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Fundraising Ideas

Below you will find all of our past articles with great fundraising ideas. It is a long list of articles so don't hesitate to bookmark this page and come back often. If you would like more great fundraising information in the future then please sign up for an email notification whenever we publish a new article.


E-mail Fundraising Best Practices by Nick Gleason

As a lifelong activist, I have worked in non-profits throughout my career and have helped to raise funds for many organizations. In recent years, I have witnessed e-mail marketing become one of the greatest tools available to fundraisers.

E-mail marketing is both effective and cost-efficient - especially in comparison to the other fundraising tools available to non-profit managers. According to AMR Research, well-targeted e-mail marketing campaigns can generate response rates that are 7 to 12 times higher than comparable snail-mail marketing efforts.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Incentives by Doug Nash

Incentives are a great way to improve your bottom line, either by enticing people to pull out their wallets or by motivating even slightly better performances from your volunteers. When it comes to incentives there are many well worn options however if you use your imagination and make the incentives relevant and personal to your situation the effects can really pay off not in money but in the groups atmosphere and long term performance. A warning though, be vary careful that a rewards system does not adversely affect your bottom line. A badly thought out or poorly implemented incentive scheme can do as much if not more damage than no incentive scheme at all.

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Ask a Pro: About Fundraising Holiday Shops by the AFRDS

A fundraising holiday shop is a seasonal "store" at school where students can make holiday purchases, selecting from an assortment of inexpensive gift items sold on consignment by the sponsoring parent group.

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Dress Day by Doug Nash

Dress days like all good fundraisers are easy and simple to organise and fun to participate in. The point to a dress day is to have a change in the dress code for a day, either dressing up or down depending on the where the activity is taking place. Dress days are great activities for work places or at a picnic type event.

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Don't Come Event by Doug Nash

Do you ever feel that at times you would rather not go to that function? You feel that you would rather stay at home, grab a quiet night and help out a really good cause by doing so? Then the Don't Come Event is something that you should seriously consider using as a fundraising event.

Imagine how good people will fell towards you for saving them the effort or inconvenience of attending `another' time consuming function with `boring' speeches and people that they might not want to see again quite so soon or at all.

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Online Donations - Strategy or Website Coinbox? by Ron Strand

I recently reviewed a random sample of 75 websites of nonprofit organizations. I looked specifically at their strategy for online donations. Here is what we found:

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Income Base by Doug Nash

A major consideration of a fundraising group is to know who and what is their income base. All companies need to know where they will make their money so they can develop strategies to maximise this vital resource. If you don't understand this then you will have tough times raising the funds you need. Once you understand that fundraising is exactly like running a business then you will understand that copying what businesses do will benefit you greatly.

For grassroots' or small community fundraisers there are four main levels or areas to address:

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Electronic Transfer by Doug Nash

One of the hardest parts of fundraising is collecting the monies owed during the year, wouldn't it be nice to collect in way that was easy, time saving and someone else does most of the work? Well, this may be just what you are looking for.

Nowadays the ability to move money around electronically is amazingly simple and simply amazing. So simple in fact that there must be an opportunity for charities and fundraising to benefit somehow and there is. All banks and societies offer electronic banking, that is you sign an authority for them to pay your bills for you, or for your work to automatically transfer your wage into your bank account.

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Sponsorships by Doug Nash

Here is a short list of principles you should keep in mind when seeking or negotiating a sponsorship. Don't just try the obvious list of sponsors, get original! As long as you have something to offer - ask!

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Managing Fundraising Efforts by Sandra Sims

Fundraising does take significant energy and effort. (Some people call this concept WORK.)

Different fundraising programs will need different levels and types of energy and effort, so you will need to compare your organization's resources with what will be required of a potential fundraising program.

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Money Making Booths for Summer Fairs by Deane Brengle

Sometimes you need to do a fundraiser, but you don't need all the hassle of throwing an event yourself. That's where the concept of piggy backing a fundraiser on a larger more successful event can work wonders. One such opportunity is a booth at a summer fair.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Don't Come Events by Doug Nash

Do you ever feel that at times you would rather not go to that function? You feel that you would rather stay at home, grab a quiet night and help out a really good cause by doing so? Then the Don't Come Event is something that you should seriously consider using as a fundraising event.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Glass Drive by Doug Nash

Recycling and other environmentally friendly activities are enjoying more support today than ever before. Any activity that is environmentally friendly has a huge advantage over other activities. A glass or bottle drive is definitely in this category. A wonderful mix of making money while helping preserve our environment.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Trivia Night by Doug Nash

Trivia nights can be a whole lot of fun. They require a little more in the way of organising, however this is repaid by lots of laughs and fun on the night. A great feature of trivia nights is that there is no set ways, no hard and fast rules that to be followed, trivia nights are as flexible as your imagination and situation. To help you I have written about different features you can use, in any order or combination. These segments might trigger a few unique features of your own that you choose to use.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Gift Wrapping by Doug Nash

A great and simple way to raise funds leading up to Christmas by providing a welcome time saving service that can add that little extra to some one's gift.

