Fundraising is a very important step in planning a successful campaign.
1. Create a Fundraising Plan
There are many ways to raise money. When you begin to develop a fundraising plan, consider what personal connections, resources and skills are available within your group’s membership. Does your group have connections to many small business owners, who might be interested in sponsoring a campaign event? Is someone in your group a member of a local band who they could convince to do a benefit concert? Does the group have any ties to your student government that could help in acquiring funding?
When devising a fundraising plan, create fundraising initiatives that will be lucrative, fun and will take advantage of the varied talents and skills that your membership has to offer. If you intend to use multiple approaches to raise money, try to reach out to many different kinds of people in many different ways. These events are a great way to bring new supporters to your campaign, even if they’re not able to donate funds to it.
As you create your fundraising plan, you should keep in mind the following:
- Fun: Fundraising activities should be fun for the donors and for the members who have put it together. Activities that are a drag burn out your members and make people who give feel like they’ve been burned.
- Simplicity: Keep it simple. The more bells and whistles you add to the plan, the more things can go wrong.
- Potential Hazards: Beware of fundraising that requires large up-front investment, includes a high-risk of losing money or could harm your group’s reputation if you fail to meet expectations. Explore options for reducing high-priced overhead items, such as getting food donated.
- Involvement: Involve members and others in a positive way, without drawing time and resources from other necessary work.
- Donor Appreciation: Make donors feel good about giving. Thank them and, when appropriate, do so publicly.
- Add-On to Other Events: Add fundraising to what your group is already doing. Consider how you can add a fundraising element to already planned actions and activities.
- Celebration: Celebrate victories and achievements. Reward friends, allies, and hard-working group members.
2. Fundraising Resources
3. List of Fundraising Ideas
Use these ideas to help you get started, but don’t limit yourself. Assess your group’s capabilities and let your creativity flow!
- Use social media tools to help you fundraise. Crowd-funding is a great tool.
- Apply for funding from your college/university. This could include your student government and departments within your school, which may sponsor events.
- Local businesses may be interested in donating resources and advertising your events.
- Have a birthday for Bhopal. Have your friends and family members donate the funds they would have spent on your birthday. This can also work for any other gift-giving occasion!
- Have donors pay $1 per vote to decide which form of “torture” to inflict on your organization’s leader (i.e. dye hair, dress as a clown, trade a job for a day).
- Host a fabulous party (did someone say karaoke party?) and have guests pay an entrance cost.
- Host a benefit event. When organizing performers and activities, think of the audience you are trying to target and what appeals to them most.
- Spa night! Offer to give manicures and pedicures to donors. Reach out to your local spa to see if they would be willing to donate their space and services.
- Concerts can be fun, but need to be planned carefully because they can easily lose money. Check to verify the musical tastes of your target audience before you arrange the music. Consider holding the concert outdoors in a park during the summer or at popular venue, such as a bookstore, bar or restaurant. Here’s a great guide on how to organize a concert.
- Consider putting on performances either using group members or members of a local drama club or theatre. Charge admission for the show and then sell refreshments and Bhopal merchandise. Be sure to have a table with information on the Bhopal gas disaster and your group at the show.
- A benefit meal is always a great option. A more elaborate benefit meal might be an Indian dinner, featuring food, music, and speakers from India. A more simple variation of this theme would be to hold a pancake breakfast or spaghetti dinner followed by a movie and/or local speaker.
- A curry-cook off! Or any other cook-off.
- Ask a local restaurant to donate a percentage of one night of their profits to the campaign in exchange for advertising.
- Attach yourself to an event that is already being planned. If you know members of a music act that have a scheduled show, ask them if they would donate the proceeds to your group. Or ask them if you can make a quick pitch in the middle of their set or pass around a donation box.
- Design t-shirts, buttons or other materials that can be sold at events. Check out our resources page for some examples and ideas!
- A bake sale is always a fun and easy way to raise funds!
- Jewellery sale! Ask friends and family to donate old jewelry that they no longer wear, and sell these items at your events.
- Have a yard sale, with the groups gently used items.
- Start a competition between classes, families or individuals by giving them each a coin jar to collect change for a set amount of time. The one with the most collected wins a prize.
- Raffles are a fun and simple way to earn money. Ask local businesses to donate prizes and sell tickets for a certain period of time. Some of the local businesses that donated might also be willing to sell tickets. Incorporate the raffle into the group’s work by having the drawing during a special event.
- Auctions are also a great idea. You can ask local businesses and friends to donate auction items.
- Everyone loves a good bingo game. Ask local businesses to donate prizes.
- Organize a walk, jog, run or bicycle marathon for Justice in Bhopal.
- Draw-a-thons, dance-a-thons, skate-a-thons, etc. take a little extra organizing but can be extremely profitable. Try to collect pledges in advance. You can ask for a block pledge ($10 for the event) or agree to have a certain number of drawings, dance a certain number of hours, etc. and ask for payment up-front. Include a speaker or show a Bhopal-related movie during a draw-a-thon. Set up a “thermometer” poster that is updated frequently to indicate how close the group is to reaching its goals.
- Get friends, colleagues and family to sponsor your group in a bowl-a-thon for Bhopal.
- Have supporters skip a meal and donate the amount they would have spent on their meal to the campaign.
- Have sponsors give up a certain activity every month, and donate the money saved to the campaign.
4. One Hundred More Fundraising Ideas!
Here are some more ideas, one hundred at the very least:
raffles – bazaars – egg and spoon races – karaoke evenings – bring and buy sales – auctions of promises – sweepstakes – spelling competitions – dog and cat shows – pony rides – hoopla – cake stall – sell home-made jams – ditto fruit wines – second hand book sale – run a marathon or a minithon – car boot sale – sponsored walk – scalextric racing – garage sale – tug-of-war – worst tie fine – swearing jar – donate a service – collecting tin in pub/restaurant – celebrity auctions (ask them to donate a personal item or give an autograph) – put on a play – singing contest – musical evening – archery contest! – make Christmas cards – organize a Bhopal Day – publish your own poetry mag – have an art exhibition – vintage car rides – sponsored swim – face painting – fashion show – summer barbecue – trivia quiz – wishing well – chess tournament – stage a football match – meet-a-celebrity dinner (if you can persuade a celebrity, and if you happen to be a celebrity you could have a quick whip round among your mates) – have an open day in your garden – plant sale – home-made lemonade stall – guess the weight of the cake (or vegetable marrow) – animal bingo (mark out a field in numbered squares, sell correspondingly numbered tickets, let loose a cow, if she dungs in your square you win) – barn dance – make and sell paper flowers – hire a band and organize a local gig – write and publish your own cook book – design a calendar – organize teams to wash cars – mow lawns – trim hedges – walk dogs and offer sundry other useful services – stage a talent show – hold a gurning championship – have a sponsored haircut – shave off that beard for Bhopal – heck shave off your eyebrows – give a foot massage – polish shoes – pub crawl – fancy dress disco (dress up party) – manicure – lunchtime concert in the park – school play or concert – walk around your city with a fridge (someone actually did this in Wales!)
Have a great idea? Let us know about it!