Collection of 6 Diverse Fundraising Ideas

in Cause Marketing,Event Fundraising,Fundraising

UPDATE: Dec 14, 2010 (Idea #7 at end of post)

During this past week I’ve come across six examples of creative fundraising.  Perhaps a few may even fit the category of guerilla fundraising.  In any event these are six ideas worth sharing.

Below you’ll find a link to each news story and a synopsis of the article.  Your challenge is to remain open-minded about how you might do something similar. 

1 – Trivia contest will aid food charity: Several businesses in town are participating as food drop-off centers for a local pantry – the Shepherd Center.  People must come to the stores/businesses to collect answers to trivia questions.  When they have all 12 answers they mail in their entry form to the newspaper for a drawing – either a trip or a gift card at a grocery store.

Takeaway: You don’t have time to organize this for the holiday season, but could your food bank / pantry do something like this for another holiday?  Valentines Day, Easter, or Mother’s Day? 

Or could a museum team with the historical society to raise funds for a project?  Get businesses to fund the prize; people pay an entry fee; solve the puzzle and are eligible for the prize drawing.  Get creative!

2 – Morgan Stanley Smith Barney “Perspectives in Philanthropy Gift Catalog :  “Many of our clients are looking for advice on how to make their giving more impactful and they are turning to us for advice,” said Melanie Schnoll-Begun, Managing Director of Philanthropic Services, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.  This company uses a gift catalog to showcase meaningful gifts and funding opportunities.  In includes a wide spectrum of 20 nonprofit organizations

Takeaway: Can your nonprofit get listed in next year’s catalog?  Or if you’re a small local or regional nonprofit, can you team with a financial planner locally to suggest your nonprofit as an investment option? There are several companies besides the one featured in this article. And don’t forget insurance agents because many of these companies also offer investment services.

3 – Concertgoers getting ticket to philanthropy: Musician Dave Matthews is testing an idea in Seattle in partnership with the website JustGive.  Matthews hopes it will inspire more charitable giving. 

Matthews is letting fans direct the proceeds of two upcoming Seattle shows to the charities of their choice. Every ticket is matched with an equal donation to philanthropy.  For each ticket sold, the buyer will receive a credit back for the full $150 ticket and handling price to apply to any of the 1.5 million charities in JustGive’s database.”

Takeaway:  If not already, then become a member of JustGive.  And if you are a member, are you encouraging your donors in this geographic area to attend the concert?  Or encouraging donors to give someone else the gift of a concert ticket and a donation in their name to your charity?

4 – Philanthropy gives books to Africa’s students:  A fraternity at Iowa State University is giving students another way to get rid of old textbooks – about 80-90% of which end up sitting on a shelf or packed away somewhere.  Pages of Promise, a philanthropy of ACACIA fraternity partners with Books for Africa in St. Paul, Minn., to ship and distribute the books among the libraries and universities in Africa. 

It’s an alternative option for students to give their books to underfunded schools, universities and libraries in Africa to improve literacy.

Takeaway: Can your college, university, fraternity or sorority also partner with “Books for Africa?”  Or if your nonprofit works with the very poor overseas (including any form of education or literacy), could you team with a college or university somewhere to get more quality books for the people you help?  What do other schools in your area – elementary, middle and high school – do with their old textbooks?

5 – Intentional Chocolate™ Provides Sweet Relief to nonprofit, USA Cares:  This chocolate maker “… has partnered with USA Cares pledging a 20% donation of net profits to the military charitable organization serving post-9/11 service members, veterans and their families.”  Intentional Chocolate will donate 20% of net profits up to one million dollars. 

USA Cares helps veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) by relieving them of the financial burden of maintaining their households while they seek in-patient treatment.   One reason this partnership is so strong is that Jim Walsh, CEO of Intentional Chocolate knows how difficult TBI can be. At the age of 32, he suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Takeaway: What partnering opportunities can you find?  What CEO or business owner can you connect with by effectively sharing your story through speaking engagements, press releases, social media, grassroots supporters, and so on? 

Depending on your mission, it might make a lot of sense to ask people who have experiences similar to those you help to contact you. There may be some very unique ways they can help you – spokesperson or even matching gifts such as International Chocolate is doing.  Opportunities exist on local, regional, national and international levels for nonprofits of all sizes.

6 – Red Sox baseball and philanthropy: The Red Sox Foundation selects 25 economically disadvantaged fifth graders from public school each year. The students receive tutoring, mentoring, after school enrichment and summer camp assistance through the 12th grade, culminating with a $10,000 college scholarship.

Takeaway: Are you located anywhere near a professional sports team?  Do you know what charities they support?  As shown by this article they don’t all focus on national programs, but also look to their local community.  This is because their fans that buy tickets to live events are from the local area.   Consider assembling a press kit / marketing kit to share with them.  Yes it needs to be well written, but I doubt they’ll expect glossy 4-color brochures from a small local nonprofit.  Take the approach of helping their fan base.

For example:  Do you help underprivileged kids in any way?  Maybe you can get a batch of tickets donated so the youth can attend a game.  Great PR opportunity for you and the sports team.

That’s all for now!  Creative fundraising opportunities abound.  Just be open-minded and don’t hesitate to ASK.  And remember, you’re not always asking for a direct donation.  Nonetheless, the right partnership can lead to more donors and fundraising as you work together to spread the word.

UPDATE Dec 14, 2010 – Idea #7:  Today I found another possible source of funding for nonprofits.  I came across this resource on Twitter and haven’t heard anything about it one way or the other.  But it seems worth checking out. Credit Cares” is the name of the company founded by Heidi Anderson.  And Credit Cares is a Division of Electronic Commerce International (a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA).

To quote what’s on the website: “Through her numerous volunteer experiences with many non-profit organizations Heidi developed a strong desire to make it easier for non-profits to raise money in a way that benefits everyone without costing anyone.  Heidi created Credit Cares so businesses could contribute to their favorite cause directly from the monthly processing fees they already pay without paying any additional fees and possibly even saving money.”