Offer a large prize for the top 1-3 sellers.  If possible, offer a small prize to anyone who meets a certain sales target.  For example, it could be a $5 Starbucks gift card for anyone who sells 30 roses.

Organize Your Group

Once you know your product and deadline, recruit and organize participants to do the selling.  How you organize depends on the size of your group. Smaller groups can simply distribute order forms to your participants and have them take orders.

Larger groups will need to break your sellers into smaller groups with each group having a leader.  Some organizations naturally break into groups such as schools. Each classroom becomes a group with the teacher as a leader.  Group leaders are responsible to distribute and collect order forms from the participants.

Promotion and Sales

Get the word out!  Make up the fliers and distribute to friends and family. Use social media to your advantage. Send out invites to order your fundraiser flowers. Take orders as they come in and do not be afraid to follow up with people you have contacted but have not yet placed their order or said they would rather not.

Collect the Orders

Depending on the size of the group, you may want to give 2-3 days for participants to turn in their orders.  However, set a specific date and time by which all orders need to be turned in.  Be sure to emphasize this deadline to participants and group leaders.

Distribution

Some groups, especially larger ones, set a date and time during which customers can come pick up their orders.  Others prefer to deliver which is more personal and shows a bit more customer service.

If you are selling individual roses, it is easy enough to have a list of all participants and have them come and pick up the number of roses they need to deliver to their customers.

If you are selling arrangements, hopefully the florist sorts the orders.  If the florist does not sort orders, you will need to have a team to sort the various flower orders for distribution to individual customers.

If you have a smaller group, simply give the flowers to the participants and let them deliver them.  For larger groups, distribute the orders to the group leaders who, in turn, give the orders to individual participants.  The participants can then deliver the orders.

Throw a Prize Party

The goal of the party is to create a final fun memory associated with the this fundraiser so that your group is motivated for the next one.

Most groups need to fundraise more than one time per year.  Therefore, it is important to keep your group energized and motivated.  Once the fundraiser is done, throw a party for the participants.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  Just make sure it’s fun.  While at the party, award the top sellers in front of the group and then make a big deal out of distributing the smaller prizes as well.

 

Winter Fundraisers Series: Bowling Fundraiser

Bowling Fundraiser

Fundraising is often done through outdoor events.  Races and golf tournaments raise money for worthy causes.  However, as the cold months roll in, warm clothes and coats get brought out.  During these chilly times, event fundraisers still need to go on.  What can you do for a fundraising event in the winter?

That’s the focus of our Winter Fundraiser Series — fundraisers that can be done in chillier climates.  One event fundraiser you might not have considered is bowling!

Bowling has Wide Appeal

During the cold, winter months, bowling is a great sport to keep people active, and it is comfortable and fun for all ages. The entire family can participate in a bowling night fundraising activity.

It also appeals to athletes and those with a competitive spirit regardless of their ability level.  Bowling provides the friendly competition that they love with bragging rights for the winner.

Done correctly, a bowling fundraiser becomes a great way for everyone to have fun and feel like a winner while raising the necessary funds for your group!

Preparation for the Bowling Fundraiser Event

Organizing a bowling fundraiser is much easier than it may seem.  It doesn’t matter whether your group is large or small.  You simply plan for the number of bowling lanes that you need.

Prepare the Bowling Alley

Contact your local bowling alley and get the rates and available times for your tournament. Many bowling alleys offer hourly rates as well as per game rates.  If your group is large enough, they may offer group discounts based on the number of lanes needed.

Also, ask the bowling alley if they have a room that you can use for a few minutes for the awards ceremony at the end of the event.

Once you have completed your participant registration (see below), be sure to call and reserve the lanes you need.

Set the Registration Price & Prizes for the Winners

Determine the Prizes Offered

Prizes are important.  They are great motivators.  If participants have fun, they will want to do this again, so be sure to have lots of winners.  That is easily done by having many different categories for the prizes.  For example:

  • Highest individual score & highest team score
  • Lowest individual score & lowest team score
  • Most individual gutter balls & most team gutter balls
  • Funniest bowling style / Best professional bowler style
  • Most individual strikes (or spares) / Most team strikes (or spares)
  • Most encouraging person to others
  • Best non-offensive trash talker

Choose what you will offer as a prize for each category.  You might consider bags of candy, inexpensive trophies, homemade trophies, baked prizes, etc.  Get the idea?  The event is meant to be fun, so have fun prizes.  They don’t have to be costly.  Just make sure they don’t look “cheap.”

Be sure to ask individuals as well as local businesses for donations as prizes.  A free pizza from the local restaurant or a free coffee from the local Starbucks makes a great prize.  You can even ask the bowling alley if they will give coupons for free games to use as prizes.  Be inventive.  The less you have in prize cost, the more potential you have for greater profit.

Bowling Prizes
This is a picture a group took of their bowling prizes and sent to TFN. The person in charge of prizes collected old plaques that people were going to throw away. He designed the front of them on his computer and printed them on cardstock. He then pasted the cardstock to the front of the plaque.

