FUNdraising Ideas Notebook

© 2001Rick Miller/Designs for Development


FAIRS & CARNIVALS: booths and activities either home grown or commerical enterprises that come in and work on a split.

Home grown or do it your self carnivals are lots of fun, gives each member an important role and if done well easily becomes one of those traditional events that everyone looks forward to each year.

*Speed throw - set up a baseball throwing area, get the local plice to bring out their speed radar. Folks will stand inline just to see how fast they can throw a baseball. Set a prize for different age categories for fastest pitch, it keeps them coming back to try to beat the best.

COOK OFFS: Chili, cookies, gumbo, bar-b-que, any thing that can be cooked can be turned into a cook off contest. Charge an entry fee, tasting fee, judging fee, sell ads.

Children's festivals/parties: "Breakfast with Santa Claus", Gigantic Easter Egg hunt, Children's Nite Out, Children's Dinner Theater with a clown magician, hot dogs, and dessert.

Sales: White Elephant sales, Second Hand Albums, Flea Markets, affordable Christmas gifts for college folks (artist come into the building and sell and you get a cut)

Haunted houses: mystery cruises, who-done-it murder parties, treasure hunts, polaroid scavenger hunts

Road rallies, road races

Sports Tournaments: golf, tennis, softball, HOOP DE DOO ( three man team basketball tournament), volleyball . . .

For sports tournaments you can make money three ways:


FOOD: If you do food. . . look at ways you can really make it different. A typical bake sale is not profitalbe! Sell food, but in a novel way for instance:

"Breakfast in Bed Valentine's Basket" with fresh bagels, pasteries, cream cheese, jelly and gourmet coffee and fruit packaged in a basket.

One college we know of has two organizations that makes their own maple syrup. At Parents Day, they sponsor a free pancake breakfast, all the PANCAKES you can eat, sample syrup is out on the table in small, really small quantities. If you want syrup you can buy it in pints and quarts. They make lots of money and rarely have any product left over.

Hot potato sale at football games in the fall: low investment, high profit. In cold weather, some have sold these as edible hand-warmers!

Homemake ice cream (great from spring or summer softball games) and fruit, toppings served in a cone.

If you absolutely want to sell baked goods, package them by putting them in baskets or decorative tins and sell them as gifts: i.e. roommate day, faculty appreciation, etc.



Using animals in a humane manner you might consider:

Not so wacky, but fun races:

Balloon races - hot air ballon rides and festivial- sell entry fees, sell rides, sell photos

Poker runs - either for walkers, joggers, bikers, or road rallies:

participants pay entry fee, are given a map or clues for the route, as they check in at each periodic check point, they are given a playing card. Best poker hand at the end of the race wins. Costs: party at the end , prizes (if not donated), t-shirts, several decks of cards, refreshments, and advertising. Non-participants can pay a fee for short-cut directions, tickets to the party and get their cards dealt at the door. You can have more than one category of winning hands.

Bathtub races, wacky raft, buggy....create an event on campus. Charge entry fee, sell T-shirts, Ad space, sponsorships, and concessions.


Just for fun ...

Val-O-Grams - singing valentinves - cheaper than flowers and the memory lasts forever!

Balloon Farm: Sell balloons that can be delivered on campus with special cards attached.

Campus Holiday Cards: a photo or line drawing of someplace distincitive of your campus printed with envelopes and packaged up in packs of 10 sell well.

Art/poster sales: contract an outside vendor, they set up a booth and you take a percentage

Plant sales: they bring them in and you get a cut

Pumpkin sale/carving for Halloween: provide customized or personalized Jack O Lanterns or the "plain" pumpkin for the do-it your self folks.

Gift wrapping prior to Christmas:

Drawings: jam boxes, CD players, win your books, senior rings, reserved parking places.

One school recently worked the lobby and lines at the Campus Bookstore the first week of school. They sold nubered certificates for $3.00, when the winning number was selected - the organization would pay for up to $300.00 of books. Lesser prizes included T-shirts, caps, and supplies.

Another school had a similar approach, but the prize was a $1,500 computer package. Donations were accepted (in accordance to local and state gaming laws), tickets were passed out and the winner announced at their first event. Your donation reciept was the ticket for admission also! In that you had to be present to WIN, they built the audience for the season opener, their bank account grew and active recruitment got them a lot of new members.


Curb painting - paint street numbers on house curbs in reflective paint

Window washing - either commercial or residential.

Cleaning out rain gutters - work those neighborhoods before and after fall.

Stadium/coliseum clean-ups: contract with the venue to provide clean up service after big events when they need quick turn-arounds for their location.

Snow removal for sidewalks or driveways. Sell on subscription basis.

Contract to clean up construction fraternity I talked with would make $300 per house to scrub and make ready the new bathrooms, remove window and appliance decals, dirty hand marks on walls and vaccum the house. For doing a good job on the inside, the contractor would pay them extra to haul off the wood, bricks, cans and debris left on site before the landscaping folks showed up. In a new subdivision, this group did about 40 homes. With about 35 members working, it spread the work out over a couple of months and everybody had a great time. A few of the brothers ended up with jobs for the summer working for various contractors.

Removal of political candidates signs following elections. In some areas that strictly enforce election advertising laws, and sign pollution laws - some savvy organizations have contacted all the candidates in the election. Their offer: for a suggested donation, the group would remove and dispose of all the campaign signs immediately following the election. By doing a majority of the candidates and propositions, the work was very profitable. Volunteer organizations often fall apart after an election, so this provides a needed service for the community.


The Clever, if you can do it department:

Sidewalk sale: this one group looked around campus and noticed that there was a path that everyone took that was not a sidewalk. So they sold sections of the sidewalk to organizations. As the cement was poured, the organizations wrote their letters, made tile mosaics of their logos, etc. in the cement.

I hope this stimulates your thinking. If you have any questions about how to do any of these or need more ideas give us a call. Remember: FUNdraisers should be designed to do more than just make money. Have fun.


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