Unfortunately, many fundraisers face a problem: They’re uninteresting. Nobody these days likes to be bored. Here are a few helpful tips you can use to make your own fundraiser actually fun!
1. Know Your Market
Above all, there’s no point having a fundraiser if what you’re selling isn’t sellable. No matter what your cause is, if what you have to sell at the fundraiser isn’t something people want to buy… Your fundraiser will fall flat on its face.
So get to know your market. Know the community of the town you’re setting up shop in. The key here is communication: let people know how much you want each person to donate, what your cause/product is, etc. Turn on your marketing cap and build incentives for people to show up for a day of fun.
2. Bake Sale
Yes yes, bake sales are tried and true. For $10 you can buy a whole cake. For $1 you can buy a cupcake. You know the drill. So, put a new spin on this traditional fundraising device by hosting a bake race!
Just like those “chef off” shows you see on TV, where cooks make a meal within allotted time, you can have your bake sale bakers make their treats right in front of everyone! In good racing fashion, whoever makes their cakes, cupcakes, etc. the fastest…
You pick the prize reward. It’s your show! I’d personally suggest that the “winner” gets to dump a bucket of ice water on the “losers.” (For an added twist, get blindfolds for everyone. It’ll be disastrous and hilarious.)
3. Take your volunteers and helpers out for a bite or drink
Nobody likes doing stuff for free – even if it is for a good cause. Taking out your volunteers and helpers out for a meal or an after-hours drink is good friendship. Aren’t youhappy when someone treats you to a meal?
This consideration builds good morale and increases the likelihood the group will work with you again. My spouse has a friend who has no qualms being our ride to the grocery store (since we don’t have a car). He knows we’ll treat him to Burger King or buy a bottle of wine for his help and patience. (It’s no fun sitting in a car, waiting on other people.)
4. Use fun incentives
Have you ever watched the blockbuster DeCaprio flick Wolf Of Wall Street? In it, Jordan Belfort launches a billion-dollar stockbroker firm. In order to raise even more money, he holds a kooky fundraiser: if the company can raise $10,000, one of his assistants will shave off her luscious blonde locks.
Extremes like this fuel our human need for new experiences. You don’t need to go to this extreme, but using it as a selling incentive makes your fundraiser a lot more fun. Get crazy with it: Dye organisers’ heads purple if everyone raises $5,000. Raise $200 in order to see volunteers get pied in the face.
There’s no limit to the amount of exciting things you can do with this. Let your imagination run! (Imagine how you can use a street carnival for raising funds!) You can even rent a theatre screen and host a movie night in the park.
5. Create fun completion activities for your staff
Similar to the last tip, this one involves everyone (without “humiliating” them). It’s simple: raise X amount of dollars in however much time. If the goal is met, everyone gets to play sports in a water balloon fight. Or, to increase selling incentives, the group (or person) who sells the most gets tickets to go rollerblading, kayaking, or some other fun activity that gets the juices flowing.
An even crazier idea: You’re riding a bike. Every single dollar buys you another minute of ride time. You can ride up a hill or up a mountain to make it really fun for people. Think of fun activities everyone might like to participate in when the fundraiser is over.
6. Be Memorable
The key to a successful fundraiser is to be unexpected. Dazzle. Amaze. Inspire laughter and feel-good emotions. This day an age, most people lead dormant, dull lives. One way to change that? Set a costumed theme and pick a sport. Dress donators and workers up in Halloween costumes and have everyone play a short game of softball.
Or dress everyone up as Captain Jack Sparrow (or another trendy character) and have a sack race. Whatever you decide to do, remember: each sport has an entry fee. People who donated $20, for example, can dress up as Captain Jack Sparrow and race. People who donated $30 can dress in their favourite Halloween character and play softball.
It will be goofy. It will be hard to play like that for long. And it will be so, so funny to see. Making your fundraiser memorable and more likely to pick up word-of-mouth sponsorship. (I’d personally like to see people who donated $50 to dress up as Sumo wrestlers and play volleyball. Or, just have a Sumo wrestling contest! There’s almost nothing you can’t do.)
Even as something a small as coordinating your event/party around a Holiday helps a lot.
Legendary YouTube entertainer Markiplier regularly hosts fundraisers (he’s raised over $482k to date). He’s raised $81,000+ for depression and bipolar disorder, and raised $70,000+ for a children’s research hospital. How? By hitting up Livestream and doing what he does best: making people laugh and love as he games.
Run along the same lines as him and set up gaming “booths” for people who donate $10-50 (or however much you decide). Everybody I know lives and breathes games (me included). When we aren’t working? We’re on the PS3.
If you want your fundraiser to stick out among the many, many fundraisers out there… Just remember to think out of the box. Don’t be afraid to be exciting and make a fundraiser to remember.