Low Cost Fundraising Ideas That Are Surprisingly Effective

The act of collecting funds to benefit a good cause can lead to very impressive outcomes. Platforms like GoFundMe help fundraisers to get out the word to huge audiences, but technology isn’t always needed to be effective. A lot of community-based efforts to fundraise for local organizations, schools, clubs, and even individuals are some of the best means of getting results. Continue reading below to discover how low-cost fundraising ideas can be fun and effective.

Getting Started with Fundraising  

Fundraising typically begins with someone taking notice of an issue that is important, but it bothers them because they cannot solve it individually. Perhaps there is a local community center struggling to stay open, or a neighbor needs money to buy a car. After someone decides that action has to be taken, a goal and organizational structure is put in place. A fundraiser can be headed by a single person or a team of people who have taken notice. The group would then set an end date for their fundraising efforts, deciding to ramp up or even end their campaign in order to meet their goal.

Soliciting Donations of Time, Money, or Things

The best way to keep fundraising efforts low-cost is to solicit whatever you can for free. If you were to hold a fundraising event in a venue, you would preferably want to host it in one that has offered their facilities for free. Fundraisers are operated mainly by teams of unpaid volunteers who can work as doormen, ushers, ticket collectors, cashiers, auctioneers – you name it. Labor is highly valuable when it comes to fundraising, but donations of money or even materials are also crucial. Consider asking for a donation of money to your cause and rewarding those who contributed the most funds with the gift of laser engraved bricks. Commemorate all especially generous contributions with the names of those who donated to be included in the garden, archway, or even building that benefited from your fundraising efforts.

Have a Weekend Car Wash

A great idea for fundraising at a low cost is to have a car wash. The equipment that you need is extremely low cost; some rags, buckets, soap, and maybe a bit of car polish is all you need to potentially raise thousands of dollars. Of course, you will need plenty of people to volunteer to actually wash the cars, but out-of-pocket costs will be nominal. Choose a weekend where your fundraiser won’t conflict with other events, and hold it over multiple days if everything goes according to plan. Check the weather, set a date for your car wash, and hang up as many fliers as you can. 

Hold a Creative Auction 

Auctions are exciting for participants because they combine the competitiveness of bidding along with people’s desire to have something unique. You might find a local painter willing to donate several of their earlier works, or a chef willing to donate their time in preparing a special meal. You can auction anything, not just physical items. Either way, be sure to set reserves and consider selling tickets to the auction itself. Announce prominently what cause the auction will be benefitting, and wait for interesting people to start pouring in. 

Host a Bingo Night 

A lot of people might think that bingo is boring, but it actually is a laidback activity that is surprisingly social, too. You might play a game of bingo individually, but you will surely enjoy the company of those around. Hold a bingo night for your fundraiser where the top prize isn’t cash, but a designer purse, gift certificate to a local eatery, or membership at the nearby golf club. You should be able to get enough donations to make your bingo fundraiser beneficial to participants, leading to more participation. Bingo will bring out participants of all ages, as it is a family-friendly activity.  

Organize a Bake Sale  

It might not seem like selling a lot of cookies could actually result in a good deal of money. Bake sales are a wonderful way to keep your fundraising efforts low-cost because it really doesn’t take much cash to serve up baked goods. Additionally, bake sales are home to more than chocolate chip cookies. You can bake up decadent mini cheesecakes, fruit tarts, and other pastries that are typically sold for more. Consider baking up large batches of cookies, selling them by the dozen and netting more profits. Baked goods usually stay good for upwards of a week or so, which can make it possible for you to host multiple lengthy, all-day bake sales, where you would get a nearly endless, revolving door of donations. 

Put on a Carnival, Fair or Raffle

Hosting a fair or carnival might take loads of effort, but it can also be low-cost. Games of chance, food vendors, and entertainment are the main attractions for carnival visitors, and all of these can be sourced almost for free. Set up a table where you hold a raffle, selling tickets until you meet your fundraising goal. Games of chance work really well for fundraising efforts as some people will continue to buy turns until they finally walk away with an inexpensive teddy bear or t-shirt. You will need a lot of volunteers to ensure that your event goals off without a hitch, but if you create roles for everyone and have periodic meetings, a single carnival or fair could help you to hit the fundraising mark.

The key to ensuring that your fundraising efforts remain low-cost is pre-planning and organization. Planning allows fundraisers to source the materials, manpower, facilities, and donations needed to cross the finish line. It is important to spend plenty of time in the organizational stage rather than just jumping straight into fundraising. You’ll need time to round up enough volunteers. Your volunteers will need time to understand their positions and roles. Everyone involved requires the space to brainstorm together and feel like they are working together. What you don’t need is a lot of money in order to get the fundraising ball going.