Set the Registration Price

Estimate how many people you expect to sign up.  Figure an approximate cost for the prizes and the bowling lanes.  Determine the amount of money that you want to raise from this event.  Now figure out your registration price.

Number of Registrants * Registration Fee = Total Income

Total Income – Bowling Expenses – Prize Cost = Fundraiser Profit

Example for a Small Bowling Group:

Partipants expected:  25 (5 lanes with 5 bowlers each)

Fundraising Goal:  $200
Bowling Alley:  $16 per lane per hour * 5 lanes needed = $80/hour
Prizes:  $50

If you plan to bowl for 2 hours, here’s how it works out.

$160 (alley) + $50 (prizes) = $210 total cost

$200 (goal) + $210 (cost) = $410 minimum amount of money needed to be made

$410 / 25 participants = $17 per bowler for registration fee.

$17 * 25 bowlers = $420 revenue

$425 revenue – $210 cost = $215 profit
(or increase your profit by $75 if you charge a $20 registration fee)

Example for a Large Bowling Group:

Partipants expected:  75 (15 lanes with 5 bowlers each)

Fundraising Goal:  $1000
Bowling Alley:  $16 per lane per hour * 15 lanes = $240/hour
Prizes:  $150

If you plan to bowl for 2 hours, here’s how it works out.

$480 (alley) + $150 (prizes) = $630 total cost

$1000 (goal) + $630 (cost) = $1630 minimum amount of money needed to be made

$1630 / 75 participants = $22 per bowler for registration fee.

$22 * 75 bowlers = $1650 revenue

$1650 revenue – $630 cost = $1020 profit

Start Promoting 4-6 Weeks Before the Event

Set a sign-up deadline and then start promoting.  Whatever you do, make sure that each announcement sounds fun and inviting.

Online Promotions. Send out invitations via email and on social media.  Set up your event on Facebook.  You might also promote it on your web site if you have one.  In each of these cases, include a link to a registration form.

Group Meetings.  If you have group meetings, be sure to announce the bowling fundraiser at each meeting in the 4-6 weeks prior to the event. Have a sign-up sheet at the meeting and let people know where it is.

Register Your Participants & Reserve Your Lanes

Getting your participant count is very important.  Based on the headcount, you will know whether you need to reserve an entire bowling alley or just a few lanes.  You will also know which costs less: reserving the bowling alley per lane or per game.  (The lower the cost, the greater the profits.)

Encourage people to sign up in teams of 5.  (Most lanes will hold 5 bowlers.) Have them choose their own team name.

About 7-14 days before the event, do a final push for sign-ups with a final registration deadline.  Get your final participant count and reserve your lanes at the bowling alley.

Have the Event

 

On the day of the event, everyone shows up at the bowling alley and has lots of fun.  Later, you will need lots of pictures with people having fun.  (See below.)  When you are shooting the pics, include participants bowling, smiling and enjoying themselves.

Here are tips to make coordinating the prizes easier.

– Be sure to have judges (preferably people who are not bowling) who record individual and team scores as the bowling is happening.  Each judge should be able to cover two lanes (since the lanes are side by side).

– If you are bowling by the hour, let everyone know how many games will  count towards prizes.  For example, if you are bowling 2 hours, some teams might be focused and bowl 4 games while others may only bowl 2.  Tell everyone that they can bowl as many games as possible in the 2 hours, but that only the first 2 games (or however many games you choose) will count toward prizes.

– Have a designated “Scoremaster” to whom all the judges turn in the winners in each of the categories for the lanes they were watching.  The judges list should also include the actual scores.

Have the Awards Ceremony

Once the bowling is finished, quickly gather everyone into the side room.  (See “Prepare the Bowling Alley” above.)  The Scoremaster should quickly tally all the results to determine the winners in each category.  In as fun a way as possible, announce each winner and give them their award.

After the Event

Go through your pictures and choose a large number of the best ones.  Post them to your web site or social media.  Be sure to include a list of the winners and say something about how much fun it was.

And remember:  If you do this event well, you might have created an annual fundraising event for your organization. The more fun people have and the more enjoyable memories they create, the better chance they will want to do it again next year!

How to Raise Money with an Ugly Sweater Party

How to Raise Money with an Ugly Sweater Party

Ugly sweater parties are a fun, hip way to raise money. Today, we’ll tell you how to use an ugly sweater party as your next fundraiser. Just follow these simple steps.

1. Source Some Ugly Sweaters

The first thing you’ll need are some ugly sweaters. Start by clearing out your own closet. Next, ask friends to donate unwanted sweaters to your cause. Finally, take a trip to you local thrift shop. Your goal is to spend as little money as possible.

Yes, some people will have their own sweaters to wear. But you’ll want to provide sweaters to the volunteers helping you with your fundraiser. Also, your ugly sweaters are going to be the first item you use to make money!

At your party, you can invite guests to wear their own ugly sweater, or you can give them one in exchange for a donation. It’s like charging an entry fee to your party, where each guest covers the cost of admission with a donation, and gets an ugly sweater in exchange.

