One of these is bound to work for you.
Tasty Treats: Take advantage of the warm California nights and host a booth selling delicious baked goods, lemonade, and other goodies. People are always excited to share their recipes and donate some baked goods for a good cause. Don’t forget to get some cute kids to help out – who can resist a smiling little face offering you a tasty treat?
50/50 Raffle: Sell raffle tickets to friends and family – 50% of the ticket price will go to your fundraising efforts, and the other 50% of the ticket price will go into the cash pot for the winner! Have a dinner party or fun event when you will draw and announce the lucky winner.
Moonlight Movies: Rent or borrow a projector, white sheet, and play a movie in your backyard or at a park! Charge admission and have snacks available for sale. It’s a great way to get friends, family, and even the community involved!
Potluck: Host a potluck dinner, and collect donations or a cover charge. This is a great one to use during the holidays! Hold a contest for the best dessert, main dish, appetizer, and drink!
Wii Bowling Contest (or real bowling!): Have all contestants pay a $10 per entry – this pays for them to throw the ball 2 times. A strike gets 2 raffle tickets, a spare gets 1 raffle ticket. The winner is drawn at the end, and they get a prize! (Look to get donated items like tickets to shows or sports games, or make your own exciting prize!)
Flock of Flamingoes: A unique and fun way to get a large group of people involved with your cause! Great for corporations, large groups, or schools!
Example: A sports team, employee group, youth group, or sports team announces to all parents/group members that they are trying to raise funds for Run for Mobility, and will do so by holding a Flamingo Flocking Fundraiser between a set of dates.
In secret, the team/youth group/etc will visit a member of the group’s front yard and fill it with 20+ flamingoes. In order to have the obnoxious birds removed, the “victim” must make a minimum donation to the cause, and will then select the next recipient of the big, pink birds. The group will then move the birds to the next “victim” and the cycle continues until the end of the fundraiser. You can even offer “Flamingo Insurance” in the beginning, where people can donate to the cause up front to avoid being Flamingo Flocked! Visit www.flamingoflock.com to buy 20 flamingos for $9 each.
Office Feast: Tired of boring lunches at work? A lot of you are! Offer a fresh salad bar, homemade desserts and snacks, fruit, and homemade lunch food at work, and your co-workers will gladly pay $5-$10 for a delicious lunch!
Mom and Dad Date Night: Offer to babysit for some stressed parents while they go out to enjoy a night alone! Play a movie on an outdoor screen and order pizza.
Car Clean Up: A tried and true favorite, get a group together for a weekend car wash! For a new twist, talk to a local drive-in, hand-wash location owner to see if you can host your fundraiser at their location. Pay to use the location’s soap, hoses, and vacuums, and charge your “customers” an extra fee to have you do all the work! Have some snacks for sale also for them to enjoy while they wait.
Go Green to Raise Green: Set up a recycling drive, and turn in all those items at your local recycling location for cash. You can do this on a weekly basis, or have set dates where you’ll turn all recyclables in at the end.
Restaurants to the Rescue: Partner with a local restaurant to hold a fundraiser on a slow weeknight. Many restaurants will donate a percentage the bill to your cause for very customer who presents a flyer to their server. Ask to have donation boxes and Free Wheelchair Mission flyers on each of the tables. Make sure to create a flyer to hand out!
Craft for a Cause: Hold a craft night at someone’s house. Find people you know (yourself included!) who have special crafting skills – calligraphy, scrapbooking, candle making, photo collage, drawing, etc – and have them teach an introductory class. Have everyone bring their unwanted craft supplies to share. Charge for the classes or for admission! The best part? You can use these items to sell at another event!
Photo Scanning Service: For people with scanners (or for those of you with access to them!), you can offer your personal time to help to digitally archive favorite old photos for someone who just doesn’t feel up to doing it themselves (or for someone who doesn’t have the know-how!). Set a dollar amount per stack of 24 pictures, and offer to upload them to a free photo hosting site, or give them a disk with all the photos on it.
Garage Sale: Spring has passed, but it’s never a bad time to get rid of old, unwanted items that are taking up space in your home! Apply for a permit and hold a garage sale on the weekend. People are always looking for a way to clear out their garages – offer to pick up their old stuff.
Groceries for Good: Offer to go to the grocery store for mom, dad, grandma, or the neighbors. They will appreciate getting all the items they need without having to take the time to go! Charge a fee based on the number of items they have on their list.
Taxi-for-a-Day: Offer to drive a friend or family member around for their errands for a day or a weekend. Minus the cost in gas, this is an easy way to make a few extra dollars!
Poker Tournament: Hold a poker tournament, and raise funds by either charging admission or by having a percentage of every pot go to the cause. You probably already know someone who will let you use their poker set, or you can ask a group who already holds a poker night to designate one of their regular nights as a fundraiser for you.
Wine and Cheese Mixer: Invite all your friends over, and have each person bring their favorite paring of wine and cheese (make sure they bring an extra bottle of wine and an extra cheese sample!) Set a donation jar next to each paring, and have each person vote by putting $10 in the jar of their favorite. The person who brought the wine and cheese paring with the most money wins, and gets to take home the extra bottle of THEIR favorites! Raffle off the remaining bottles, or use them for another event.
Mardi Gras Madness: Arrange for a festive night of New Orleans-style food, music, and drinks at a home, community center, or other rented location. Charge for admission, food, and drinks. Encourage everyone to dress up, and come for a fun, themed party!
Rubber Duck Race: Sell rubber ducks to your guests, and invite each person to decorate it. Drop the ducks into the water together, and the one that crosses the line first wins! You can use a local waterway with a current, or if there isn’t one available, just use a full sized or inflatable pool and give each duck “owner” a plastic water gun to help propel their duck across the finish line!
Pancake or Waffle Breakfast: All you need is a big kitchen with a nice backyard, a few volunteers, and some hungry people! Publicize this as a Sunday Brunch, and invite your whole neighborhood to join in!
Host a jog-a-thon or walk-a-thon: A fun and relatively easy event where you have joggers or walkers (a lot of the time kids or members of a team!) ask friends and family to sponsor them for a X amount of money per lap, up to X laps. (Ex: Sara sponsored Beth at $20 per lap. Beth ran 15 laps, so Sara donated $300 to Beth’s cause!) For a detailed how-to step-by-step process, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Italian Night: Who doesn’t like spaghetti and garlic bread? Easily cooked in large batches and cheap to buy, organizing a pasta dinner night with a 50/50 raffle or silent auction plus a wine tasting is an easy way to combine a few different activities into one night of fun!
Chair-ity Auction: Have people create unique auction items out of old chairs! For example, a plastic lawnchair with a picnic basket and picnic lunch, hats, sunscreen, and a Frisbee; a set of barstools with a martini glass set and mix; a kids chair with toys for the little ones; a rocking chair with knitting and crocheting materials!
Puppy Parade or Wag-a-thon: Like the jog- or walk-a-thon, pets and their owners can get in on the fun too! Dress up your pet and have a costume contest for the cutest, funniest, and most detailed costume. Set up an agility course and have a contest to see which dog is the best trained! Have a contest to see which dog can do the most or the best tricks. Mark off a 1 mile course where dogs and their humans can enjoy a group walk.