7 Fundraiser Ideas, Ranked

Fundraising is a good way to raise extra money for your group or for someone in your community. But, some kinds of fundraisers are more effective than others. Take a look at these seven different fundraiser ideas, ranked by how much money you can make from them, plus other factors.

7. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding takes many forms. About 10 years ago, it took the form of kids on sports teams asking strangers for money outside of supermarkets. Today though, a lot of these fundraisers take place online, on sites like GoFundMe or YouCaring.

If you have the right connections, it can be an easy way to get funds. However, crowdfunding campaigns are unreliable at best for most people. Most of the time, people just don’t have an incentive to donate to a crowdfunding campaign. Not to mention, some crowdfunding sites take a percentage of the money donated as a fee, so you may end up not getting as much money for your fundraiser as you’d thought.

6. Magazine, Fruit and Chocolate Sales

Because nothing says easy fundraising quite like making your kids go door-to-door. If you’ve had school-aged kids, you’ve probably had them bring home some variation of one of these. Most usually come with different rewards for those who sell certain amounts of orders. These could include anything from a touch lamp to a bike or higher-end electronics and more.

The problem with these mug sales is that they don’t make much money for your organization, especially compared to how much effort is involved. Still, these fundraisers are a billion-dollar industry, with $1.4 billion of $3.3 billion going toward the schools that use them. The more than half that remains goes back to the fundraising companies.

There’s a reason why these are such a popular fundraiser–it leaves most of the work to the professionals. However, after years of these being the “safe bet” option for school music art departments, flag football teams and everything in between, it may be worthwhile to look at another option for your next fundraiser.

5. Garage Sales

It’s like what you normally do when you’re spring cleaning, only the money you make goes toward your group. They’re also a bit unusual in a world of car washes and bake sales, so it may be easier to attract the public, if you advertise it right.

Garage sales are a good way for your group to get rid of anything at home that they’ve been wanting to clear out. However, the products you sell will command a low price point, especially if they’re clearly used. The success of this fundraiser is also dependent on what you’re able to bring and sell. Gently used electronics, books and other goods can bring in a little more money. However, if your team tries to sell items that are stained, broken or otherwise in questionable condition, it might not bode well.

4. Raffles and Silent Auctions

Raffles and silent auctions are a popular choice for fundraisers, especially when paired with other events. They can be a great way to get the public engaged with your organization. Some options for raffles can include 50/50 prizes, where the winner gets half of the money while your organization gets the other half.

But, you have to make sure you offer prizes that will entice. Plane tickets to a tropical destination? That works. The latest smartphone or tablet? Those usually do well. A refurbished 10-year-old laptop? Not so much. Needless to say, you usually get the results you paid for when you run a raffle. Prepare accordingly.

3. Straight Up Appealing to Your Members for Money

After years of fruit sales and car washes with mediocre success, more groups have chosen to directly appeal to their members for a one-time donation. The biggest perk of this type of fundraiser is that it gets you more money than others. It also has less potential for hassle than other fundraisers.

However, seeing a regular stream of appeals can get tiresome or annoying for some people. That’s why it takes so long for nonprofits like Wikipedia and NPR to complete their annual fundraisers. Unless you have a well-established organization with a strong reputation, don’t expect this to work multiple years in a row. Keep a few other fundraising options in mind, especially if your organization is still growing.

2. T-Shirt Sales

The biggest benefit to selling T-shirts for your fundraiser is that you have plenty of opportunities to customize.

Not to mention, T-shirts are relatively inexpensive to produce and customize, depending on the style and design of the T-shirts you want. The most basic shirt designs might feel a little rough, but they’re easy to produce and your local screen printer will have no issue putting a multicolor design on them. However, if you’re looking for a more modern feel, see what they have for lighter tri-blends from wholesalers like Next Level Apparel or Hanes.

You could also potentially combine your T-shirt sale with a design contest to engage members of your group. When you use the winning design your group members made themselves, it adds more of a personal touch to your fundraiser. Plus, your team could sell these T-shirts at events and keep making money for months to come, if not longer.

However, there is one drawback: T-shirts simply don’t command a high price point. Most people don’t want to pay more than a few dollars for shirts when they can often get them for free, so asking for $25 might be a stretch for some people.

1. Stoneware Mug Fundraisers

Are we biased? Of course. But, stoneware mug fundraisers can make more money per piece than other events. Unlike some other fundraising products, they’re custom made and designed to last a lifetime. Also, unlike many other fundraising products, Sunset Hill Stoneware and companies like it make their mugs in America. With their handmade quality and the fact that they’re an American product, stoneware mugs command a higher price point. In our case, they’re also eco-friendly.

With stoneware, you can customize your own design like you would with a T-shirt sale and capture just as much detail, if not more. Plus, if you offer a different design or new color and style combinations during new fundraising campaigns, you can keep selling them from year to year without the fatigue other products cause. These are collector’s items and pieces of functional art, after all, and they show you have an eye for quality. Plus, unlike T-shirts, you can potentially use these every day with your morning coffee.

No matter what you choose for your next fundraising event, always remember that you know your organization’s needs. You could combine different types of fundraisers, or experiment with one we haven’t listed here. However, products like stoneware mugs show you care about quality and come with more benefits than most types of fundraisers. Check out our fundraising program to learn how you can make more from your next fundraiser today.

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  1. […] This blog post was originally published on Sunset Hill Stoneware’s blog in February 2020. The original post is located here. […]

  2. […] coffee mugs add a “wow” factor that you simply won’t find with more traditional fundraisers. T-shirts can fade and turn into painting clothes in a matter of months. Even the highest quality […]