2. Plan the Party

Like every type of party, there are common logistics you need to take into account. Here’s a few to get you started:

Guest List. How many people are you inviting? How many do you expect to attend? How are you inviting them?

Venue. Are you renting a hall or event space for your ugly sweater party? Or can you host the fundraiser at someone’s house?

Food & Drink. What food will you serve? Will this be included in the cost of entry? Will you be serving alcohol?

Making Money At The Party. What other items or services can you monetize at your fundraiser? Will you have a 50/50? Raffle off any prizes? Or are you just taking direct “sweater donations?”

3. Promote Your Ugly Sweater Party Fundraiser

Get the word out! Tell people all about your party and why you’re having it. Don’t just promote the ugly sweaters. Use this opportunity to let everyone know about your fundraiser’s cause.

Word-of-mouth is the most effective way to get people interested in your cause and event. Invite everyone in your personal network. If you’re running a public event, consider using social media to promote the event.

Don’t forget to let people know that when they donate to your fundraiser, you will provide them with an ugly sweater at the party!

4. Have an Awesome Ugly Sweater Party!

Do everything you can to prepare for the party… and then have a great time!

Make sure you have plenty of ugly sweaters to trade for donations. Have some kind of live entertainment for people to enjoy – even if it’s just music and room to dance.

Take lots of pictures and interact with all your guests. If they have a good time, you have a better chance at getting more donations!

5. Thank Everyone Who Came & Share The Memories

After the party is over, reach out to everyone who came. Thank them for attending your party and supporting your fundraiser.

Share the photos you took during the event with guests. Post the pics on your fundraising website or social media. Show everyone how much fun was had at your ugly sweater party!

New Year’s “Game Day” Fundraiser

New Years Game Day Fundraiser

When family and friends get together, there is often a fundraising opportunity that presents itself. Close friends and family are perfect prospects when it comes to raising funds. Everybody likes to help a good cause, especially when they care for the person that is presenting the opportunity. Loved ones are there to support one-another.

New Years is one of those perfect times to present a fundraiser. You may often overlook the men in the family when it comes to fundraising, but this fun way to raise money will have everyone all in — even the men!

The idea is centered around football.

The big game is just as much a part of New Years Day as pumpkin pie is to Thanksgiving. Everybody will have fun with this particular game.

The Fundraiser

The idea is that everybody involved picks a team during the game. Whenever the “other” team scores one or more points against “your” team, you put a contribution of a quarter or more (perhaps even a dollar) in your collection jar (details below). Everybody is bound to get into this one, as it makes for friendly competition that contributes to a great cause.

This game not only brings more fun to New Years, but it is easy to perform. The plan-ahead preparation is even easier than most fundraisers. You do not need much to add this to your holiday.

The Set Up

Getting Organized

It is best to start planning and collecting the materials needed as soon as possible. You will need a set of collection jars (or other containers) to hand out and retrieve. Plan your collection method prior to making your announcements. It is best to have everything in order prior to presenting the fundraiser.

Make a list of the participants. Think of as many people as you can. The fundraiser does not need to be limited to your household. Invite neighbors, teachers, friends, family and, if you make it online too, even people you know across the country to participate in this online version that will contribute to your fundraiser.

Set Up Your Donations Method

There are two primary methods used to collect the funds afterward.

Collect the Money in Person

In the past, this has been the most common way to collect the money.  Designate one to two people to collect the funds.  Plan for the collection.  If you are collecting the actual funds, make it as convenient as possible.  Though you could have participants “bring in” the money, you might consider offering to pick the jars up.

Online Collection

With the internet, you literally can make this fundraiser nationwide.  Therefore, you need a way to collect the funds nationwide.  First, you need to set up a donations page.  HelpaFund has been working with all sorts of groups doing just that.  Click here and set up your donations page with them.

Instruct all your participants that once the fundraiser is completed, they should count the money in their donation jar and then use your donations page to send in the money.

HelpaFund keeps a very small percentage, but it’s worth it.  They take the headache out of collecting funds, they allow you to collect funds nationwide, and they provide many other benefits.  Check out our two other articles for more information.

Promoting Your Fundraiser

Promoting the fundraiser will be simple, especially using social media. Create an event on Facebook that has all the details, then get the word out.

  • Schedule one or more Facebook live sessions to present the idea.
  • Tweet a picture about the event with a link to your Facebook event page.
  • Have a group meeting where you present the fundraiser.
  • Present this idea face to face with whomever you think would benefit from that interaction.
  • If you have a place where people frequent (such as a school or church), put up flyers.
  • Send out letters and/or emails. Emails are very good when you are collecting online donations (see above).

Doing Your Fundraiser on New Years Day

If you are Doing the Fundraiser Online

Game watchers who are doing the fundraiser online do not necessarily need  a jar.  As their team is scored against, they can either write IOU’s that they drop in a hat or jar, or they can simply write down their donations on a piece of paper during the game.  At the end of the game, donations are totaled and made online on the donations page.

