Fundraising doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. Sure, people raise millions every year with black tie galas and huge charity races. But you don’t need to plan an event like that to raise money for a good cause. You can do lots of fundraising in your free time, without spending a penny.
Free Fundraising Ideas
Free fundraising ideas don’t cost anything to get started, but they’ll nonetheless raise valuable funds for your special cause. Here are some ideas:
- Online fundraising. Appeal to your friends, family and co-workers for donations. Use free sites like FirstGiving to collect and manage the funds you raise.
- Sponsored event. Ask people to pledge money for your cause. You can do anything: Something silly (don’t brush your hair for a week), something athletic (run a marathon) or something in between (give up chocolate for a month).
- Be creative. Sell one of your talents in exchange for donations. For example, you could paint portraits, make jewelry, or do odd jobs. Use your own stock of hobby supplies to create the first few items, then use incoming donations to supplement future items.
- Busk. Street performances are legal in most public areas. Put yourself front-and-center in one of these places and raise money for a good cause. Take donations for song requests (hopefully you’re a decent singer!), dance or recite poetry. In most cases you won’t even need to pay for a permit (but ask just in case).
Free Fundraising Tips
If you still have your heart set on running a big fundraising event, there are some things you can do to avoid spending money.
- Ask businesses to donate venues, goods and time. Anything is possible with the right volunteers. Recruit a team of do-gooders who will donate their skills to your fundraiser. For example, if you want to have a charity dinner, ask a local restaurant to donate their space, speak to a PR company about publicizing your event for free, and recruit your most-talented foodie friends to cook and serve meals. It’s a win-win for your charity and the businesses, who get positive publicity and a tax write-off.
- Look for “No Money Down” fundraising options. Certain types of fundraisers, such as cookie dough or pizza kit sales, do not require a down payment to start selling products. You collect payments from your customers, which you use to reimburse the fundraising company for the goods that you sell. Plenty of money changes hands, but it’s not yours!
There is an old adage that holds true for fundraising: “Good. Fast. Cheap. Pick any two.” With free fundraisers, you’ve already chosen to be cheap. So you can either throw together a quick fundraising task, or put in a lot of creative effort to get your event off the ground. Free fundraisers may not end up being the biggest or most glamorous events, but you can still do plenty of good by being creative and keeping an open mind.