Let’s Get Outside: 12 Top Outdoor Fundraising Ideas

With spring and summer finally here, it’s the perfect opportunity to host an outdoor fundraising event for your organization. Take advantage of the beautiful warm weather, and bring potential donors together for a little fun in the sun. Here are 12 simple outdoor fundraising ideas to help support your organization during the warmer months, and get your community members excited about your important cause.  

1. Garage Sale

Ask your members and supporters to do a little spring cleaning, and donate the items they no longer want or need to a garage sale. You can set it up at your organization’s location, or in a neighborhood where a few (or more) members live. This is one of the outdoor fundraising ideas that give your supporters the chance to give unneeded items for donation and raises your money without a lot of upfront investment.

2. Plant Sale

Spring is the perfect time to sell plants, as it’s prime time for gardeners to start looking for flowers, veggies, herbs, and more. Talk to a local farmer who might be willing to host a plant sale and donate a portion of the proceeds to your organization. Then, make sure you’ve got lots of different offerings depending on what your local gardeners will love. A plant sale can also be a great summer fundraising kick-off event as the seasons change.

3. Cook-off

You can certainly host a BBQ, Pasta, or Pizza dinner, but why not up the ante and add a little bit of competition into the mix. Sell entry spots for local restaurants, food trucks, or home cooks who might want to compete with their special recipe, then sell tickets to local community members who will get to act as judges. 

4. Pool Party 

Summer’s the perfect time to cool off at the pool. Seek out a local pool-the YMCA, a local hotel, or friend of your organization-to use for hosting your party. Sell tickets for entry, then make sure to have lots of games and fun activities for your guests.

5. Old-Fashioned Field Day 

Along the lines of a theme party, host an old-fashioned field day from around the time the majority of your members were elementary students. Go with a 70s or 80s theme from the clothes, games, and even the snack, and beverages. Kids and their parents will love playing games like capture the flag, tug-a-war, or water balloon toss. 

6. Eating Contest

Given the popularity of eating contests all over the world, host one of your own. Whether it’s hot dogs, pies, or watermelon, your contestants could get sponsorships from community members, friends, and family-based on what they think they’ll be able to eat. 

7. Cornhole Competition

Cornhole is such a fun outdoor activity that can be enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages. You could borrow or even make your own cornhole boards and bean bags, and just charge an entry fee for players, and accept donations from the audience members.

8. Summer Concert or Outdoor Movie

Families love to enjoy an outdoor concert or movie in the summer. Your organization could connect with a local concert organizer or the township and ask if they’d be willing to make one of their events a fundraiser. Pick a family-friendly musician or movie to ensure a large crowd of attendees. 

9. Summer Adventure Scavenger Hunt

Get adventurous with a scavenger hunt. While this might take a little bit of planning, you can work with local businesses and community members to participate with families and friends by paying a team entry fee. This is a great way to get the community rallied around your cause, and help community members explore their town and meet local vendors and small businesses. 

10. Food or Drink Festival

With the popularity of food and drink festivals growing, your organization could tap into the local food and drink community to bring potential donors together for a good cause and host a fun event that your community will love. This is one of everyone’s favorite outdoor fundraising ideas!

11. Car Wash

A car wash is a classic outdoor fundraiser idea, but it’s definitely an effective one that can be a fun way to cool off on a hot day, too. You can add another level to your event, by charging extra for towel or wax service. 

12. Mowing for a Cause

Gather up your organization members with lawnmowers and host a mowing event for a cause over a weekend or even over every weekend for a month. It’s a service that community members will appreciate (and definitely need).

Learn more fundraising ideas in these related articles:

6 Easy Spring Fundraising Ideas for Schools

15 Auction Basket Theme Ideas for Every Season

Baseball Fundraising Ideas How to Organize a Hit-A-Thon

17 Fantastic Auction Basket Ideas for Your Next Fundraiser

7 Cheerleading Fundraisers Perfect for Spring and Summer

5 Creative Art Fundraiser Ideas for Schools

With so many budding artists at your school, tapping into their unique artistic talents is a simple way to raise funds. Turning kids’ art into everything from gifts to greeting cards can make the perfect successful fundraiser that everyone will appreciate. 

From preschoolers to high schoolers, and pretty much every student in between, these easy art fundraising ideas can help drive donations to your school, all while celebrating your students’ amazing abilities, and the teachers who support their work in their classrooms, every single day. This can open up doors for potential future donors to want to donate to your good cause, who now see the efforts the students are making in their work.

Here are 5 creative art fundraiser ideas that use the amazing art your kids are making as a way to support your school. Grab those crayons, markers, and other art supplies and start drawing!