Build Excitement on Game Day

Use your Facebook event page to get your participants to tell you which games they are watching.  Post the game scores.  Get your participants commenting and posting pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Get people interacting about the games and the amounts donated.

Collect Your Donations

Think of the  best way to collect the donations after the event for your group or organization.  After the fundraiser is done, either the participants bring all the money collected to the collector(s) or the collector(s) visit each participant and get the jars.

For online donations

As discussed above, if you are using online donations, collections are easy and convenient for everyone.  You should have already instructed people how to make the donations.  After the fundraiser, your designated collector simply needs to be available to answer questions in case any donators need help.

 

Fundraising can be enjoyable. This holiday and sports event will greatly benefit your efforts, while providing family fun. Enjoy your New Years!

 

How to Use Crowdfunding for Your Next Fundraiser

How to Use Crowdfunding for Your Next Fundraiser

Crowdfunding can be a great way to bring together you donor network and surround them around your cause. Today, we’ll show you how to use crowdfunding for your next fundraiser.

Here’s three steps every cause can follow to successfully crowdfund a campaign:

1. Choose The Right Crowdfunding Platform

Before you can launch your campaign, you need a platform to host the fundraiser.

Crowdfunding with Expertise in Fundraising

If you are looking for a platform that has experience in the fundraising industry with both large and small groups, HelpaFund is a great platform.  It was developed by a gentleman with years of working with fundraising groups and individuals.  They provide all sorts of helps to aid you in your crowdfunding fundraiser.

  • Audio tips for your campaign set-up stages
  • Provide music on campaigns if you want it
  • Provide Entertainment discount cards for rewards (see details on their web site)
  • They even let you create your own rewards.
  • They have share tools.  All crowdfunding uses Facebook of course, but not everyone has a Facebook account. You can also share on Instagram (younger people use that over Facebook) and a Text tool that can be done from a smartphone. (About 98% of people read their text messages, so this is an extremely effective tool.)
  • They even help your crowdfunding campaign get found in search engines.

Product Development or Creative Fundraising

If you have a product that you want to get off the ground, then Kickstarter might be right for you.  People can pledge money to your cause through their site. Your project only funds if you meet or exceed your fundraising goal. If your project is successful, Kickstarter takes a 5% fee of the money raised – and there is a 3-5% payment processing fee. Keep in mind, Kickstarter can only be used for “creative projects.” For more information check out the Kickstarter FAQ and their Creator Handbook.

General Crowdfunding Service

If you are just looking for a general crowdfunding service, GoFundMe offers fundraising services for all causes. Set your crowdfunding goal and you get every donation your campaign raises. The type of campaign you run determines the fee GoFundMe.com attaches to your fundraiser.

2. Make Sure to Provide Compelling Information on Your Crowdfunding Page

This is your opportunity to let donors know who you are, how much money you need and what you’ll use it for.  The old saying, “A Picture Paints a Thousand Words,” is true.  Be sure to provide pictures along with compelling information about your fundraiser and how the funds will be used.

If possible, set up a video for your crowdfunding page.  That way, when potential donors visit your crowdfunding page, the first thing they will see and hear is a video about your cause.

If you need to raise a lot of money or explain an in-depth cause, see a professional filmmaker (think local) might donate part or all of their services to make your crowdfunding video. Tell them what you need the video to do and let them actualize your vision. Some crowdfunding campaigns budget their video production into their fundraising expenses.

3. Launch and Monitor An Engaging Campaign

After you’ve created your crowdfunding page and populated it with information, it’s time to launch your campaign!

The first few days are your best chance to gain traction. Get as many eyes on your crowdfunding page as possible. Share your fundraiser across all social media platforms, and get your network to do the same.

Release daily content related to your crowdfunding campaign. This could be photos of the people / project your fundraiser will benefit, or status updates on how much money you’ve raised so far.

Check out how your promotional content is performing. What posts drive the most traffic to your crowdfunding page? What kind of donors are you attracting? Use this information to refine your crowdfunding efforts.

You want to constantly engage your audience with meaningful updates. Keep attracting new donors until your campaign ends!

 

So what you waiting for?  Start your crowdfunding!

Why You Really Need to use Crowdfunding for Your Next Fundraiser

Why You Really Need to use Crowdfunding for Your Next Fundraiser

Fundraisers are crucial when collecting money to support what is important to you. It opens many doors that would otherwise remain closed. There are many ways to raise funds for your need.

The amount of strategies are endless. People often only consider one option: selling items. This category can include bake sales or other craft sales. You may have only considered fundraisers to be events such as these. However, you can truly get creative with ways to raise money.

Have you considered crowdfunding? You may have heard of it, especially with so many people opening up a crowdfunding account to raise significant amounts of money. You may have seen people sharing a funding page on social media. Huge amounts of money have been raised using this method of fundraising.

There are several reasons to use crowdfunding for your next fundraiser…

Crowdfunding

Extends Your Reach for Funds

Crowdfunding has brought fundraising to the internet. Never before has it been this easy reach sources for fundraising. You will literally be reaching a crowd, as crowdfunding is a form of crowdsourcing.

