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:
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!
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!
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?
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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 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
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.
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 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!
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!