1. Turn kids’ art into gifts

These days, you’ll find no shortage of companies who can take a simple drawing and print it on various gifts that friends, family, and community members would love to purchase. From t-shirts and mugs, to tote bags, even cell phone cases and water bottles, all you’ll need to do is scan your young artists’ work, upload it to the company’s site, and they’ll do the rest of the work. Parents and family members can order these gifts directly from the website, and have them delivered right to their home, with the school earning a percentage of each order. For this to be extra successful, plan this fundraiser close to a gift giving holiday, like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day to boost your toward your fundraising goal. 

2. Host an art gallery event

Transform your school walls into an art gallery, by displaying student artwork in the hallways and host an opening event with ticket sales going directly to support your school. Make your art gallery opening a night to remember, with snacks and beverages for the attendees, and even a photo booth. Encourage all the students to invite friends, family members, and the community to attend. What a wonderful way to showcase your students’ work, as well as the work your school is doing for the students, and get potential donors, beyond this fundraiser, into your school. 

3. Set up a silent auction for kids’ art 

Here’s an idea for a different type of silent auction. All you’ll need to do is take photos of the kids’ art, then create a silent auction where friends, family, and community members can bid on each piece via an online auction or virtual event. Even though the piece of art is certainly enough for bidding, you might consider offering a picture frame along with the signed work of kids’ art to the highest bidder. 

If you’re looking for art fundraiser ideas beyond the silent auction, or if the works of art include sculptures and other 3D pieces, you could offer prints of the original artwork for immediate sale at a lower starting price. These could be kept online beyond the auction end date, giving you more time to raise funds throughout the entire year.

4. Sell digital cellphone backgrounds of kids’ art 

Everyone loves a favorite photo on their cellphone or tablet background, so why not create digital backgrounds using your students’ art and offer it up for a small fee? With the help of your school tech teacher, you can simply upload scans of the artwork, resize them to fit a cellphone or tablet background, then offer a PDF for a price, all of which will go back to supporting your school. Students can create different types of art, from seasonal backgrounds to ones that celebrate a little school spirit. This creative fundraising idea works for art students of all ages.

5. Print kids’ art as greeting cards 

Looking ahead to the holiday seasons, a wonderful way to use kids’ art to raise funds for your school is to turn it into greeting card or postcard sets. You can certainly use existing art from classes, of course, but it could be fun to encourage kids to draw their favorite part of the holiday season, whatever holiday they celebrate, then enlist the help of a local printer to create boxed sets to sell to friends, family, and community members. 

With the amazing amount of artwork that kids of all ages are creating at school, hosting an art fundraiser that uses their amazing creations to help support the school can be a smart, simple idea to raise money for your school. 

For more fundraising ideas check out:

6 Easy Spring Fundraising Ideas for Schools

15 Auction Basket Theme Ideas for Every Season

Baseball Fundraising Ideas How to Organize a Hit-A-Thon

17 Fantastic Auction Basket Ideas for Your Next Fundraiser

7 Cheerleading Fundraisers Perfect for Spring and Summer

Fundraising 101: How to Ask Businesses for Donations

As you consider various sources of donations for your organization or charity, businesses can be the perfect partner in supporting your important work. Unlike the process of seeking donations from family, friends, and community members, reaching out to businesses with a request letter or specific donation request requires a specific and, oftentimes, different approach. 

But with these helpful considerations and simple steps, you’ll be able to determine which nearby and local businesses to reach out to, and what approaches will afford you the most success in your efforts to connect with a potential donor for a business donation.

How to determine which businesses to ask for donations

You’ll want to be sure that the mission of your organization aligns with the mission of the businesses you’re targeting. If your organization focuses on children, you’ll want to make sure that the local business you’re approaching is also kid-focused in some way, keeping in mind that audiences can be quite broad. For example, an organization that supports kids also affects their parents, grandparents, extended family, and more. You’ll want to be sure you’ve examined your focus in a broad manner to encompass everyone your organization actually reaches. 

In addition to mission alignment, you’ll want to be clear about the assets your organization brings to the table. Some of these will be things you can’t actually hold in your hands, like community interaction, emotional experiences, or even loyalty and authenticity. These assets may be quite valuable to a business that is looking to connect in these ways with their community, so it’s important that you highlight your ability to capture these. But also, consider highlighting the more tangible benefits of the business working with your organization, like access to your publicity channels, and your ability to showcase their products, whether at in-person events or online. 

How to decide who to approach and what donations to ask for

Once you’ve identified who your organization reaches, and what assets you offer a business, you should be able to easily decide what businesses in your community would best benefit from a collaboration or partnership. Remember, no business is too small or too large. Take a look around your community, and think about all the businesses that are currently serving your community members. Then, make a list of all of the ones you think best align with your mission and would appreciate your assets. 