Crowdfunding allows your fundraising abilities to reach further heights. You can share your crowdfunding account over social media. People who care about you and your cause can also share it with their friends and followers. This creates a nearly limitless reach for funds.

Size Doesn’t Matter

Larger groups have the power of numbers, but small groups and individuals often face a much harder battle of trying to raise money.  If you or someone that you know has ever been faced with the burden of raising a large amount of money, you know how overwhelming it can feel.

You may have heard of people raising large amounts of money for trips through this type of funding. There are also many tragic situations that people feel compelled to support through crowdfunding. It is truly an easy and effective way to raise funds for your cause.

With crowdfunding, any person or group can use social media to amplify themselves.  Your online friends suddenly are an opportunity to turn yourself or your small group into a large one as they help you get the word out.

Every Cause Matters

Crowdfunding can be used for any and every cause. The range is limitless, so do not count your fundraiser out. Crowdfunding is used for a variety of needs. People have fully funded travel using the method. Entrepreneurs have been successful with funding their business ventures. Artists have also benefited from crowdfunding.

It’s Easy!

Set up a donations page and then use social media to get the word out.  HelpaFund has been working with all sorts of groups and individuals to do just that.  Click here and set up your donations page with them.

There’s No Up-Front Cost

There’s no cost to set up an account, and you don’t have any fees unless people actually make donations.  As for fees, HelpaFund keeps a very small percentage, but it’s worth it.  They take the headache out of collecting funds, they allow you to collect funds nationwide, and they provide many other benefits.

 

There is no reason that you should not incorporate crowdfunding into your fundraising strategies. You will be shocked at the reach your fundraiser has through crowdfunding. If you have a steep goal, then you should definitely consider crowdfunding. The amount of money you could raise is limitless. Do not underestimate people’s willingness to contribute to your cause. Reach the power of human kindness by using this crowdfunding resource today!

Five Star Fundraising’s Choice for Holiday Shops for Schools

The holidays are just a few short months away, and they provide a fantastic opportunity for an elementary school fundraiser:  a holiday shop.  There are a number of shops from which to choose, but the one that Five Star Fundraising likes best is the Lil’ Shoppers Shop.

Holiday Shop from Five Star Fundraising
During the holiday season, parents can rest assured that their children will shop in a safe, non-commercial setting. Teachers love it… Your faculty can teach their students about budgeting and spending wisely at the school holiday gift store, and emphasize the joy of giving.

Lil’ Shoppers Shop is an in-school holiday shopping program that has been around for 35 years.  As a family-owned business, they have helped literally thousands of volunteers raise money for their school or organization.

Lil’ Shoppers Shop is simple and straightforward. Choose your preferred dates to run your shop. This fundraiser then gives you everything you need to run a successful holiday shop from posters to parent letters to gift bags. They also provide pre-priced tent cards, box inventory sheets, closing sale sheet, and they all have pictures of items to make set up, shopping and closing your holiday shop easy!

The Shop features over 110 quality holiday gift items carefully priced within a child’s budget ranging from a pocket change to $10.00. Most of the gifts are around $3. What’s good about this shop is your child can buy gift items for their whole family as well as their friends.

Features Of Lil’ Shopper’s Shop

One of the best features of Lil’ Shoppers Shop is that it is risk-free.  All items are on consignment.  After the fundraiser is over, return the unsold merchandise (no freight charges).  There are no hidden costs.  You pay after the sale is over!

The gifts are considered top quality and are approved by Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). There is something for everyone. Of course, they are priced for kids as well.  You can see the gifts available here.

This elementary school fundraiser is convenient too.  There’s no door-to-door selling or your child asking the same people to buy something from them again.  Instead, parents appreciate that (1) the entire fundraiser is in-school so the children are safe and under adult supervision, and (2) it doesn’t add something else to their to-do list.

Lil’ Shoppers Shop is versatile as well.  You can set your own prices.  This allows you to make more profit.

Other Benefits of Lil’ Shoppers Shop

Lil' Shopper's ShoppeNo one wants the same stuff year after year.  That’s why Lil’ Shoppers Shop provides a complete new line of holiday gifts every year. You’re not getting closeouts or fundraising overstocks. If your inventory gets low or runs out, you get free UPS Next Day Air Reorders. In fact, you can place your reorder every day of your sale.  Using the custom Chairperson Web Site, you can track inventory, re-orders and invoices 24 hours a day.

To make purchases easy, the merchandise is price-coded so you don’t have to look up the price of each item.  The program also provides you with a Cash Register App!  It runs on Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iTouch) and Android, but you can also access it online from any internet-enabled computer, tablet or smart phone.

There are even guarantees. There is a $5.00 guarantee to make sure every child will get exactly what they want for holidays. They provide a 100% Product satisfaction Guarantee.  In fact, broken and damaged items can be replaced, and you can even get a refund for any reason.