Most people at this time of year find it hard enough to find time to do their shopping so finding someone to wrap the present in an elegant and beautiful manner is a welcome investment. Another group that will take advantage of your service are those who can't wrap a present properly no matter how hard or long that they try. I know because I look for gift wrappers every year.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Party Plan Sales by Doug Nash

Party plan sellers can at times be a nuisance, here is a way to get them onside to help you raise funds. Party plans cover a wide range of choice, from household goods to health products.

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Spring Blooms with Fundraising Opportunities by the AFRDS

Experienced boosters know that product sales are among the most efficient and lucrative methods for raising funds fast. They also know that special events, though often hard work, add more than a few extra dollars to the kitty. The value of a well-executed family night is priceless in terms of bonding the group and larger community. Most successful parent groups have found a way to blend special events AND product sales into their annual fundraising efforts.

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Online Fundraising: Attract Donors with Search Engine Optimization by Alan Sharpe

Search engines are the most common way that potential donors will find your website. A non-profit website that appears near the top of search engine results will witness a dramatic increase in traffic compared with competing websites that appear further down in the results.

Like every other charity, you want a high ranking on the search engines. Unfortunately, many charity websites appear poorly in search engine rankings-or not at all-because they are not written and designed to take advantage of how search engines work.

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Spotlight on Online Fundraising by the AFRDS

The latest form of fundraising to emerge is an online version of the retail mall with schools and other non-profit groups receiving rebates based on online purchases made by their supporters. This new twist on product sales is attracting attention and raising new questions for schools and non-profit groups who must make fundraising decisions.

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How to Run a Successful Car Wash Fundraiser: Presale & Donations by Lance Winslow III

Whether you chose to have a car-wash-a-thon or presale ticket car wash you should read this chapter. There is more to preparation than just preparing. We will discuss some nuts and bolts for insuring that your car wash fundraiser goes off as well as planned.

We will talk about: Motivation/PepTalks, Incentives, Parent's Help, Teams , Divide and Conquer, Over Lap Problems, Other Locations , and Spreadsheets/Goals.

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How to Run a Successful Car Wash Fundraiser: Publicity by Lance Winslow III

PSA's stand for "Public Service Announcements". Radio stations have to do a certain amount of public broadcasting in order to satisfy their Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requirements. This is good for you because that means that they can announce your car wash fundraiser event on their radio station for all to hear. It's basically free advertising for you. To get this free advertising, call the radio station and ask for the community service desk or the public relations person. Make sure to list all pertinent information such as:

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How to Run a Successful Car Wash Fundraiser: Day of the Event by Lance Winslow III

You should call all important people in your group the night before your event. Make sure that you will have all necessary supplies, parent supervision and signage. Have everyone meet twenty minutes before the start time. Have your washer show up five minutes prior to washing. If you think you are going to have a lot of cars then try to find an area large enough for two rows of cars to go through at one time. That should be your wash area. Make sure your hoses reach. Try to get your hose to go all the way around both sets of cars. When things get busy you will be glad you set it up this way. You should have a drying area set up no less than three car lengths from your washing area. This way if someone gets picky with the drying and slows you down, they won't hold up your washing area. If the washing area slows down, your line will get longer and people will just drive by and not stop in. It's very important to pick a game plan, layout and traffic flow before you start. If cars start pulling in the wrong way or you try to change what you're doing mid-stream, you have total chaos and you lose ten to fifteen minutes sorting things out.

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How to Run a Successful Car Wash Fundraiser: Post Car Wash by Lance Winslow III

Clean Up

Good locations for fundraiser car washes are hard to come by. If you don't clean up the area and leave it free from trash and debris you not only hurt your group's future car washes at that location but also other groups in your city who may also need money as much or more than you do. You should also wash down the area with a hose or pressure washer if possible to clean off any mud. Make sure when rinsing the parking lot that you follow the BMP's in Chapter Two.

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Focus on Fundraising: Easter by Deane Brengle

Easter is a great opportunity to hold a fundraiser. There are many things you can do to raise money centered on this religious holiday.