After you’ve created your prospective donor list, you need to have a solid grasp on what kind of contribution you’re actually looking for. Are you interested in only monetary donations? Are you looking for product donations like equipment, supplies, or a gift card? Or do you need volunteers and other services that donors could help with? It’s possible that you were only initially interested in monetary donations, but if a business is willing to donate products that you can sell or services or equipment that you would have otherwise had to pay for, you might want to reconsider your ask.

It’s also possible that a business might initially only be able to offer product or service donations, but establishing that relationship with them now might mean possible cash donations later on, once they see the success of your collaboration. 

Know your audience: Think like the business you’re approaching

If you’re going to seek out the support of a business, you need to think like one. A transaction between an organization and a business is actually a business transaction, of sorts, so the more you can understand why they’d want to work with you, the easier the conversation will be with them when you schedule a meeting. 

A local community business may be looking to reach more customers, so you’ll need to show them your current reach, and your ability to help them achieve that goal. It’s possible that collaboration with your organization may help them improve their image and appearance to members of the community. How would you go about showcasing this benefit in a way that helps the collaboration become a reality?

Timing is also important – if a local organization has already budgeted their planned giving for the year, your donation letter might hit at a time when they can only make a small donation, but establishing that relationship could still lead to more charitable giving in the future.

It’s also possible that the business is looking to provide their employees with a meaningful experience, whether it’s something that they offer their employees as a benefit, or as a way to improve their team building. Perhaps they could attend your fundraising event as a team-building activity for their employees.

There’s no “wrong answer” for the “why.” You’ll just want to be sure that you’re clear on what the businesses you are approaching might want to get out of their charitable donation and partnership with your organization so that you can ensure your fundraising effort needs to align with their wants. 

Learn more about how to manage all of your fundraising efforts on one digital platform, and sign up for your free Livingtree Give account today!

6 Donation Message Ideas to Inspire You

As you think about seeking out donations for your organization, the way you write your donation message can be the difference it takes to turn a potential donor into an actual donor. While it can be challenging to come up with creative donation message ideas, the communication you send can build the connection between your target audience and the important work that you’re doing. 

When you compose your next communication, be it emails, bulletins, or mailers, consider these six helpful donation message ideas that are sure to inspire your writing. 

Make It Personal 

The more personal you can make your communication with your potential donors, the more likely they are to relate to your message and make the connection to your organization. This starts with simple donation message ideas like using your potential donor’s first name, and even mentioning specifics about how they came to be on your mailing list.

Fortunately, there are features you might be able to use that will help create separate lists for people who signed up online, made a previous donation, or attended an event, just to name a few. Utilizing that specific copy in your emails or mailers can help make a potential donor feel more important. For example – show your appreciation to those people who have made a previous generous donation with a “thank you” message in your current donation request letter.

But it’s not just information about the donor you should consider making more personal. Adding personal touches like an actual signature from your Director or staff member, or even sharing a bit about yourself in the opening or closing, are both great ways to customize your message and help create that much-needed connection donors need. If you feel comfortable, a photo of your director or even your entire team is a personal touch that can go a very long way in putting a face to the work that you’re doing.

Tell Your Story

Whether you’re sharing the story of why your organization was founded or just a small, personal anecdote of why you might be sending out this particular communication, potential donors like to hear the “why” behind the work that you are doing. When it comes to great donation message ideas, sharing why this fundraising idea is important to you can help people make the decision to give. Your story can help find personal connections, which can make a potential donor more apt to support your cause. 

And if you’re able to segment out your lists, you can share a different story for each, that’s more relatable to that specific group of people. As you’ve probably already experienced, different parts of your story are appealing to different types of people, so be sure to consider that approach when you create your message.

Know Your Audience 

You’ll definitely want your fundraising letters to appeal to the specific audience you’re trying to reach. Think about their demographic information, like age or location, and consider those details when you’re writing your email or direct mail mailer. 

Also, don’t forget to think about the ways in which your audience typically likes to make their donations. Some might prefer the ease of an online link, while others might prefer to have their donation delivered, either in person or through the mail. Consider if your past fundraising goal included in-kind donation, recurring donation, cash donation, or matching gifts.

Tap Into Your Audience’s Interests

Going beyond basic demographic information, think about your audience’s interests. From activities to hobbies, even favorites like celebrities or television shows, or something as simple as the weather,  the more that you know about your audience, the more you’ll be able to grab their attention with your communication. 

Is your audience likely to be part of a national council? Check out what resources there are at a national level and create a feeling of inclusion with the larger group. 

