Monday, April 30, 2012

Top 10 Fundraising Ideas

The CalSERVES team representing at the Human Race.
A critical component of my role is to make sure that our program and our students have the resources they need to be successful.  I am currently working on our annual Human Race fundraiser to provide books and summer programming for some of the community's highest need students.

I wanted to take a moment to share some of the more creative fundraising ideas I have come across.

10.  Sometimes people have a hard time getting started with their "ask."  We have given incentives to those who send out the most requests (emails, letters, calls) regardless of the dollars they raise.

Melissa Boni emails her friends and family asking for donations.

9.  To get our staff motivated, we offered them special amenities at work (queen/king for the day, lunch made for you, etc.) if they reach their targets.

Katie McCormick enjoys having lunch served to her in celebration of her fundraising.

8.  We employ a variety of strategies where donors can buy something which generates funds for the campaign.  For example, we have a dine and donate where a local restaurant provides a portion of their proceeds from diners who bring in our flyer.  In fact, we have one coming up at the Taqueria Santa Rosa on Stony Pt....all week. Download this flyer and bring it with you while you enjoy lunch or dinner the week of 4/30/12...
Dine and Donate in partnership with the Taqueria Santa Rosa

7. Have a strategy for your fundraising but be flexible and creative about ways to entice donors.  If one idea doesn't work, try another.  Some creative ideas I have seen to generate donations include:  healthy bake sales, raffles where tickets are sold for a chance to win a donated prize, art shows where student art is sold for donations, parent's night out where donations are accepted for evening child care, and many more.

Lauren Loeffler is one of our top fundraisers this year, with a over $1,200 raised so far!

6.  We work in teams (school sites, office staff, alums, etc.), so we encourage goal setting and give incentives both the individuals and teams.  This year our team incentive is tickets to a Giants game (which we got donated...than you Giants!)

School site teams compete with one another for top honors.

5.  Use stories from the program that illustrate why people should donate to the cause.  Here is the story I shared this year from a program alum.
"Next year I will be going into my third year of teaching in our nation's second lowest-performing district, Milwaukee. During a job interview, I was asked why I became a teacher. I thought back to my time with CalSERVES. I thought back to the 3400+ hours I spent at the school, the relationships I built with students, teachers, parents, and staff. CalSERVES taught me that I can make a difference, no matter where I am. It taught me to build my classroom on community, respect, and the desire to inspire. I teach because it is my passion - and CalSERVES awakened that passion in me - for which I will always be grateful."  Jasmina

4.  For volume, you can share your ask on social media and link it to the web site for giving.  Be creative and specific in your online ask and don't forget to follow up.  Provide every opportunity for those who want to support you and your cause to express themselves.

Social media can get the word far and wide!

3.  Personal touches are always wonderful.  Sending a personal letter or artwork from a student with a stamped return envelope have proven successful for many of our team members.

Student contributions help connect potential donors with our work.

2.  Offer incentives and recognition to top fundraisers & teams throughout the fund raising period to keep motivation high and encourage those who get a later start.

Our Queen for the Day Flyer that goes up everywhere to recognize our weekly fund-raising leaders.

1. The most valuable strategy is to have a cause you believe in and communicate it to those who know and love are providing a way for them to give back to someone and something they care about.

Here is my Human Race site if you would like to donate: 


  1. Hey! This is a good read. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about online school fundraising in your area. I'm glad to stop by your site and know more about online school fundraising.
    Other school fundraisers that generate substantial revenue for schools include auctions and raffles. With these types of fundraising activities, the school requests donations from local restaurants and businesses in their area, that are then offered at the event. In the case of an auction, people are allowed to bid on the dinner, limousine ride, or whatever was donated by the local businesses in the community. In the case of a raffle, people purchase raffle tickets that are then later picked randomly from a container. Often the donations are solicited by parents acting on behalf of the school, who make phone calls, write letters, or know of other parents who work for companies who may be willing to donate.
    Auction Fundraisers are discovering the power of anytime, anywhere auctions to dramatically improve the way they raise money.

  2. Hi there! great stuff here, I'm glad that I drop by your page and found this very interesting. Thanks for sharing about online school fundraising, hoping to read something like this in the future!

  3. Thanks a lot for sharing this list. And I love the king or queen for a day idea. That would surely motivate the employees to do better in their work.

  4. Thanks for sharing this article, I've really enjoyed reading this. You've included some great fundraising tips and ideas. I have recently discovered Tony Charalambides fundraising blog, you should check it out!