Thursday, March 25, 2010

101 Fundraising Ideas

CraniuMS has been working hard for almost two months now. Time to spice it up! If you think you've plateaued in your fundraising efforts, here are 101 new fundraising ideas!

1. House party – Invite friends and family to a party and ask for a donation. It’s a sure-fire
way to fundraise.
2. Corporate matching gift – Ask your company to match the amount of pledges you receive
from your fellow co-workers
3. Friends’ corporate matching gifts – Ask your friends if their companies will match their
4. Corporate sponsorship – Identify one or several large companies and contact them
directly. They may be willing to sponsor you completely.
5. Garage sale – Know all that stuff that’s been hanging out in your garage…in your attic…in
your basement? Gather it up and ask your friends to do the same. Put it in your front
yard and sell, sell, sell! Put all the money raised toward your minimum pledge.
6. Bake sale – Become Betty Crocker (and ask your friends to do the same) and host a bake sale. You can even have it in conjunction with your garage sale. It’s a fact that people will by
more stuff on an empty stomach.
7. Extra change box – Keep a little box on your dresser or nightstand and all your extra
change in it everyday. It adds up.
8. Everyone else’s extra change – Create little boxes for your friends and family to place on
their dressers or nightstands. At the end of the day, they can drop spare change in the
box. Put it on your desk at work and others will join in.
9. Office fundraising challenge – Challenge your coworkers. Who can raise the most
money? Give the winner a prize like movie passes or gift certificate for dinner.
10. Voicemail/answering machine message – Use your voicemail and answering machine to let everyone calls you that you’re up to something special and you need their support.
11. Return address labels – Print return address labels for your outgoing mail. Print
something like, “I’m participating in Walk MS—Will you sponsor me?” You may want to
include a pledge form and a self-addressed stamped envelope to make it really easy for
12. Online forums – Post a message to the online forums to which you belong. You’d be
amazed at how many people you don’t even know who will be willing to help you.
13. Personalize Your Walk MS web page – Create your own website about your journey.
Then, send an email to everyone on your contact list and invite them to visit the website.
You can do this by logging into your participant center from the Walk MS website.
14. A day’s tips – Ask your favorite bartender, waiter and waitress to donate a day’s tips (or
portion thereof) to your fundraising. Create a sign for the bartender to place on the bar
stating that “All tips collected tonight will go directly to “Your Name Here” who’s walking
raise money for multiple sclerosis.” If the patrons see the sign they may be willing to dip a
little deeper in their pockets.
15. Carry copies of your fundraising letter – Have them with you at all times and pass them along to people you meet. For example, if flying, pass the letter out to the flight crew.
People really do want to support you!
16. Donation jar at the cash register of a local favorite restaurant – Check with the restaurant manager. They may be willing to place the jar in a high traffic area so lots of patrons see it.
17. Fundraising dinner at your favorite restaurant – Ask your favorite restaurant to host a fundraising dinner for you. Many restaurants will donate back a portion of the proceeds
from a specific evening.
18. Autograph party – Invite all your friends (and their friends) and get them to sign your
Home Made Walker T-shirt. Charge $10 per signature.
19. Theme party or dinner – Hold a theme party for 10 (or more) of your friends. If each
person donates $50 and you spend no more than $20 per person on food and
decorations, you’ll have $300 (or more) in pledges by the end of the night.
20. Movie ticket donation – Ask your local movie house to donate several movie tickets. Sell
them and put the money towards your pledges.
21. At-home movie party – Pick up a favorite flick at your local movie store, make some
popcorn, pick up some soda and invite your friends and family over for movie night. Of
course have your pledge forms ready to go!
22. Ask a local theater to donate tickets to a performance – Ask a local theater to donate a couple of tickets to one of their plays or musicals and auction them off.
23. Birthday gift pledge – This is a very simple way to raise money and it will be a lot easier
for your friends and family to write you a check instead of spending hours trying to shop
for you.
24. Delegate – Give 10 of your friends 10 pledge forms each and ask them to help raise
money for you.
25. Creative friends – Find a local artist or ask a creative friend if he/she would donate a
piece of art or some jewelry that you can auction off.
26. House warming party – Are you moving soon? If so, ask your friends to make a pledge
instead of purchasing a gift for your new place.
27. Make it colorful – Print your fundraising letter and pledge form in color and mail them in
colored envelopes. They will stand out from bills and junk mail. Print up a Walk MS
sticker from your computer to add even more appeal.
28. Email signature – Insert a link to your Walk MS fundraising page in your email signature.
You will be surprised how many people will want to help.
29. Business cards – Print up some inexpensive business cards with your Walk MS