If a potential donor receives an email or mailer that connects with the interests and hobbies that they personally enjoy, they’re more likely to make that important connection to the important work that you’re doing. 

Be Conversational 

When it comes to the language you’re using to write your communication with your potential donors, you’ll definitely want to be more conversational in your voice and tone. While you might not necessarily want to write something that’s super informal (maybe skip the emojis, depending on your audience), using an approach that feels more casual can make the potential donor feel more like they’re part of the interaction as opposed to being talked to. 

Make It Easy

Include a donation form in your fundraising letter. This will allow your prospective donor set their donation amount and get their charitable donation to you with quickness and ease. If you are doing online fundraising, be sure to add a link to your donation page. Is there a way to add a text donation to your fundraising effort? That’s an up-and-coming way to connect to donors.

Donation message ideas that convert donors can take a little bit of time and energy. But if you’re able to write an email or mailer that’s personal and conversational, plus keep your audience in mind and tap into their personal interests, you’ll have a great start in establishing that important connection.

Learn more about how to manage all of your fundraising efforts on one digital platform, and sign up for your free Livingtree Give account today!

10 Creative Auction Item Ideas To Wow Your Donors

An auction event is a highly effective way to fundraise for your organization. Certain auction item ideas typically do better than others when bringing in the most bids and highest donations. If you’re looking to turn your donor into the winning bidder, these 10 unique silent or live ideas can lead you to a successful event!

1. Limo ride or black car service

Picking an experience that feels like a luxury is a great idea. Offering a gift certificate for a limo ride or even an Uber black car is a fun auction item the donor could use for a birthday party, date night, or family celebration to make it extra special. 

2. Backstage passes

Tickets to various events are always a popular auction item idea. Still, if you can add a VIP or backstage experience where the guest gets to meet the cast, team, or artist, you’re offering something special, making this quite a coveted auction item. 

3. Family photoshoot

While families often think about getting photos done, you can make it easy for them with a gift card for a session with a local photographer. Offer a session, digital or printed photos, or even a photo book to make the entire package More enticing for a potential donor

4. Hard-to-get event tickets

Another great auction item idea is event tickets. Tickets can be a big item at a silent auction, bringing in a flurry of bids, m. Your best option is to buy tickets to sold-out events or tickets that are typically extremely hard to get. Plan far in advance, and purchase the tickets before they sell out, giving you the best opportunity to get the highest donation possible at your auction.

5. Sports memorabilia (especially for a local team) 

If it’s got an autograph by a favorite athlete or sports star, then there’s a good chance you’ll get lots of bids, especially if the item happens to be from a local team. Make the item more appealing with an in-person signing session of the item they win for a special bonus. 

6. Lessons 

Is there a music teacher, art teacher, or even horseback riding instructor (just to name a few) in your town who is usually booked out for months? Find one willing to donate a month’s worth of lessons to your lucky recipient, and you could definitely see high bidding at your live or silent auction. Beyond lessons, think about offering coaching sessions or even a 1:1 meeting with a coveted coach or trainer.

7. A “year-of” services 

Your thrifty attendees will greatly appreciate the opportunity to bid on a “year-of” certain services. Think car washes or oil changes from a local business owner. Anything that most people will typically need frequently over the course of the year is perfect for this. These types of offerings that aren’t typically available to regular customers will be an enticing auction item, especially for the practically-minded donor.  

8. Celebrity Zoom meet-ups 

Do you have connections with a popular celebrity? Or perhaps a celebrity who’s connected with some nostalgia for your guests? Whether it’s an actor, an athlete, or even a local TV or radio host, have them do a 15-minute Zoom meet-up. Offer as many of these sessions as your celebrities are game for. These sessions can be enjoyed by people no matter where they live. 

9. Meal service

Who doesn’t like the idea of prepared meals being delivered right to their home? Talk to a local caterer or restaurant willing to offer up a few days or a week’s worth of meals to a lucky auction winner. This could be especially enticing if the caterer offers up options for families with allergies or eating limitations. 

10. Technology 

While an iPhone, iPad, or fancy camera may not be the most creative auction item, they’re certainly extremely popular. Include a service contract, or a special case and headphones, and you can turn this into a droolworthy auction item idea.

An auction is a great fundraising idea, and with these fabulous charity auction items, you are sure to get the highest bid amount.

Learn more about how to manage all of your fundraising efforts on one digital platform, and sign up for your free Livingtree Give account today!

7 Cheerleading Fundraisers Perfect for Spring and Summer

Whether you need new uniforms or want to take your team to camp, cheerleading fundraisers are the perfect way to help get your cheerleading squad to the next level.