There’s one final benefit that you will definitely want to know.  If you sign up early, you can choose a sign-up BONUS!

Make your students jolly this holiday season! Call Five Star Fundraising toll free for more information — 1-877-699-7807.  Ask for Matt and tell him The Fundraising Network sent you.

*Photos used with permission by Five Star Fundraising

Savory Cookie Dough and Savory Popcorn

Five Star Fundraising Savory Cookie Dough and Savory Popcorn

When Five Star Fundraising is thinking about fundraisers for their customers, they think about three important factors:

  • All ages love it
  • It’s easy to sell
  • Gives a group lots of profit

Since 1993, Five Star Fundraising has been creating fantastic fundraising opportunities to help social groups and other organizations across America earn a profit for a certain cause. Five Star is known for great fundraisers and sure success.

Five Star Fundraising created this promising fundraiser, “Savory Cookie Dough Fundraiser” and “Savory Gourmet Caramel Popcorn.” This fundraiser is tested and proven to be a success.  It’s easy and very profitable, because it tastes great and is an outstanding value. Because of its success, many groups are doing it twice a year, and it never fails to surprise them with excellent success!

Five Star Fundraising Cookie Dough TubThe cookie dough comes in a full 3 lbs. tubs or 3 lbs. pre-formed cookies in a box. This delicious cookie dough makes mouth-watering cookies that everybody loves. Aside from its yumminess, groups can make $6.50 or more profit per item. Even better, a group gets 8 free tubs or boxes for every 288 sold along with free shipping. (Shipping charges apply for orders under 288 pieces.)

Popcorn fundraisers are successful moneymakers, because:

  • Sellers are always enthusiastic about a product they like
  • Parents interested in healthier snacks will love the fact that your fundraiser popcorn pops in a heart-healthy air popper vs. and unhealthy oil popper
  • Kids love the all the flavor choices
  • And of course, what adult doesn’t like a little popcorn for themselves from time to time?

Groups can make $6.50 with gourmet caramel popcorn.

Best of all, you can pre-collect all your money so you can have profits right away!

If you are currently looking for a fundraiser that is proven successful, Five Star Fundraising’s Savory Cookie Dough Fundraiser or Savory Popcorn is a great choice! It’s easy, fun and very promising! Call Five Star Fundraising today, and Matt will be glad to assist you with questions or even get you started within three days! 1-877-699-7807

*Photos used with permission from Five Star Fundraising

How to Make Your School Fundraising Ideas Successful

Successful working of fundraising ideas for school depends on many vital factors. It all depends on your campaign or strategy based on the demand of targeted customers, place, timing and competition. Also, managing the team and getting active participation of members play an important role in fulfilling the goal of a school fundraising program.

Goal Setting:

Be it a fundraising for public or a private school, first set your goal and deadline. Clearly decide the start and end dates of your fundraising activities. Finalize your budget or monetary needs, the timing, the place and how long it would take to raise the required money.

Timing & Location:

The time and place of arranging your fundraising program matters a lot. Pre plan your event so that it does not coincide or clash with the fundraising efforts of neighboring schools or any other groups. This helps to attract more people and increases your potential to raise funds. Arranging the events during weekends rather too help a lot.

Also, arrange your fundraising events near a popular or central location that generally draws a large number of crowds. Opening stalls and serving customers directly in and around a venue of regular exhibitions, fairs, cultural programs, sports tournament, etc. help achieve your fundraising targets easily. You can create awareness about your campaign through advertisements in local media. You should also carry out online sales of your fundraising products or services using various promotional modes such as social media platforms.

Quality Product/Service:

Selecting products and services for your fundraising activity should be of top quality and matching the requirements of local customers. Higher quality fundraising products leave a lasting and positive impression among customers about your cause. This helps to arrange successful fundraisers in the future with more buyers and higher profits.

Managing Team:

Motivating your team members and finding their attractions to achieve the common goal are integral parts of a successful fundraising program. Developing proper skills help to make them professional in their approach and to effectively communicate the organization’s purpose, while dealing with people in such an event. For an increased association of individual team members, you should launch a reward or incentive program for top performers or best sellers.

Lastly, you can get help from a professional school fundraising company for timely advice on selection of product, place and timing to make your efforts productive and successful.


Special thanks to Andey for this contribution.

Raise Money and Support Humanitarian Interests for Women at the Same Time

discount card fundraising

“The Fundraiser was a huge success for its first year, and one that will continue to grow for many years to come. With a profit margin of $7.50 per card sold, we were able to provide our squads with full, embroidered, warm-up uniforms with the proceeds of one fundraiser! An impressive accomplishment!”
Samantha Young, Delaware

Blue Heron is one of those Fundraising Companies that you may not have heard of, but they have been helping groups raise money since 1995, and they have been quite successful at it.  The vision behind this company comes from its founder and President, Pete Reed.  Its success comes from his personal philosophy, “The customer is always right!” and the personal service that each customer receives.

Between the fundraising business and his humanitarian work, Pete stays very busy.  However, we caught a few moments with him to find out more about him, and what makes his fundraiser work so well.  Here’s what he had to say.

