When it’s time to raise money for your club, you already have one major advantage: people. Even if you have a small budget, you have a team of passionate and invested volunteers ready to go to work.
Whether you need to buy new supplies and equipment, collect donations for a good cause, or fund a school trip, there are plenty of creative and inexpensive ways to make it happen. We won’t waste time explaining the fundraising suggestions you’ve probably seen a million times, like a car wash, bake sale, yard sale, dance marathon, and walk-a-thon.
Instead, we’ll give you a quick list of proven strategies used by clubs to fund projects, raise awareness, and attract new supporters. You can adapt these ideas for your school club, sports team, fraternity, sorority, or any other group. Here are five tried-and-true fundraising ideas for clubs.
1. Create a crowdfunding campaign
A crowdfunding campaign is an easy fundraising idea for clubs of all kinds, from drama club to fraternity and sorority life. The idea is to collect small donations from a lot of people instead of asking a few people for a lot of money. It’s easy and basically free to set up because it mostly takes place online.
Start a crowdfunding campaign in three steps:
1. Create an online fundraising page. Your club has to make a strong impression to inspire people to donate. So, include plenty of interesting videos and photos. According to Nonprofit Source, crowdfunding campaigns raise 150% more if they use personal videos.
Describe your club’s fundraising goal, how you’ll use the money, and what it means to your team or community members. Make sure people can pay conveniently using a credit card, Venmo, cash, and more.
Another pro tip: Create donation levels and offer small gifts for each level. People are attracted to crowdfunding because they want to help you, but thanking them with a gift never hurts. Here’s an example:
- $25 donation = personalized social media shoutout
- $50 donation = one club T-shirt
- $100+ donation = one ticket to a donor thank-you party
2. Share your campaign page via social media, email, and text. Before you start inviting everyone, it’s best to open donations to family and friends so you rack up funds early. That early success is contagious. People will be quicker to donate to a campaign that already has $400 rather than one with $10.
3. Update your supporters and say thank you. Never underestimate the power of “thank you.” As you hit different milestones ($500, $1,000, $3,000), take a few minutes to update your supporters, thank them, and remind people to keep sharing and donating. The next time you need to fundraise, people will remember how you showed your appreciation.
2. Host a fundraising event
Events provide yummy food, lively entertainment, or exciting items in exchange for donations. Hosting a day or night of fun is a great way to hit your club’s fundraising goal, large or small.
Generally, you’ll charge an event entrance fee or sell tickets to raise money. You can also ask people to raise a certain amount of money in order to attend the event. For instance, each contestant in your talent show fundraiser has to raise $50 as their entry fee. (This is an example of peer-to-peer fundraising, which can create friendly competition between individuals and team members.)
There are plenty of unique fundraising ideas to choose from, but here are some standouts for clubs:
- All-you-can-eat buffet: Pick a few crowd-pleasing dishes that are easy to make in large quantities (like pancakes, burgers, or chili). Reserve a space, charge admission, and you’re ready to go.
- Holiday-grams: Create bundles of cards and candy that people can give to school friends and teachers during the holiday season. Charge a small fee, and offer in-school delivery.
- Scavenger hunt: Arrange a scavenger hunt with a fun theme (school pride, rare sights, as seen on TV). See if a local business will donate a winning prize.
- Obstacle course: Rent space at a local park or use the school’s parking lot. Mud pits, rope walls, traffic cones, tires, and water hoses offer a challenge.
- Local restaurant partnership: Host group meals at a food or drink spot that will donate 10%-20% back to your cause. Many restaurants already have these programs in place — all you need to do is ask. Throw in karaoke or games, or follow it up with a movie night for more fun.
- Gala or formal: Who doesn’t like to get dressed up? Host a formal with performances by local artists, light food and drink, trivia, silent auction items, raffle tickets, and more.
- Workshop: As a group of skilled individuals and dedicated hobbyists, you can use your passion to raise money. For instance, a culinary club could host a series of cooking classes. Teach attendees in person or livestream the event.
3. Secure a sponsorship
Another way to raise money for a club is to get sponsored.
Sponsorships guarantee longer-term funding than one-off events and campaigns.
Companies, nonprofits, and individuals can sponsor your group.
Before you approach potential sponsors, define your goal. What do your members need? New uniforms? More space for your garden? Funds for transportation? Matching gifts for campaign donations? Make sure you know the price tag of what you want to raise funds for.
Next, figure out what you can offer in return for a sponsorship. A sports team, for example, could offer to put a company’s name on their jerseys or a stadium banner. Or, a sorority could share social media posts that promote their sponsor’s business.
Think about businesses and organizations that relate to your group’s mission and values. For instance, a Spanish language school group could reach out to their city’s Hispanic cultural center or a local Hispanic grocery store for a sponsorship. Create an engaging and effective script for your phone call or email by reading our tips on donation requests.
4. Rent out your space
If your club or sports team has its own training field or owns a meeting space, you could rent it out for money. Think of roughly how many hours or days you aren’t using your auditorium, garden, stage, or stadium each year.
Make a schedule showing your space’s free time slots and start reaching out. For instance, a high school softball team could rent their space to private and recreational softball teams in the area. And a garden club with a beautiful green space could easily rent out their location for weddings or other events.
If you have expensive or special equipment, this could be a win-win fundraising option. A woodworking club or pottery club, for example, could allow local artists or teachers to use their shop for a monthly fee.
5. Sell club merchandise
By selling merchandise, also known as “swag,” you can bring attention to an important cause while you promote your club and raise funds. This is a creative fundraising idea for clubs, and it works for a few simple reasons.
Merchandise like T-shirts, water bottles, hats, sunglasses, frisbees, temporary tattoos, and stickers are affordable and practical. They can be worn or used by kids, teens, and adults. As it’s easier than ever to design merchandise online and buy in bulk, this remains a cost-effective fundraising option for your club.
People will buy merchandise to support your group every year as long as you change up the style of your swag. This is especially true if you’re selling swag for a school group — family members, teachers, faculty, and staff members will snap up spirit gear for sporting events, performances, and more.
Hops for Housing is a great example of combining merchandise sales with a unique experience to create a memorable fundraising campaign.
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Rachel is a fundraising and marketing consultant for nonprofits whose aspiration since she was 16-years-old is simply this: help others, help others.