Here are seven creative cheerleading fundraising ideas for spring and summer that you can easily plan and execute with your squad and help raise money for your season.  

Hip-Hip-Hooray for These Cheerleading Fundraisers

1. Choreograph custom cheers

One great cheerleading fundraiser idea is to offer up the opportunity to sponsor a unique cheer that the team choreographs together. Because this can take a lot of time and effort, these are definitely limited-edition offerings. Give opportunities for donors to add someone’s name or a nostalgic cheer or routine from their high school days. 

If choreographing a custom cheer is too difficult for your team, you could offer naming rights of specific cheers to potential donors. A parent or team member announces the cheer and the donor’s name at performances as a way to thank supporters for their donation. 

2. Offer up the best seat for specific games 

Another great fundraising idea is hosting an auction every month where the highest bidder can get the best seat at home games. These fundraisers have great profit margins since there is nothing to buy. Decorate the seat for the winner, include pom-poms so they can be a cheerleader from the crowd and other fun ways for them to participate in the games, and offer products like a drink voucher at your concession stand or a unique seat cushion to round out the special night. 

Another fun idea is to take their photo in the seat and share it on social media as a way to promote the auction for the next month’s game. Create a link to the auction so that it’s easy for anyone to participate. 

3. Sell branded seat cushions 

Your squad might be interested in purchasing branded spirit gear like hats, t-shirts, or hoodies. However, a branded seat cushion is something that many families might see as something they need (versus something they want). Sitting in the stands during games can be uncomfortable on a hard, cold metal bleacher. Creating branded seat cushions with your squad colors and logo can be a useful product to sell for your cheerleading fundraising idea.  

4. Hire a photographer 

While your squad might already take photos, consider hiring a local photographer willing to offer their services at a discounted rate or even donate their time and have them take photos during games. Give families the chance to purchase candid action photos of the squad doing their thing on the field. Have a photographer do headshots or even family portraits on the field for a cheerleading fundraising idea that captures memories of your cheerleading team.

5. Set up a concession stand 

You may have already set up a concession stand at your home games to help fundraise money for your team. But a fun twist is having squad members walk through the stands selling water or snacks during the games, like at a professional sporting event. This adds a level of convenience for your potential customers and gives your squad an opportunity to interact with the fans. Have your team create a special cheer for when other squad members are walking through the stands to get the audience excited. 

6. Pair up with a local restaurant or business 

Many restaurants offer fundraising event opportunities, where teams can earn money back on a specific night for customers who eat there and mention the team. This can be an easy fundraising idea for your team to get donations without having to plan an actual event. These raise money for your cheer team and all you have to do is get the word out. 

Also think about local businesses that offer products and services related to cheerleading, whether it’s a dance supply shop or a fitness center. Work with them to be the “official” supplier of your team in exchange for publicity and advertising. Another way local businesses can support your cheer team is to offer a small donation for every person who mentions your team when they purchase or sign up.

7. Sell personalized team spirit gear 

Everyone loves team spirit gear, but the more personalized you can make it, the better. Be sure to offer the option for a team member’s name or nickname on hats, t-shirts, or sweatshirts. Stickers can also include the team member’s name. Any products that you can offer that allow friends and family to customize it is always a worthwhile addition.

High school cheerleading is a growing sport that needs good funding to keep teams competitive, and these cheerleading fundraisers should get you to your fundraising goal.

Learn more about how to manage all of your fundraising efforts on one digital platform, and sign up for your free Livingtree Give account today!

Baseball Fundraising Ideas: How to Organize a Hit-A-Thon

With baseball season now pretty much year-round, teams are often seeking creative baseball fundraising ideas to help support their budding all-stars. Baseball is an extremely popular sport in the United States, with millions of kids participating on youth teams at various levels from little league to middle school to high school all year long. 

While fundraising for your baseball team is important to help provide them with exciting opportunities for their season, whether it’s for uniforms or game transportation costs, it’s also a way to help your young athletes build character, and gain a sense of ownership and responsibility, which are skills they’ll use well after the baseball season is over. 

By participating in a baseball fundraising event, your athletes will have the opportunity to let their hard work pay off in a way that supports their team on and off the field.  

The Home Run of Baseball Fundraising Ideas

You’ll certainly find no shortage of baseball fundraising ideas for your team, many of which you might have already tried. But if you’re looking for a youth sports fundraising idea that everyone will enjoy, a hit-a-thon fundraiser is a fantastic way to raise funds for your sports team that is pretty easy to plan and execute. A hit-a-thon fundraiser comes with a high profit vs investment in materials. Best of all, it showcases the awesome skills your youth baseball team members have been working on with their coaches.

