As a fundraising professional, your first priority is to inspire others. For you, job one is to excite your volunteers and core constituents who, in turn, become enthusiastic enough to inspire your donors to give generously to your cause. There are times, though, when your well of creativity feels as if it has run dry. Amassing unique fundraising ideas can be difficult in the best of circumstances – when you’re running on empty, though, it can seem impossible.
Courage, fundraiser. Help is on the way.
Too often, we employ the same old non-profit fundraising strategies in the same old way year after year. Tried and true is a good thing to be sure, but people like variety. If your usual fundraisers are coming up short, it’s time to do some brainstorming. With a bit of ingenuity and a little help from your friends, you can create a long and fruitful list of unique fundraising ideas that are sure to capture the imagination of not just your volunteers, but also the members of your donor pool.
The key to successful fundraising efforts hinges upon the interest and excitement generated by the idea behind the event. When you find a unique fundraising idea, the amount of enthusiasm you can generate around it makes all the difference. Some fundraisers create more intensity than others. A silent auction, for example, pales when compared to something as uber-innovativeas Porcupine Races, which are working well for organizations in Oregon and Idaho, or Polar Bear Plunges that generate funds via peer-to-peer and crowdfunding for non-profits fundraising campaigns.
Know that a world of innovative fundraising ideas is out there just waiting for you even if you have a porcupine shortfall or happen to be bereft of frozen waters.
Add Home Town Seasoning
Your community is brimming over with local flair. You may be too close to see it at the moment, particularly if you’ve been at it for a while, but it’s there. Get a group of your best volunteers together and hold a brainstorming session. Make sure that your team members understand that there are no boundaries when it comes to ideas in this setting. What makes brainstorming effective is to let the ideas flow without the bottlenecks of practicality or the dams almost always offered by nay-sayers. Get yourself a pile of ideas, including outlandish ones. (Seriously. Who on earth would have imagined that otherwise sane people would actually volunteer to be jockeys on a race-track for prickly porcupines? But volunteer they do – in droves. The event is not just a hugely successful fundraiser, it is, as they will happily tell you, “a hoot.”)
In the world of creativity, knocking down the obstacles can be the most difficult task. It’s not unlike those puzzles involving wooden blocks and bits of knotty rope one often finds in family restaurants or doctors’ waiting areas. The answers are almost always simple however, they are rarely obvious. At the risk of sounding cliche, in order to be successful, one must think outside the tortilla.
New solutions to old problems can be found – sometimes instantly – when the “can’t factor” is eliminated. A very wise woman once said; “The word can’t always means won’t.” Encourage your counterparts to imagine resourceful answers to old, seemingly insurmountable challenges. When you and your volunteers refuse to accept “NO” as an answer, you will be amazed at the complications you can resolve in short order.
Utilize Fundraising Software & Resources
You may think your creativity is hemmed in by budget shortfalls and staffing gaps. You probably spend much of your time searching for ways to find sufficient time and money to create the very event that is meant to get you more time and money. Resources, or lack thereof, can represent a death spiral for many non-profit organizations. The secret is to leverage every penny, every snippet of time available to you. That’s where technology comes in.
By investing in a suite of excellent fundraising software programs, you can extend your reach – and do far more with the resources you have at hand. Fundraising software can help your non-profit plan, manage and execute fundraising events more effectively and without much of the effort and expense. By using the best tools for the job, you will be amazed at the time and money you can liberate for other projects.
At Dojiggy, we supply free creative fundraising ideas and the software to help you organize and implement your event. We have numerous fundraising resources and templates that you may download and customize, helpful fundraising tips and guidelines, along with numerous planning tools for your next fundraiser. No matter what manner of unique fundraising event you choose – a themed walk-a-thon or Color Run, Golf Marathon, Dancing with the Local Stars, Pray-a-thon or Sit-a-thon for your church or meditation community fundraiser, or any other kind of fundraising event or donation drove – the myriad of resources we offer are sure to help your organization achieve success.
Explore New Ideas
The best time to be in the fundraising business is right now. New and innovative ideas from around the planet can be yours at the click of a mouse. No longer is it necessary to harvest tired ideas from the same dedicated batch of volunteers year after year. Today, your brainstorming team is a global one. You can browse fundraising ideas from around the world and some of them, we assure you, bring new meaning to the phrase unique fundraising ideas.
Whether you are leaning toward a traditional event like a charity golf tournament or something with an engaging twist, like a golf tournament played in a cow pasture – complete with its bovine inhabitants – armed only with putters and tennis balls, your level of creativity counts. The keys to the fundraising castle lie in your ability to come up with a truly great idea, then infect the members of your organization with enthusiasm. Get out there and stretch your imagination muscles!
To get you started, we’ve created a list of 50 easy and unique fundraising ideas you can use to sweeten your contribution pot. Most of all, have fun!