There are so many effective (and not so effective ways) to raise money for charity. Nowadays, success quite often comes down to attitude and imagination. The internet has opened a lot of doors for fundraisers, enabling you to share your mission and generate some interest in your cause. It also offers several great platforms that make donating much easier – no more chasing supporters for their cash, post-skydive! Whether you choose a traditional route or a digital one, here are some initial ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Make use of online fundraising tools
An online charity fundraising page (or ongoing fundraising account) is the perfect platform from which to launch your charity fundraising efforts. It keeps all of your donations neatly in one place and makes it quick and simple for supporters to donate to you. Never underestimate people’s desire for an easy life – if the process of donating money online becomes too convoluted, they likely won’t bother.
Using the free to register fundraising tools available from ifundraise.ie, groups and individuals can create a fundraising page quickly and easily, with all funds going to your chosen cause. There is a commission, but the donor is given the option to cover this. You can even add a blog section, a Twitter feed, images and videos to bring your page to life and create more buzz around your mission. Think about what you would like to see if you were donating to someone else’s charitable effort – include details, statistics and an inspiring overall message about the work of your chosen charity and how you plan to raise money for them.
Host an event
One of the tried and tested ways of making money for charity is by hosting a ticketed event, with all the the profits raised going towards your donation. You will likely come up against some initial costs, so make sure you sell the tickets at a high enough markup to ensure that you will gain money – not lose it. You should also be prepared to get organised, as running an event is no picnic (unless, of course, you host a picnic).
And that’s it. You’ve got your business model, now what kind of event will you create? It could be anything that you think people will want to come to – naturally there will be some common sense involved. Throwing a garden party in the middle of January might not get many takers. Why not try a barn dance? A coffee morning with tea and cakes? A games night? A cabaret? A murder mystery? Use your imagination, and keep in mind your available budget and resources. Here’s a guide to running a successful charity fundraising event.
Sell your wares
Making sales is a great way to reward your patrons for their charitable donations to you, and there are many ways to go about it. You could go down the traditional route and hold a jumble sale, or book a stand at a village fair. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you could even set up a temporary pop-up shop, which provides a great way to meet lots of customers without any of the expensive overheads of a traditional shop. If you decide to try the pop-up route, make sure you have plenty to sell for it to be worth the extra effort.
The other option is to open an online store. This can be done very quickly and easily – there are even free trials you can use to get started for nothing. Whether you sell your own wares – second hand items or things you’ve made – or you sell through a wholesaler or dropshipping supplier, all of this can be easily managed through an online store and set up for very little. Make it clear that all of your proceeds will be going to charity, and be sure to market yourself like crazy so that people will find you.
It’s good to challenge ourselves once in a while. So why not do it for charity? There are all kinds of different challenges we can set ourselves and get sponsored for: the only limit is your imagination (and safety of course). Just make sure it’s something that constitutes a genuine challenge for you – that way it is more likely to capture people’s imagination. Never run a mile in your life? Sign up for a marathon in 6 months’ time. Particularly fond of your big, bushy beard? Shave it off. Known for your love of chocolate? Give it up for 6 months, or a year – just make sure that what you’re doing is compelling for those donating – and then of course, you must actually do it. No cheating allowed. Here are some more ideas to get you thinking.
Make sure you have some proof that you completed the challenge. Why not try keeping a video diary or a written log of your progress? If it’s a one-off event, try getting someone to live tweet the whole thing.
Offer your services
Maybe you don’t have products you can sell, but you do have skills? Whatever they are, you might be able to put them to good use and raise some extra funds for your charity. It’s good old-fashioned graft that raises money and helps someone out at the same time. Why not consider one of the following:
- Hair braiding – at fairs, fetes and children’s parties, this is always very popular with girls
- Face painting – likewise, no children’s party or school fair is complete without a face painting stand. Learn how to face paint using online tutorials
- Car washing – if you work in an office or business park, you could offer to wash all of your colleagues cars for a small sum on your lunch break.
- Gardening – weeding, planting or a general tidy-up will always be appreciated by a time-short neighbour with a large garden to maintain.
- Bag packing – at a supermarket or smaller food store, bag packing is easy work – as long as you remember not to put the soft things at the bottom!
- Busking – if you’re musically inclined then make the street your stage and do a little busking. Make sure you display a sign to let people know you are busking for charity.
- House cleaning – it’s easy for housework to pile up these days, so why not take a load off someone’s hands for a donation to your cause?
- Babysitting/petsitting – if you know any parents with young children who would love a night out, or a family with animals who are leaving to go on holiday, offer to help out in exchange for a charitable sum.
- Use your existing skills – you don’t necessarily need to do odd jobs if you already have a skill (perhaps your job) that you can use. If you’re a graphic designer, you could design a logo for someone. If you’re an accountant, offer to do someone’s accounts. Offer your services for very slightly less than the going rate, and watch the donations mount up.
With fundraising, a good rule of thumb is to think about what it takes for you to feel motivated to donate money. Likely you would want to see that the person has done their research and is taking the project seriously – and if they find an inspiring and creative way of capturing your attention, even better. Be sure to remind people gently through social media, etc. from time to time, but take care that you don’t become pushy. Most importantly of all, remember to sincerely thank the people that do take the trouble to donate or buy something from you.
What are your experiences raising money for charity? What did and didn’t work for you? Let us know what you learned in the comments.