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!