“Our discount cards are tremendously effective for our customers.  We get mostly schools, sports teams and marching bands, but we also get military and university organizations. It works well for several reasons.

First and foremost for our groups, the cards produce 70-80% profit.  That’s nearly unheard of in fundraising.  The normal ceiling is about 50%.

Second, our cards sell well because they have fantastic discounts, and because they come from businesses in the group’s community.  We work with our groups to get the best possible discounts within their communities.  The businesses don’t have to pay for the ads either.  Local discounts mean (1) people want the cards, (2) the $10 price point makes it an easy sell, and (3) it helps the local community.

Third, we help save their customers money.  There is no setup or production costs for the group unless they have special artwork that requires more attention than normal.

And our customers like the fact that they don’t have to fill a room with inventory they have stocked.  The cards are small enough so that they fit just about anywhere – wallet, purse, pocket. Their group members can carry the cards anywhere and can sell “on the spot” when the opportunity presents itself.”

During the rest of our visit, Pete talked about the groups Blue Heron discount cards have helped and the organization’s dedication to making groups profitable.  It’s not a complicated process, but it is successful and it’s proven effective for raising money.

Though Blue Heron is located along the Delmarva Peninsula in Delaware, Blue Heron has helped groups all over the United States.  Pete’s vision doesn’t stop there, however.  In 2005, through a series of events, Pete began working to help a girl, Slavka (pictured bottom right), in Slovakia and later began helping Aneta (pictured bottom middle) from the Czech Republic.  He didn’t just throw money at the problem.  He equipped these women to be able to live and succeed which led him to form Slavka’s Dream Ltd. (www.slavkasdream.com) His goals are:

  • to help women achieve status in their culture and society,
  • to provide for their families through working and education,
  • to increase hope by helping them to succeed rather than fall into desperation,
  • and to teach others to believe in themselves so that their dreams can become real.

To date, he has helped women in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Latvia, and Romania.

Meeting with Pete was an eye-opening experience.  Groups who want to raise money not only have great potential to meet their goals with Blue Heron fundraising cards.  When they use Blue Heron for their fundraising card provider, they also are helping to support humanitarian efforts for women who would otherwise be trapped in a terrible lifestyle.

Check out Blue Heron discount cards at www.blueheroncards.com.

Spotlight on Blue Heron Discount Cards — Part 1

Blue Heron Discount Cards
Blue Heron Discount Cards
Blue Heron Discount Cards strives to put together a discount card that contains quality offers that make the cards easier to sell. Each year, we attempt to make our clients a better card than they had the previous year. We want a card that people can use over and over again, not one that has offers that are not valid in the clients market.

Last year, we had the opportunity to speak with Pete Reed, the owner of Blue Heron Discount Cards.  His fundraiser caught our attention because of the humanitarian work he has been doing. We contacted him recently and asked him to send us any updated information he has about his fundraising program.  Here’s what he sent back.

Blue Heron has been producing community based discount cards since 1995. At the time we started, discount cards were actually in their infancy. Over the years, we’ve improved our product constantly by changing our graphics personnel and our card suppliers. We’ve gone from a boring one color card to exciting multi-color logos and offers.

One thing that hasn’t changed is our care for our clients. We strive to put together a discount card that contains quality offers that make the cards easier to sell. We’ve been fortunate to have been able to build good relationships with many of the same businesses over the years, but we still strive for new business offers at the request of our clients. Each year, we attempt to make our clients a better card than they had the previous year. We want a card that people can use over and over again, not one that has offers that are not valid in the clients market. This requires a bit of extra work on our part, but it’s all part of the value we give to our customer, along with a high profit margin.

Pete didn’t really talk much about custom vs. generic discount cards. Most discount card companies are going to the mass produced, generic discounts, but Blue Heron is still providing custom cards with custom offers and there are some benefits to custom cards.  More information about that in Part 2.

Spotlight on Ultimate Fundraising’s Cookie Dough Fundraiser

“We listen to what our groups say and help them choose the best program to reach their fundraising goals.”
Pat Van Hesteren
President, Ultimate Fundraising

When it comes to cookie dough, Ultimate Fundraising offers you two types of cookie dough programs: Standard and Home Delivery.

Standard Cookie Dough Program (with three brochure choices)

If you have done a cookie dough fundraiser before, this part will be no surprise to you. Decide on which brochure you want to use, fax in your Participation Agreement Form, and you are ready to start raising money! Tell Ultimate Fundraising how many brochures you need, and they provide them. Brochures include Ultimate Fundraising’s famous cookie dough program as well as tag programs that include cheese cakes, pretzels, dessert bars, funnel cakes and more.

Run your fundraiser for 2 weeks. (The price of the cookie dough ranges from $10-$16.) Your coordinator then completes the master order form indicating the address where they want the delivery to be made and fax in your order and send payment. Your product is shipped to you within two weeks.