fundraising goal, as well as your name, address, email and the Walk MS online pledge
center address. Hand these out to everyone you meet.
30. Travel agency – Do you always make your travel plans through the same agency? Ask
them to donate a travel voucher. You can auction it off at your fundraising party.
31. Doctor – Ask him/her to make a check out for you instead of the other way around.
32. Dentist – Hopefully you won’t have to pull teeth to get him/her to help you out with your
33. Chiropractor – He’s cracked your back. Now ask him to crack open his checkbook and
make a pledge.
34. Yoga instructor – You’ve bent over backwards for her…now it’s her turn to do the same
for you!
35. Radio station – Call your favorite station and ask them to interview you on the air. They
may even put a link to the Walk MS website or your fundraising page on their website.
36. Gym – Ask your gym to place a Pledge Jar at the front desk! Leave a stack of pledge forms
at the counter, too!
37. Spin/exercise class – Have a stack of pledge forms with you and ask your instructor to
make an announcement in class.
38. Hair salon – Ask your barber or hairdresser to donate a percentage or set amount from
every haircut they complete over one weekend.
39. Picnics – Next time you are at a picnic, don’t forget to ask for pledges.
40. Mow-a-thon – Get your kids involved in fundraising! Ask around the neighborhood and
mow everyone’s lawn for a cause.
41. Neighbors – Write to all your neighbors on your block (or in your building) to let them
know you are participating in Walk MS and to ask for a donation.
42. Free rent – Ask your landlord to donate one month’s rent to the cause.
43. “Good Karma” tip jar – Ask local businesses to put one of those jars near the register or
on their front counter. Tape a picture of yourself on the jar and a short explanation of
why you are raising money.
44. “Gal” (or guy) Friday – Offer to be someone’s personal assistant for a day (or maybe a
few hours). In exchange for a large donation, you can drop off dry cleaning, make
appointments, research a vacation, cook dinner or do the grocery shopping.
45. Garden tour – Check with the local historical society to see if they would sponsor a
garden tour of one or several homes in your area. Promote the event in local newspapers.
46. Meet the press – Take advantage of all the newsletters you get: at work, church, school,
professional organizations, etc. Write an article about Walk MS and ask for pledges.
47. Baby sitting – Exchange your services for a pledge. You raise more money and your
friends have a night out without the kids. This is a great fundraiser for teenagers.
48. Pet sit – Are your neighbors going away and don’t want to leave “Spot” at the boarding
facility? Offer your services and charge what they would have spent on the kennel.
Walk MS – 101 Fundraising Ideas
49. House sit – Friends going out of town for a while? Maybe they need someone to bring in
the mail, water the plants and feed the pets – and will make a donation to your
fundraising to reward your efforts.
50. Neighborhood chores – Are you Mr. or Ms. Fix-it? A lot of your neighbors would
probably rather pay you than someone else. Place signs around your neighborhood
advertising your services (i.e. watering gardens, cleaning roof gutters, sweeping the
driveway, fixing an easy plumbing problem, painting a room, etc.).
51. Karaoke night – Who cares if you can’t carry a tune? Spend Friday night at a karaoke bar
and sing your guts out. Have the announcer tell the crowd that you’re singing for
52. Talented friends – Do you have little piano bar in your neighborhood and a talented
piano-playing friend? Have the announcer tell the crowd you’re singing for pledges.
53. – Remember the garage sale idea? How ‘bout rounding up the goods from your
friends and putting it all on to be auctioned off with proceeds benefiting your
Walk MS fundraising.
54. Company vacation days – Ask you boss or human resource director if they can swap one
of your vacation days for day’s pay.
55. Sell footprints – Contact us for some paper footprints to sell at your local business for $1
56. In honor/memory of – If you are walking in honor or memory of a loved one, include a
picture of you with your loved one in your pledge letter, on posters, etc.
57. Pledges for each mile of the walk – Ask people to pledge an amount for each mile of the
58. Pet birthday party – This may sound a little silly, but we love our pets. And they love
other people’s pets…even yours. Invite your friends to your pet’s birthday party (even if
it isn’t Fido’s birthday). Play up the theme and have a great time. Instead of birthday gifts
request a pledge.
59. Television show finale party – Is your favorite show going off the air or wrapping up for
the season? Gather a big group of friends to watch the big season or series finale. Of
course, charge ‘em at the door and put the money toward your pledges.
60. Game night – Get out those board games and start playing! Break into teams and let the
fun begin. Ask each player to pitch in $20 towards the cause before you start playing.
61. Host a poker night – Call your serious (or not so serious) card-playing’ friends and invite
them over for a poker night. Split each pot between your fundraising and the winner.
62. Bowling night – Plan a fun night of bowling at your local lanes. Ask your friends to
pledge a dollar a pin.