If you’re not familiar with a hit-a-thon, the concept is pretty simple: it’s a sponsorship program where loyal donors and fans of your team sign up to donate a certain amount of money per hit and/or per home run hit. Easy, right? It’s such a great way to get your baseball team families and local community members involved in support your team.

Five Steps for A Successful Hit-A-Thon

Here are 5 simple steps you’ll need to follow in order to host a hit-a-thon fundraising event for your baseball team.  

1. Determine when you’ll host your hit-a-thon. You can create a special scrimmage event just for your hit-a-thon, or you could designate a specific game (or games) that are already scheduled in your season as your “hit-a-thon.” Perhaps it’s a game with a known rival, or on an important holiday or special day for your team or community. Whatever you decide, you’ll want to pick a game (or schedule a special scrimmage) well in advance to give your team, their families, and other supporters enough time to secure sponsorships. 

2. Decide how much each hit is worth. Because the donations are based on the number of hits and number of home runs for the donor’s sponsored player, you’ll need to decide how much each hit and home run is worth. This will depend on how many great hitters you have on your team, and the average number of hits they get per game. If your team is better at defense versus offense, you could also add in special sponsorships for pop-fly catches or strikes (for your pitcher). It’s important to take a look at your team’s skills and then price the different actions accordingly. 

3. Offer special sponsorships for home runs. Depending on how often (or rare) home runs are for your team, you could offer a special home run packet that charges additional (and much larger) donations for home runs. If your team often hits home runs, you might not charge very much for a home run. But if a home run is quite rare, you could charge a lot of money for each one – making a donation is easy after a thrilling home run. 

4. Create a list of fans, family members and friends. Your team should work together to compile a list of potential donors. Gather up information for the fans, family members, friends and potential sponsors for your hit-a-thon fundraiser so that you can easily send out an email blast (or other digital communication like social media) all at once. You could also ask that each team member offer up a minimum of ten emails (or more, depending on what you think is reasonable for your team members), so that you can ensure you have a large list of potential donors to pull from. 

5. Send out an email blast and create flyers for your hit-a-thon.

You’ll definitely want a compelling email or printed flyer to let people know about your hit-a-thon fundraiser. It’s always important to make your communication personal; think about highlighting your players! Along with all the specifics about the event itself, make sure it’s very clear how potential donors can participate in the event. You can also ask potential donors and attendees to help you spread the word.

Learn more about how to manage all of your fundraising efforts on one digital platform, and sign up for your free Livingtree Give account today!

Diversity and Inclusion Matter: 5 Ideas for Inclusive Fundraising Events

With the focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion these days, it’s important for organizations to ensure that their events are accessible to their entire community. 

While you may already feel as though your team does their best to host a fundraising event where everyone feels welcome, there’s a difference between bringing everyone to the table and making them feel as though they belong there. 

Sponsors and attendees will look for various cues to determine whether they feel included at a fundraising event. It’s important to create an inclusive fundraising event that is accessible to all. 

Choose the date of your fundraiser with all holidays and schedules in mind

Whether you’re planning an in-person event, virtual event, or a hybrid fundraising event, you’ll want to be sure you thoroughly check your calendar to ensure that you’re not scheduling anything over religious or important holidays for all cultures. While you may not be able to accommodate everyone, being aware of the potential conflicts is important, particularly if your community is home to many cultures.   

Beyond holidays, think about how you might be able to include working families better.

  • Picking a weekend versus a weeknight.
  • Thinking about what might be the easiest time for them to get a babysitter or family member to help if they need childcare to participate.
  • Consulting the parents on your team to determine what might be the best choice for working parents to be part of the fundraiser

Get familair with the ADA requirements

Take some time to review the ADA rules and recommendations, so that your event is fully accessible to people with disabilities. For in-person events at a popular venue, most of the ADA requirements should already be covered, but it’s important for your organization to consider going above and beyond. 

  • Ensure accessible seating is available in every space in your event – have those seats clearly marked.
  • Reach out to your supporters to see if there are people who are Deaf/deaf/hard of hearing and bring in an ASL interpreter.
  • Train your staff about communication strategies for people with disabilities.

These accommodations can go a long way in creating an inclusive event. 

Add virtual components to your event

These days, many organizations are adding a virtual fundraising event to their in-person events, or hosting hybrid fundraising events to ensure that as many potential attendees feel welcome and can participate. 

So many types of fundraising, from online silent auctions that can be shared well beyond your own small community, to Livestream video, live social media participation, or a live Zoom party room, for people who may be homebound or cannot join due to their busy schedules, virtual components help to make your event more accessible to many more people. 