Of course, everyone wants to know about the profit. There are two cookie dough tub sizes that you can choose for your fundraiser. The smaller tub gives opportunity for 40% profit, and it also has a lower minimum. This is great for smaller groups. On the other hand, the larger tubs allow for up to 50% profit, but it has a higher minimum. Regardless of the minimum, however, Ultimate Fundraising makes a way for you to get your cookie dough even if you don’t meet the minimum order!

Home Delivery Program

Your group makes 40%-50% profit on each tub sold. There is a $4 shipping charge for each tub to allow for home delivery. Your group uses the order taker and when your campaign is over you tell Ultimate Fundraising how many tubs you sold. They mail you enough activation cards for you to hand back to your supporters who log onto the Crazy About Cookies website and indicate the flavor of cookie dough that they would like and provide a mailing address. Each card has a code that your supporters will enter and the cookie dough will ship directly to their door. It is that easy!

Don’t Forget the Incentives

In a time when many companies are cutting back, Ultimate Fundraising is staying consistent with their incentive for your group. If you sell 1000 tubs or boxes of cookie dough or 1000 bags of their coffee (remember that they offer multiple products), your group receives a Nintendo Wii System or $300 CASH!!!

Add the cash to your fundraising profit total or use the incentive to spur on your members. It’s up to you. Either way, your group has the opportunity to make extra profit!

For more information, click here.

Fundamentals of Event Fundraising

Fundamentals of Event Fundraising
Fundamentals of Event Fundraising
Following these fundamentals, you should be able to do many fundraisers to help you raise the money you need.

The thought of doing fundraising events for your group or organization can be downright scary, if not totally off-putting. Please don’t despair, however.

Doing fundraisers is not as daunting as it appears to be at first blush.

The whole process of fundraising needs to broken down in to a series of highly doable steps that lend momentum to the planning and conduct of the fundraiser.

Gather Participants and Create Passion

Bring together a group of people who are passionate about the project or service for which you’ll be raising the money (1). Additionally, ensure that they’re willing to do the careful planning and implementation work which will be vital to the success of your fundraiser, or fundraisers. Ideally, over time, as you do fundraisers, have experienced members of your group train those who join your group but have no experience in raising money.

Thorough Planning

Meet Regularly, Weekly if Possible

During the planning phase of the fundraising event, try to hold weekly meetings to foster accountability and to maintain the morale and forward momentum of the group. It is important that the meetings have a very clear focus and that they last only 15-20 minutes, as people’s time is extremely valuable.

Be organized and plan each part of the fundraiser: goals, how the money will be used, who will be invited and how invitations will be extended, what will happen the day of the event, and evaluation.

Set Clear Goals

During the planning stage be sure to set forth clear goals in terms of how much the group wants to raise and what resources will be needed to achieve those goals (2).

Determine Exactly How the Money will be Used

Clearly set forth exactly how the money will be used once it is raised. Make sure that all your participants and supporters will be in agreement.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel. Look at Others’ Efforts

Don’t be afraid to study fundraisers that other groups have done in order to learn from their successes or lack thereof. Be sure to share with your group successes that other groups and/or organizations have enjoyed so that they (your group) are motivated. This encouragement can make group members feel empowered which may generate better fundraising results.

Inviting Attendees

Start with Who You Know (“Warm” invitations)

Encourage members of your group to invite people they know to attend the fundraiser before they reach out to those outside their circle of family, relatives, friends, and acquaintances. In so doing, individuals in your group will gain confidence in inviting people to the fundraiser and bridging into inviting people they don’t know.

Avoid “Cold Calling” Unless It is Necessary

“Cold-call” invitations should be avoided whenever possible. Unforeseen invitations are often refused, and, however politely the refusal is made, this can erode the morale of the group.

Do the Event

Your planning should make the event easy. It will still be work, but with good planning you have no need to be nervous. Just follow the schedule that you create, and it should all fall together.

Evaluate After the Event

Be sure to evaluate the fundraising event that you’ve just conducted. Several questions should be raised to this end (3):

  1. What things at the fundraiser worked, or went well?
  2. What things did not go well? Analyze why those things didn’t go well? How can the same mistakes be avoided in the future?
  3. What was the fundraising goal versus that was actually raised?
  4. Were the objectives of the fundraiser broken down in to easily manageable steps?

In Summary:

Plan well, invite your “warm” supporters, do the event and evaluate. Following these fundamentals, you should be able to do many fundraisers to help you raise the money you need.


 

About the Author

Dave S. Morse is a freelance writer/editor in Knoxville, Tennessee who also serves as a volunteer community advocate. Dave holds Master’s degrees in Christian Service and Management/Public Administration from NW Christian College (now NW Christian University) and the University of Phoenix Online, respectively, and has a strong passion for social justice.


 

Sources:

1. http://www.justfundraising.com/fundraising-101/
2. http://www.tripointfundraising.com/4-super-easy-processes-for-raising-more-money/
3. http://www.asce.org/uploadedFiles/Young_Member_Groups_-_New/YM%20Webinar-Fundraising.pdf

Image used with permission. Copyright: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo