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15 Fundraising Ideas for Teams

By: Tina Shaffer

Fundraising ideas are key to success. Whether you’re hosting a traditional or unique fundraiser, it’s important to be creative and to have an effective campaign that will grab the attention of potential donors. Check out 15 different fundraising methods to help you and your team raise money for your Destination Imagination tournament.

  1. Crowdfunding: Fundraise where a lot of people are at… online! Many personal fundraising websites, such as GoFundMe and Crowdrise, are free to create, are customizable and feature sharing tools to help you easily spread the word about the great work your team is doing while raising money.
  2. Garage/Yard Sale: Like they say—one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Gather items you no longer need or want. Talk to friends and neighbors about your cause and ask them if they would be willing to donate their used items (furniture, clothes, electronics, books, toys, etc.) for your fundraiser. And don’t be afraid to price items generously as many people will tend to bargain the prices down.
  3. Fundraising Breakfast or Dinner: Mangia! From pancake breakfasts to barbeque to spaghetti dinners, dining fundraisers are extremely popular. (You can even do a few gluten-free dishes with all the options now available!) However, hosting this type of fundraiser is not enough. In addition to selling tickets, have a donation jar, raffle tickets and silent auctions to increase your potential donations.
  4. Walkathon: Walkathons (even dog walkathons or dance marathons) are great fundraising activities that get everyone on their feet to support a great cause. They’re also relatively affordable fundraising events. You could also design some cool merchandise to sell at your walkathon, such as t-shirts or water bottles, to raise additional money.
  5. Bake Sale: Many DI teams have had sweet success hosting a bake sale. A bake sale can be as little as a table set up with cookies, cupcakes and a donation jar, or they can be larger events with vendors, auctions and even a bakeoff with neighbors and local bakers. In addition to baking your own goods, ask friends, family members and supporters of your cause to bake and donate cakes, cooks, muffins, pies and other delicious goods.
  6. Silent Auction: A silent auction is a great fundraising method that can be done as standalone event, including online, or as part of another fundraising event. From fun outings to tickets to a museum or play to restaurant gift cards, you can provide a range of items up for auction. To avoid spending too much money on prizes, work with local businesses on donations that will help bring them business in return.
  7. Restaurant Night: Many national restaurant chains, including Chipotle, McDonald’s and Pizzeria Uno, sponsor fundraisers for schools and community organizations and will donate a percentage of sales on a dedicated day/evening to the organization or school. Be sure to sit and enjoy a meal with your own family!
  8. Adult Spelling Bee: Get the word out and bring your community together for a fun, hilarious and nerd-filled night where adults are tasked with being in the spotlight. Invite local celebrities to compete or at least attend your event. In addition to charging admission, consider setting up a donation jar and offering a raffle for a few prizes, such as local restaurant gift certificates.
  9. Donation Letter Requests: This is a great opportunity to let your community know about the important work your team is doing! Reach out to local businesses, as well as friends and family, and ask for a monetary donation or items for an upcoming fundraiser you’re hosting.
  10. Car wash: Car washes are popular fundraising events because they require very little planning and work really well for groups. Consider whether you want to accept donations or charge a set amount. And make sure you have a reliable source of water!
  11. Live Event: Host and sell tickets to a live event of your choosing, such as a karaoke, a variety or fashion show, or even a duct tape dance!
  12. Pie in the Face: Pie in the Face can be incorporated into many different types of fundraisers or can be done as a stand-alone event. For a small donation, $3 for one pie or $5 for two, event attendees can toss a pie in the face of your mayor, teacher, principal, or even your DI team.
  13. Scavenger Hunt: Scavenger hunts are great for groups of all ages. Charge an admission fee and host a raffle for additional prizes. Make sure your scavenger hunt is challenging but not so difficult that it takes away from the fun. You can even get a little more creative by selecting a theme for your event.
  14. Basket Bingo: People love playing bingo. Purchase gift baskets or reach out to local organizations and friends to have friends donate items/money for prize baskets. You can sell admission tickets and hold additional raffles for special prizes at your event.
  15. Pajama Day: School starts early and even kids have days where they want to stay in their pajamas and sleep in. Work with your school in setting up a designated day where students can donate one or two dollars and wear their pajamas to school.

No matter which option(s) you choose, it’s important to be creative, to tap into all of your networks, and to make sure you promote your event. Reach out to local media! If you have a community newspaper, meet with the editor and let him or her know about DI and your team’s accomplishments. The paper may be willing to feature a donation drive or a fundraiser you are organizing, which will make your event more successful.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to be yourself and have fun. If you and your team are enjoying yourselves and are passionate about your cause, your community members will be more likely to make a donation.

Best of luck, teams!