Even simply recording parts of your event to be shared across social media and your website, with the ability for viewers and donors to enter giveaways and make online donations can be an easy way to make your event more inclusive.  

Economic diversity and inclusion: Sliding scale pricing

Oftentimes, ticket pricing for fundraising events can be out of reach for potential guests who might be experiencing economic hardship. By offering a sliding scale based on need level, or even a number of free tickets, you ensure that your organization is being inclusive of those potential attendees who might want to support your work, but cannot necessarily afford a ticket. 

If you’re unable to offer free or discounted tickets, consider offering a separate, but related experience, whether it’s virtual or otherwise, that includes potential participants who are committed to your cause but are not in the current position to help financially donate to your fundraising goal. 

Ask your community what would make them feel included

Here’s a simple way for event organizers to ensure that your community members feel included at your next event: Just ask them. You can do an online survey, ask the question on social media, or even pop a Google questionnaire link right into your invitation. (This would also help you build a donor base record – Anyone who takes the time to answer a survey is a potential donor or volunteer.)

Taking the suggestions directly from your community can help ensure that you’re choosing the right inclusive approaches to your event. 

You can also consider sending a post-event survey to see what strategies worked, and what needs more attention for your next event to ensure your approach to diversity and inclusion reflects reality.

Keep in mind that every event you host, whether in-person, hybrid or online fundraising, is a learning experience for your organization. Some fundraising efforts go better than others. But if your fundraising team has the intention of creating an inclusive fundraising event, then your hard work will definitely pay off in the long run.  

Looking for a great online fundraising platform that keeps all your events under one digital roof and makes it easy to succeed? Click here to learn about Livingtree Give and sign up for your FREE account today!

Top 3 Reasons to Build Hybrid Fundraising Events

While in-person fundraisers are a popular way to engage with your community, and raise funds for your important cause, adding virtual fundraisers and hosting hybrid fundraising events is a smart way to broaden your reach, and ensure the maximum number of potential participants are able to join in on the fun. 

Many organizations are now turning to hybrid fundraisers with great success, combining the best parts of in-person fundraising with virtual events to create a highly accessible experience that can live on well beyond the actual event date. 

Here are three reasons you should consider hybrid fundraising for your next event.

Engage working parents with hybrid fundraising events

In-person fundraising events can offer the excitement of a party or celebration, however, they are limited to that specific time and place. 

While your fundraising team may be conscious of the challenges working parents face with their demanding work schedules juxtaposed with after-school activities when planning your in-person fundraising event, there will always be potential event attendees who just can’t find the time to attend, or are unable to secure a babysitter or family member to care for their kids during that specific time frame. 

This means you might be missing out on a large number of potential donors who would happily engage with your organization, but are unable to because they can’t attend your in-person fundraising event. 

With a hybrid event, you’re essentially meeting your donor where they are, and capturing the number of busy working parents who may want to support your cause, but just aren’t able to attend your event. An online giving option helps reach these potential supporters.

The flexibility of hybrid fundraising events gives potential donors many opportunities to participate:

  • An online silent auction for all attendees, in person and online.
  • A recorded video of the event with the chance to donate after the event is over
  • A virtual event on social media, like a Twitter party—if your event is fance, you could encourage people to create a virtual gala in their own homes
  • Any of these hybrid fundraising events allows a larger audience to attend and gives them more flexibility

Be accessible to all and extend your reach

No matter how accessible your in-person fundraising event might be, there is always the potential that you could be reaching more people by offering the option of at-home participation with a virtual fundraiser as well, creating a hybrid fundraising event. 

Including a virtual component, whether it’s a Livestream camera, a Zoom party room, or even an online event via live social media, you’re ensuring that all people, regardless of ability, are able to support your cause and participate as virtual attendees. 

Even though your hybrid fundraising event might not be customized to specific participants, offering them a variety of ways to attend beyond the scheduled in-person event feels personalized; attendees can potentially pick an option that works best for them, thus increasing the opportunity for them to participate and donate to your cause. And it shows that you’re invested in including as many people in your community as possible, not just in the event, but in your organization as well.

Extend the reach of your budget

Hosting a successful fundraising event comes down to the size of your budget, which is why many event organizers are looking to hybrid fundraising to help extend the reach of their investment as part of their fundraising strategy. 

And because virtual events are much more affordable, you can cut the costs from your larger in-person event – food, drinks, entertainment, and more – by hosting a hybrid event: a small, more intimate in-person event, supported by online opportunities that allow you to funnel more money to the fundraising campaign.

While some virtual fundraising approaches require the purchase of special software or hardware, depending on what you’re attempting to incorporate into your event, your organization will be able to use those investments year after year to achieve your fundraising goals, and more frequently. Just think about how your organization might use online silent auction software that would track the auction item donation and participant lists, ticket sales to a live auction, and host events several times throughout the year, or even as ongoing events. 

Using an online fundraising platform as a donor management tool will help you set up and manage recurring donations, list potential donors in your donor base, save online donation forms to be reused – all saving you time and helping your fundraising effort

While in-person fundraising events are returning to popularity, adding a virtual element and increasing online fundraising and hosting a hybrid fundraiser combines the best of both worlds: the opportunity for guests at the live event to enjoy an evening supporting their favorite cause, as well as the potential for many more possible donors through your virtual fundraising event, many of whom may have never been able to attend an in-person event, to participate, all while saving your organization money and increasing donor engagement. 

Looking for a great online fundraising platform that keeps all your events under one digital roof and makes it easy to succeed? Click here to learn about Livingtree Give and sign up for your FREE account today!

6 Easy Spring Fundraising Ideas for Schools

With spring approaching, many organizations are planning their upcoming events and searching for creative fundraising ideas to get their community involved and rally their support for a good cause. 

Whether you’re looking for in-person or online fundraising ideas for sports teams, like basketball or baseball, or your clubs, dance teams, and more, we’ve got you covered with easy, creative fundraising ideas that will help you maximize your efforts. 

Plan a 5K or walk/hike/bike-a-thon

With warmer weather on its way, a 5K race or walk/hike/bike-a-thon is the perfect fun activity to get your community outside. You can plan a 5K course in your community and charge an entrance fee to participate or have entrants raise money as part of their participation. 

And if you can’t find a course (and the necessary volunteers), create a special day where the participants complete a 5K or walk/hike/bike-a-thon on their own, either donating an entrance fee or raising money on their own to donate. You could create a local business checklist for people to visit along their 5K virtual route.

Create a spring-themed basket auction

Everyone loves gift baskets, especially when they’re filled with seasonal goodies. Your organization can create several spring-themed gift baskets, or encourage members to donate one of their own, and then you can raffle or auction them off. There are several options for an auction:

  • in person at an event
  • online via social media or other option
  • a silent auction for both in person and virtual attendees

Adding virtual fundraising ideas makes for an accessible fundraising event. A related event idea would be having a raffle ticket sale for the gift basket.

Whether it’s Easter or Passover-themed, for those who celebrate, or St. Patrick’s Day, even just “Get Outside and Play!,” a spring-themed basket auction is such an easy fundraiser for any organization or club. 

Host a flower arranging or succulents class

Spring means flowers and plants are blooming, so consider hosting a flower arranging or succulents class for a small fee, or for a “donate what you can” opportunity. Seek out a community-based instructor who might be a willing donor of their time, then ask local businesses to donate supplies, or purchase them with part of the class fee. 

This could be especially effective closer to Mother’s Day, as a parent-child activity to create a gift for the special mom or mother figure in their life, or for grandmothers, mothers, and/or daughters who might be interested in learning a new skill together. Plus, they get to leave the class with a beautiful arrangement of flowers or a planter full of succulents. 

And while this might be more ideal as an in-person fundraising event, you could just as easily offer this as a virtual fundraising event as well, so long as the instructor has access to Zoom and shares a list of the required items before the class begins. 

Hold a flower bulb and seedling sale

Community members are often searching for flower bulbs and seedlings in the late spring, so why not host a flower bulb or seedling sale. Easily planning in a parking lot or even a public park, ask a local garden shop to donate or offer a discount, and then advertise your one or two-day sale. With just a few volunteers and the donation of their time, you could raise money for your organization and support the gardening needs of your community. 

Plan an Earth Day community clean-up

For Earth Day, collect donations to support your effort to clean up your community, whether it’s a side of the highway, a favorite park, or even the main street of your town. Volunteers can accept pledges based on the number of hours they work, or even the number (or weight) of the bags they collect. Not only will you raise funds for your organization, but you’ll make a huge positive impact on your community as well. 

Don’t forget the classic: Host a concession stand or bake sale

With spring school sports starting up, your organization could host a small concession stand or bake sale at the open events for all the spring sports. All you need is a cooler full of water and sports drinks, along with a bagged snack, and you’ve got the perfect baseball fundraising idea, not to mention any of the other spring sports. If you’ve got supporters who love baking, add homemade cookies or brownies into the mix. 

The change of season is the perfect time to consider these creative fundraising ideas for your organization, all of which will help get your volunteers outside and celebrate the start of spring.

Looking for a great online fundraising platform that keeps all your events under one digital roof and makes it easy to succeed? Click here to learn about Livingtree Give and sign up for your FREE account today!

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