Jonathan May

May 17, 2018

6 Fundraising Ideas You’ve Probably Not Thought Of...

What fundraiser hasn’t been scrabbling around for something new to try out! Well here we’ve collected six ideas you’ve probably not thought of, or come across before.

1. Guess the country

Anyone who has collection boxes has probably got a whole bunch of random, unusual coins and notes from foreign countries kicking around. It’s rarely worth the hassle and cost to convert them. Well, now you can turn them into a fun social media quiz.

  1. Take a high resolution image of the pile of currencies and coins.
  2. Create a way for people to submit their entries, using something like Typeform or Paperform; both can be integrate into Stripe and Paperform into PayPal. Charge a small amount per entry.
  3. Post on social media, and encourage people to guess the countries of denomination. The winner can take home almost any prize of your choice. People are mainly playing for the social media kudos!

Put those donation coins to good use.

The best bit? You can re-run this next year with a different pile of coins and notes…! It won’t get old until we’ve done away with all those coins.

If you don’t have collection boxes, ask your staff if they have a bag of coins at home. Most people have a tonne of these in a drawer somewhere.

2. Bake the building

Who doesn’t love having their cake and eating it? With the popularity of bake-off style shows, everyone wants to try their hand at artistic baking interpretations, and what greater challenge than to ask people to bake a (scaled down!) model of a famous building, ideally one connected in some way to your cause.

Baking competitions are fun.

This makes for awesome fun, a lot of laughs, probably some extraordinarily skilful baking attempts, and endless social media joy with photos doing the rounds throughout - and well after - the event. People love showing off their attempts - good or bad.

The best part: you can charge for entry and/or sell the cake afterwards, and it’s damn tasty too! Pretty easy to get local media over to the party with an offer of some cake and laughs, too…

If you don’t have a building you can easily use, it’s just as fun to bake and decorate a famous figurehead of your cause - the opportunities are endless.

3. Counter-cultural craftivism, “Easter egg” treasure hunts

The rise of “craftivism” or craft-inspired activism has opened up a whole era of opportunities for nonprofits to create innovative treasure hunt-style events around locations or cities.

Get innovative with your treasure hunt!

Gather a small group of volunteers to design and create a treasure hunt, with hand-crafted clues, riddles and directions attached to lamp-posts, signage, fences, railings, under stones, in shop windows etc. You can charge for entry - it’s like a real-world “escape room”, and with the growing popularity (and price!) of those, this is an awesome alternative for those who care about your cause and are looking for a fun day out...

4. Foosball tournament

Who doesn’t love foosball (or table football, for UK readers)? The mainstay of many kids’ bedrooms, tech startup offices or “man caves” has undergone something of a resurgence in recent years, and there are plenty who will hire out tables for tournaments - or you may be able to find someone willing to lend you one. Many companies who have tables will run a charity tournament, and there are also bars which will happily host your competition, given you’ll be bringing in quite a crowd.

Foosball has seen a surge in popularity.

Charge for entry and crown the office, bar, regional or national champions! And if you want to really drive engagement, you might want to give your national federation a call and get some of the national team players to pop along to play the winners.

5. Generate future commitments

Most people are willing to give away money, time or stuff they don’t yet have, won’t need - but will have one day. This is one of the reasons charities spend so much effort talking to people about giving in their wills!

It's easier to make a future commitment.

However, it’s also possible to get people to make commitments based on other life events, or based on conditions that seem hard to meet. For example, you’ll have seen the amazing power of “If this tweet gets 5,000 retweets, we’ll do X”. Use this to your advantage! Get people to consider what might get them to donate money, time or things - either significant events in their lives (such as getting a first job, retiring, having kids, having kids leave home(!)), or things that appear to be unlikely, such as massive traffic on social media or others making similar commitments. “I’ll give £100 to this campaign if 10 of my friends do” is a surprisingly powerful engagement tactic - so it can be that simple.

6. Challenges and matchfunding in crowdfunding

Most people know about crowdfunding and its potential to fund specific projects, events or significant one-off expenditure. What most people miss is how to connect crowdfunding or digital fundraising campaigns to potential major donors and raise substantially greater sums as a result. You can even use them to turn existing money into more money, through the creative use of challenges.

Get creative with your challenges.

On the former point, who might be interested in matchfunding your campaign, or providing extra funds if you reach your target? Who might want to make you a challenge - if you get a donation from every European country, or US state, or if you get 1000 donors, or if you get 25 donors under 25? You can be very creative about the challenges, and either integrate them into your crowdfunding updates or if you have a crowdfunding platform that supports it get these challenges added. They make crowdfunding campaigns go much further, raise more and engage local businesses and existing major supporters in the process.

On the latter point - about how to make existing money go further - let’s say you’ve received a large gift which funds half of a total project cost. Create a crowdfunding campaign where instead of this gift being just added in (or left off entirely), this gift is used as a matchfund for every gift that comes in, to incentivize more giving. Or use the gift as a “challenge” - so it’s only unlocked when the campaign reaches a particular milestone, donor target, or other creative challenge, as above. This process is motivating for donors, and inspiring for the person or organization who made that initial contribution - they really feel like they didn’t only make the gift, but also helped unlock the rest of the support required!

We hope this post has given you a few new ideas to work with and consider. If you’ve got examples of successful but a little off the wall ideas that really worked, let us know - we’d love to create a little library of them. Good luck!

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