The suggestions that follow are ideas for how to go about gathering financial donations and raising funds, either individually or as a group. A sample budget is included for financial planning.
Ideas for Individuals
Ideas for Individuals or Groups
- Can/bottle drive
- Penny drive
- Create/sell calendar
- Dance lessons
- Organize an "open mic night" at a local establishment
- Pay to play scavenger hunt
- Photo contest
- Trivia night
Ideas for Groups
- Have a yard sale with bake sale
- Have a raffle (items, 50/50, etc.)
- Host a dinner party
- Silent auction
- Table: item sales/information
- Balloon pop
- Cook off
- Garden starts sale
- Buffet/all you can eat meal
- Fall yard work for hire
Ideas for Individuals
Send letters to friends, family and community members
Send personal letters inviting people to contribute via email and snail mail to everyone you know. Attach a list of needed items for your project. Additionally, ask these people to continue to distribute the letters to people they know. It is important to tailor your letters to known potential resources, but by distributing the information to everyone, you may be able to tap into unknown resources. Remember to include easily accessible contact information on the letter such as your name, email and phone number.
Sell Chinook Books
Chinook Books are eco-friendly coupon books for the Portland metro area. When groups participate in selling the books, they can earn between 35-50 percent of the profits. There is no upfront cost; you just return the books your group does not sell. New Chinook books come out every September. More information is available on the EcoMetro website.
Write small grants
There are many small family trusts, locally and within the state, which are looking for good projects and organizations to give their money to. Do some research on their association and write a tailored letter of inquiry to them that explains the need, the project, and the expected outcomes. Be sure to include a timetable and a budget for the money you are asking for. Use the grant writing resources offered by Pacific University by contacting Chris Wilkes or Traci Goff
Casual office day
Work in an office or know someone who does? Have them sponsor a causal day. Employees donate a suggested amount of money to earn a casual dress day where they can wear jeans to the office. When choosing a suggested donation, ask how many people work at the office. If there are 20 people, you may want to suggest $10, so you could potentially gather a minimum of $200. Let the fundraiser run for an entire month.
Ideas for Individuals or Groups
Bottle and can drive
Ask neighbors, family, and classmates to collect their empty bottles and cans. Remember each of those cans is worth money. Plus, you are encouraging recycling. Choose a pickup day for people who can not drop them off, and take the cans to your nearest recycle center. Every 100 cans is an easy $5.
Small change adds up fast. Have different departments or classes compete to see who can gather the most pennies (and change). An award can be given to the group with the most pennies by the end of the month.
Create an artful calendar with images from the area you will be traveling to. You may be able to use student photographs from previous participants. These calendars can be sold and used as awards or raffle items.
Offer dance lessons for a suggested donation. If possible, use music and dance style from the region you are traveling to. Dance lessons can be substituted for yoga, music, or other skills your group members may be able to offer.
Organize an open mic night at a local establishmentWork with a local coffee shop to host an open mic night for people to share their talents, drink coffee, and of course, donate to the cause. In addition to collecting money from performers, see if you can have a portion of the beverage sales be donated.
Have teams sign up to participate with an entry fee. Create a list of unique items that can be found in your community (make sure the list stays secret until the race begins). The teams have a time limit to gather as many of those items as possible without purchasing them from the store. Try to think of items that can be used on your trip. The winning team earns a prize.
Funny photo contest
This is a chance for all aspiring photographers to show off their funniest pictures. Ask for submissions from your group or classmates. Set-up framed or matted pictures like an art show, including a small biography of the artist. In order to raise money, make it a juried art show by placing a jar, can, or box in front of each picture in which people can place coins or bills to vote for their favorites—one cent equals one vote. Offer sparkling grape juice, fruit and cheese to your patrons as a thank you for coming. Consider setting up in a public space, such as a local shopping mall or library to increase your traffic and votes.
Hold a trivia night or a spelling bee at a local restaurant, wine bar, or pub. Donations can be suggested as an entry fee for trivia teams or individual spellers. And you may be able to have part of the food and drink sales donated to your project. Awards and prizes are given out to the winners.
Ideas for Groups
Have a yard sale with a bake sale
Clean out your closet and the closets of family, friends, and neighbors. Furniture, appliances, books and music can bring in extra money. Make sure to publicize your event in the local newspaper and post signs. To capitalize on this event, take the opportunity to incorporate a bake sale. And, as always, clearly tell people why you are having the sale.
Have a raffle
A raffle is a great way to use unique donated items that may not be the most useful to take along on your trip. Examples of items may be: bicycles, services such as salon or lessons, artwork, etc. Raffle tickets can be created on the computer and sold for $2, $5, or $10 each. People will buy more tickets if you offer deals such as 3 tickets for $5. Make sure to make duplicate tickets with the individuals contact information if the raffle is not taking place at an event. Additionally, if the raffle is taking place during an event (a dinner, etc), you may consider a 50/50 raffle—1/2 of the total money earned in the ticket sales goes to the raffle winner.
Host a dinner party
Have some great cooks in your group, or know some great cooks? A dinner party might be a great fundraiser for you. When seeking out a location space, a large nice home, a community center, or a restaurant are the best places to look. Additionally, many local restaurants may be willing to donate food and/or space. A partnership may be arranged with a local restaurant where a percentage of the profits go to your project. The group members of the project should then sell tickets for the meal, or invite people while letting them know how they will be contributing through their participation.
Silent auctions are great to incorporate with other events such as a dinner party or workshop/lecture about your project. Items can be placed around the room for people to peruse and place bids. Each item has a piece of paper describing the item, suggesting an opening bid, and suggesting a raise amount. For example: a framed photo is valued at $50, the opening bid was decided at $30, and the suggested raise amount is $5. People are told when the auction will be closed and the winners are tabulated preferably before people leave.
Holding a car wash is an effective one-day activity to raise money. Find a location that will let you use their space for free. In fact, many places offer incentives for using their location. Some places may even offer to match your donations.
A balloon pop is great fundraiser to add into another event. Each blown up balloon has a prize written on a paper inside. The balloons are auctioned off and the highest bidder gets to pop the balloon and win the prize inside.
Pick a food from the region you will be traveling to and have participants compete in preparing variations of that dish. A donation can be suggested for entrants and other people participating in the tasting. The winner is awarded a prize.
Buffets/All you can eat meal
Have an all you can eat spaghetti dinner, potato bar, cookie buffet/death by chocolate, or pancake feed. These are all affordable foods that can be served to people at a suggested price, while they learn more about your project. Don't forget to take into account the price of the food compared to the amount of money you expect can be made.
Fall yard work
Pick a weekend to have your neighbors to sign up to have your team come rake and clean their yard. Create a flyer advertising the event and explaining your project. Price can be determined by the size of the yard and the amount of work needed.