Many community groups, schools and other social impact organizations have very tight budgets and are dedicated to putting the money they do have toward their mission. So what do you do when it comes to fundraising? Does it really “take money to make money” as the old saying goes?

One of the best fundraising strategies is to plan fundraisers that require very little upfront cost. This can be accomplished through sales fundraisers, collection drives and sponsorships.

Sales Fundraisers

Many product sale fundraisers do not require an upfront purchase. Product fundraisers, such as candy, magazines or plant sales are very popular and could be a good solution for your organization.

If you have a large group of volunteers to sell the items, your sales fundraiser will be more successful. Each volunteer would just need to sell a few items for the entire group to raise a lot of money. You may find that you have some very dedicated “super sellers” who help push through to meet the fundraising goals.

Collection Drives

Partnering with businesses for a collection drive is another way to raise funds at no cost. Box Tops for Education is one example of this. This program will help schools earn up to $20,000 each year by clipping box tops from specially marked grocery products.

Recycling drives are another way to raise money for your cause. Your group can partner with recycling centers to collect newspapers or cans and get money back from the recycling center. Other programs such as cell phone recycling can also be profitable ways to raise funds. These drives also have a secondary outcome of helping to promote conservation and environmental awareness.

Collection drives are normally ongoing projects and may take several months to collect enough of the items to get a sizable redemption reward. A short term drive or “blitz” could also be successful with a large amount of community participation and dedicated work by your volunteers.

Donations and Sponsorships

Events such as dinner fundraisers normally require supplies to be paid for in advance. However, getting support in advance from businesses and individuals will help offset the cost of producing event fundraisers.

There are many ways that donations and sponsorships can support a fundraising event. For example, you could contact a local printer and ask that they donate printing for your mailings, programs or flyers. A corporate sponsorship program would allow businesses to “underwrite” costs for the event by making a financial contribution and in return the business gets advertising and publicity.

Finally, fundraisers such as silent auctions and raffles can be planned based solely upon donations of prizes by local businesses and individuals. Reducing upfront costs and getting donations and sponsorships are keys to having a successful fundraiser.

Posted on 07 October 2005

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