First, I'll tell you some of my ideas I've thought up, then I'll tell you how you can come up with some custom fundraising ideas of your own.
- The Restaurant Idea
- Partner with a local fine dining restaurant, in my case, the Metropolitan, who will supply the location and the food for the fundraiser.
- You, the organizer, identify a contact source. This is somebody who has the contact information for a lot of people. This should be an organization that is bigger than you, more influential than you, and is aligned with your values, but may also be interested in fundraising. Form an alliance, which is valuable in and of itself.
- Utilize the resources of your contact source ally. Use them to get the word out.
- Book attendees at a price that far exceeds the cost of the restaurant, otherwise you will not raise any funds for your cause.
- Create a fun and exciting night. Get creative! Have fun! Have some live music. You can hire a local band for less than $200, which will be more than worth it if you raise several thousand or more.
- Don't skimp on materials. If you need to design a website for the event, do it with posh and pizazz. Flyers? No way. Go full on with invitations. If you want to save money, go minimal. Minimalism looks expensive, but really isn't.
- Everything should be prepaid and non-refundable, after all, it's a donation. There are no refunds for donations. People understand this.
- T Shirt Idea
- Design bad-ass tees and sell them around town and online.
- Pick a theme. Ideally the theme should be centered around your fundraising cause, but please do not put your logo or name on them! This is the worst mistake. Nobody want's to buy your ill-designed swag.
- Design a cool graphic. Get creative and clever. Need inspiration? Check these out:
The first critical part of doing some fundraising is identifying a cause. So important! If you're raising money for your own pockets get the hell away from my blog and go chop your own head off! Ass. So what is your cause? Are you raising money for homeless pets? A school? Your business? An art project? Music? Whatever it is, make it big! The bigger and more altruistic your cause the more people will be willing to participate in your fundraiser. (Something to keep in mind: If you're raising money for a business, be sure to try to tie it to something social, needs-based, or really cool. Otherwise you won't have to chop your own head off, somebody will do it for you.)
The second critical part is to identify somebody to foot the bill. You can foot the bill initially if you want, but this is less than ideal. You want a fundraiser that is free to you but makes money for your cause. Here is where your fundraiser partner comes in.
What is a fundraiser partner? It is the person you team up with that also benefits from the fundraiser. If it's a restaurant, the restaurant needs to make a profit, unless they are donating their services. However, you'll have more of a chance of getting them to do the fundraiser in the first place if you make it beneficial for all parties.
The last part is to make it fun, energetic, and creative, but to always remember your audience. Think about what you are bringing to the table for the people giving you money. If you're giving them a sweet sweet T shirt, they will give you money, but the T shirt has to be awesome. If you're doing a restaurant event, the night has to be fantastic and fun and very social.