Of course, nonprofits need money to get started. Where do we find this money is the question? Your life savings? The invisible money tree in the backyard? Oh no! It’s coming from donations and grants that will magically start flowing in now that you have your 501c3 tax status! That probably won’t happen either! But there is an answer. Fundraising for the infant nonprofit won’t necessarily reel in tens of thousands of dollars, but it can definitely be a lifeline to acquire some of the immediate needs while you build your capacity. But doesn’t it cost money to raise money? Yes. However, your first fundraiser doesn’t have to be a silent auction or a huge banquet. Here are some options that can be very helpful.
5 Fundraising Ideas
A Garage Sale
Find at least 10 items in your home that you no longer use, wear, or need. Ask family and friends to donate five items they no longer want or need. Distribute signs and post on Facebook about the sale. Have the sale on your organization’s parking lot or get a park permit. You can sell parking spaces to other people who prefer to sell their own items and make some money ($40 if you supply the table or $15 if they have to bring their own table).
Make your own raffle tickets and sell them for $5 each or 5 tickets for $20. While you may spend forty or fifty bucks up front, ten tickets recoups for out of pocket cost. Everyone knows at least two people who will support them by donating $20. Choose raffle items that cost you $200 or less. These items don’t need to be purchased until after people have turned in money for tickets. Get your leadership team, church members, and or clients to help sell tickets. You can also get items donated (gift certificates, facials, weekend getaways, laptops, tablets, etc).
Host A Community Fair
Host a community fair on your parking lot. Rent out parking spaces to vendors for $45 each. Ten spaces will generate $450 up front with no expenses from it. After that, set up your own booth and sell cookies, plants, or something.
Teach A Workshop
Facilitate a workshop on a topic you know. It can be “How to Study the Bible,” “How to Start a Business,” or anything you are knowledgeable about. Charge a fee of no more than $25 per person. If you register 20 people, you will have $500. Ask a catering company to sponsor the event by providing refreshments and beverages valued at no more than $100. Offer a small marketing / brand promotion opportunity to them in exchange. Include their logo on your promotional material for the event. Allow them to leave brochures there for your guests.
Have A Tournament
Host a community softball or kickball tournament. Participants can pay a fee of $60 to register and that includes a free t-shirt with your logo on it. I suggest only having 5 games to keep interest. Schedule an awards ceremony at the end to recognize all participants and the champions. Participants receive one free ticket and can sell $20 tickets to their family members and friends. This will help to raise awareness of who you are and what you do in the community while raising money to support your mission.