Fundraisers come in many shapes and forms. CAMDEN Foundation's fundraisers included a bowl-a-thon, snowball tournament, cowpie bingo, beach party, craft sales, bake sales, candlelight ski, run-walk-roll race, and auctions. Below is a "how to" for each fundraiser and which was the most successful for CAMDEN.
BOWL-A-THON: Talk to local bowling alleys, they will sometimes donate the use of lanes for this fundraiser. The bowlers will then get people to sponsor them, either per pin, or a flat fee. HINT: The board tried both ways, and the flat fee is much easier to keep track of because you don't have to keep track of pins knocked down. Have the bowlers bring the money in, that are flat fees, the day of the event. Get small prizes donated for things like each "turkey" bowled (3 strikes in a row), splits hit, or strikes. Small things like free food at a local fast food restaurant. Raffles of different items can go on during the event, items like dinners or other items. Then at the end, put each bowlers name in for a drawing and let each person draw a number which will correspond to a prize. Having a large raffle prize is great to sell tickets for that, also. We used a small color tv, donated by a local store. This type of fundraiser takes very little effort if you get a committee together to help.
SNOWBALL TOURNAMENT: This is a lot of fun and its something that can be done in the winter. It involves asking local law enforcement agencies and fire departments to participate against one another. A snowball tournament is simply a softball tournament done in the snow. If you are in the north, this is easy to do, just paint a softball neon orange, and "have a ball". Eight or nine-person teams with a fee per team and trophies as prizes makes this a very good fundraiser. You can sell coffee and hot chocolate, food during the games, and its a lot of fun, to play and/or watch. For those where there is no snow, you can have a softball tournament, you will raise money that way also.
BARNYARD BINGO: A twist on the old bingo, this one was done during our beach party, and CANNOT be rigged. A cow is released into a fenced in area which is marked with 20 squares with numbers on each. The people buy a square for $5.00 each and whatever number the cow "leaves its pie" on wins. If there are two numbers, then the money is split. Farmers are many times willing to lend the cows for the day. We were able to hold 3 such contests throughout the beach party, and people loved watching and waiting. You give back whatever amount of money you wish, I believe we did a fourth of what we earned during each game.
BEACH PARTY: Get bands to donate playing time, sell food, tickets to get in, and hold contests with inexpensive prizes and hold a raffle, this fundraiser is GUARANTEED fun and will make you money. Having a small entry fee for the contest helps, but is not always necessary. Charging a quarter a contest adds up throughout the day. Contests included a dance contest in which we crowned a king/queen-prince/princess of the party, children's fishing pond, an "anything that floats" raft race, sand sculpture building contest, sand volleyball contest and greased watermelon race. Remember to have a rain date set up and get donations of prizes from local businesses to help out.
CRAFT OR BAKE SALES: This is something which the entire organization can help with. During Christmas or easter are good times to find a mall or store and set up a table to sell baked goods or craft goods. The bake sales the Board held were very successful.
CANDLELIGHT SKI: This is another fundraiser that will work with or without snow as I'll explain later. A cross country ski at night along a trail of candles...is beautiful, and easy to do. If you lack snow, then do a candlelight walk instead. At the end, donations are taken at the door plus food and drinks were sold. To increase the beauty, plan it during a full moon.
RUN-WALK-AND ROLL RACE: A race for runners, walkers, and those in wheelchairs. Many people turned out for this event which had a $10.00 entry fee. Prizes were given for first, second, and third place winners in each category. A trophy was presented to the first place winners and all entrants received a packet with food certificates donated from local restaurants and ribbons just for entering. Make sure you alert the police department, and news media, and put people in places where the entrants will have to cross roads. Put up plenty of signs warning motorists and check with the city or police for the safest race route.
AUCTION: This is a lot of fun and was one of our largest fundraisers. The playground raised over $6,000.00 after expenses from the first auction alone. With collectors items such as autographed baseballs, footballs, basketballs donated from teams around the US, we also had original paintings and signed prints donated by local artists, items from actors and actresses autographed, and many items from local merchants. We sold food and drink during this time and added to the money raised. It's a lot of work, but well worth it.
*When doing ANY fundraiser, ALWAYS make sure you write a personal letter to each person who donates prizes, gifts, etc. This is so much more important than many people realize. Also, place thank you's in the "letter to the editor" in local newspapers, on radio, wherever you can, it really helps. Also, think about giving plaques or certificates to those businesses or organizations that donate larger amounts of items or money.
*To do a raffle, remember, you must have a raffle license. This is available for a small fee, from the Department of Raffles and Licensing or Gaming Commission in your state. Contact them for more information.
*Your project can raise money by sending out proposals to local trusts or foundations.
*Contact your local government for community block grants which may be available or go to the local library and look at the many state and federal foundation directories. These books are very helpful and will tell you the type of projects they give to, how much, who to contact, when the deadline is and a lot more valuable information. Check local banks and credit unions for "undesignated" trust funds and how to apply for them. Ask local businesses if they have foundations. Hit all the news media to get exposure. There is so much you can do to raise money, just go for it, and never give up.