63. Used book sale – Everyone has books that have been sitting on shelves or in boxes
collecting dust. Gather your books and ask friends, family and neighbors to donate
whatever they’ve got. Set up a weekend book sale in your front yard. Put up some signs
so people will now where the money is going.
Walk MS – 101 Fundraising Ideas
64. Local stores – Ask a local store manager what the hot selling item is these days and then
ask then if they’d be willing to donate a percentage of the sales from that particular item
to your Walk MS fundraising.
65. Curse jar – C’mon, everyone does it. Now they have to pay for it. Place a “Curse Jar” in
your office, whenever someone says a bad word they have to put a dollar and put it in
the jar.
66. Dress down day – Ask your company to allow an official Walk MS Dress Down Day. For
the privilege of dressing down, employees pledge $5 or $10 toward Walk MS.
67. Company grants – Find out if your company offers grants to employees who volunteer
their time for charitable causes. If so, you can volunteer your time at the MS office and
get paid grant money (pledges!) You may need a letter from us stating that you’ll be
volunteering in the office and we’d be happy to make that happen.
68. Church bulletin – Place an advertisement in your church bulletin explaining why you are
raising money for the National MS Society and asking for support.
69. Is there a teacher in the house? – Get your students to help you fundraise. Kids are
incredibly creative and cute, too!
70. Other parents – If you kids play sports, distribute your pledge forms to the other parents
at the games.
71. Walk along – Ask a potential donor to walk along on one of your training walks. They
may be more willing to donate once they fully understand what you’ve committed to do.
72. Remind them – In case you didn’t receive an answer the first time you asked, ask again.
Your potential donor may need a little coaxing.
73. Inspirational book marks – Create then and sell to friends and family.
74. Universities and colleges – Contact your local schools and ask if you can put an
advertisement in their school paper. Some of the organizations may even invite you to
make a short presentation.
75. Running stores – Contact a couple of sporting goods stores. Tell them what you’re
training for and ask them if they would like to sponsor you.
76. Compute screen savers – Create a Walk MS Screen Saver and send it to everyone in your company. A gentle reminder is a good reminder!
77. Mechanic – You’ve given ‘em lots of money to work on your car. Now it’s time for them
to give a little back to you.
78. Rock on! – If you know any musicians, ask them to perform a benefit concert. Tell people
to make their admission check out to the National MS Society.
79. Share the Walk – Tell your story. The more you talk about your upcoming adventure, the
more people will want to share in that excitement with you (and pledge more).
80. Children’s party – Throw a party for the kiddos to give the parents an afternoon out – in
exchange for a Walk MS pledge, of course.
81. Wine and cheese party – Host a wine tasting or cocktail party (at home or at a local
restaurant). Ask everyone who attends to make a donation. The restaurant may even
donate refreshments or make a contribution.
82. Temporary tattoos – Swap a temporary tattoo for a pledge.
83. Do you have a favorite magazine? – Call the editor and ask them to sponsor you on the
Walk. If you’ve subscribed to a particular magazine for a long time they may be willing to
give you something back.
84. Fraternities and sororities – Contact the National Chapter of your college Fraternity or
Sorority and ask them to make a donation.
85. Alumni organization – Call you own college or university and ask them to place an ad in
the alumni newsletter asking for donations.
86. Ask for the right amount – Make sure you ask for the right amount. Don’t ask for $100 if you know someone can pledge $1,000.
87. Don’t make the decision for them – Don’t decide ahead of time that someone can’t afford to pledge. Ask them! You will be surprised.
88. Make your own contribution – Lead the way by making your pledge first.
89. Be a massage therapist for a day – For every contribution of $100 offer a massage to the donor.
90. Pizza party – Check out your local pizzeria. Most of them have great ways to help you
91. Clubs & organizations – Send a solicitation letter to your local Lions Club, Rotary Club,
Kiwanis Club, etc. They are known for support individuals in their community.
92. Raffle – Make or get a great prize donated – like a homemade quilt or season tickets to
the symphony – then enter everyone who makes a minimum pledge into a drawing for
the prize.
93. Shop at Wal-Mart – Some Wal-Marts have a Sunshine Fund to support individuals in
their community.
94. Contact your local paper and get an article – Make sure that you put information about how people can contribute. And have a photo ready to go,
95. Ask someone you don’t know for money.
96. Send updates on your fundraising and a reminder on how to support your efforts
97. Write to your local politicians
– You supported them. Don’t you think they should
support you?
98. Send a letter or email asking for a donation from everyone you know.
99. Don’t get discouraged.
100. Start NOW!
– The earlier you begin, the sooner you can reach – and even exceed – your
101. ASK! ASK! ASK! ASK! ASK! ASK! – And ASK again!

Happy Fundraising!
"Captain Crunch"


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