Fundraising 101


As a mother I am amazed by how generous people are with my children.  There have been so many times I’ve been blessed beyond anything I could express.

After 14 years of parenting I’ve become quite familiar with fundraising.  It seems that all schools do it and even other groups the kids are involved in do fundraising.  There are even things I am involved in that have expected fundraising efforts.  I have come to consider myself a bit of a ‘professional fundraiser’.  I am sure that’s probably a real job.  It’s not what I do and get paid to do full time, but I still do a lot of it.

I have lead the planning for the giant benefit we do for two local community educational programs at work two out of the last three years.  I was heavily involved in the third year, but I wasn’t in charge.  I also have been in charge of the fundraising for the church’s youth group for three out of the last four years.  I didn’t do anything this last year, and I’ve noticed that no one else planned anything.  And now, I’m in charge of the fundraising for the basketball team.  The good part about being in charge of it for so many different groups  is that most fundraisers can be reused by all the groups.  People still give money and are so supportive.  It’s fantastic.

There are a few standby fundraisers that I do that are generally low effort, low overhead cost, and seem to bring in an excellent amount of money for whatever we’re raising money for.  Here are a list of my favorites:

  • Bake Sale – it seems like so many people will volunteer to bake for these and then even more people are willing to buy.  We usually have them at our office because it’s filled with hungry engineers.  We’ve also coupled them with other fundraisers and that seems to work pretty well too.
  • Car wash – as long as the kids are supervised this is a pretty great fundraiser.  The kids enjoy doing it for the most part, people will generally donate over and above the expected amount.  I think that when we ask for ‘donations’ instead of asking for a specific fee we make more.
  • Recycle drive – having everyone in the group get their family, neighbors, and friends recycle they would normally just set out for the waste management to pick up or that they would normally take in for themselves and then taking them in for cash.  This is the easiest fundraiser I’ve EVER done.  Seriously, it’s so simple and so brilliant.
  • Taco or Italian dinners – we’ve done this a lot and have always had the food donated.  We have the kids dress up and ‘wait tables’.  Sometimes we have them do a little performance, but that’s not really necessary.  Some cheap dollar store decorations (that we can reuse over and over) make the dinner complete.  Spaghetti and tacos are cheap (especially when everything is donated).

There are lots of other good fundraisers.  Believe me, you will be involved in fundraising at some point and will be searching out this blog to help you.  You’re welcome. 😀

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