Easter is a Christian religious holiday celebrating Christ's rising from the dead. Falls on a Sunday between March 21 and April 26 every year. This year it falls on April 15th.

Types of Fundraisers Suitable for Easter

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Coin Drops by Doug Nash

The silent fundraiser is always the preferred option when it comes to raising cash donations. People don't have to feel like they are begging. The silent fundraiser happens when you have donation receptacles placed in strategic places so that passer-bys can drop in coins at their convenience with out feeling hassled. While it's is an excellent way of raising cash you can make it more appealing by using your imagination. here are some thoughts for you to consider.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Stick Lotto by Doug Nash

Here is a quick, easy, inexpensive and highly adaptable fund-raiser. All you need is a tray of sand, 100 sticks and some way of colouring the tips of the sticks either by paint or marker pen. How it works is really simple, take a few sticks and mark them as prize winning. Then stick them into the sand, marked ends in the sand. People then pay to remove a stick to see if they have won and if they have what their prize is. Easy!

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Focus on Fundraising: Seasonal Fundraising Events by Deane Brengle

Next time you're casting about for a new fundraiser, look to your calendar for inspiration. Calendar related occurrences and events like changing seasons and holidays can provide excellent opportunities for fundraising.

Here are some ideas for seasonal fundraising events:

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Cultivate A "Grass-Roots" Fundraising Campaign For Your Organization by Tony Poderis

Many non-profit organizations serve individuals who pay very little or who are unable to pay anything in the way of fees for the services they receive. They generally are in no position to give even the smallest donation to their organizations' annual fund. In all instances those client - user groups are grateful for the good being done for them and their families. They quite often ask if they can do anything within their power and means to show appreciation to their service organizations since they have no money to give to them. Leaders of those non-profits want to know how best they can respond when at the times the people whom they serve say, "I know you need money and I want to help. Is there anything I can do?"

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Focus on Fundraising: Spring Clean Up - Garage Sale by Deane Brengle

A garage sale is a great way to turn junk into money for your group. If you make this a yearly event it will grow in size (and money) every year.

To make your garage sale a successful one your group will need to make it as large as possible and promote it to the entire community.

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Counting: ONE, TWO, THREE by Doug Nash

Here's a fund-raising idea to raise money and to keep people guessing. It's simple, inexpensive, easy to do and is adaptable to almost any hub event.

What you do is fill a vessel with some kind of a filler that can be counted, then you charge a set amount for a person to enter a guess of how many individual fillers the vessel contains to win a prize. People can enter as many times as they like, the more they enter the more you make.

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Ideas to Boost Teacher Fundraising Support by the AFRDS

We asked a number of parent groups, principals and product fundraising professionals how they motivate teachers to participate in school fundraising activities. Here's a sampling:

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Master Calendar 2000: February Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Not many nonprofits of any kind make use of Groundhog Day as an opportunity to fundraise and that is unfortunate. On this day a groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil is supposed to come out of his hole and predict whether spring will come immediately or if we will have six more weeks of winter. Maybe (and that's a big maybe) at one time this idea held some water, but it has evolved into just a good time event to bolster a small town in Pennsylvania.

For those of you choosing to hold an event tied to Groundhog Day there are a lot of benefits:

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Conducting a Community Clean-up Fix-up Campaign by Robert "Stan" McAdoo

A clean, attractive community is not only a more pleasant place to live, but the value of the good impression it makes on prospective employers, professionals and others who visit your community should never be underestimated. Clean-up campaigns can involve a large number of citizens and give them a sense of accomplishment. They can even be fun.

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Master Calendar 2000 March Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

March 7th - Mardi Gras Day
March 17th - St. Patrick's Day
March 20th - Vernal Equinox (first day of spring)
March 26th - Oscar's

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Indiana Jones Trilogy Fundraiser Ad

American Cancer Society's Relay for Life movie fundraiser advertisement.

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Animal Rescue Center Funds Projects by Selling Used Shoes on Ebay

The San Felipe Animal Rescue opened its doors as a non-profit organization in 2003. San Felipe is a small fishing village, located on the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, about 125 miles south of the US border and located on the Sea of Cortez.

It became apparent early on that funding for this giant project was not going to come from the States, because foundations and grant givers are not chartered to fund outside the contiguous United States. Furthermore, Mexico, does not participate in funding Spay/Neuter groups either. After some 300 grant packages were sent out, lovely letters of rejection were returned saying, "keep up the good work", but we cannot give you any money at this time.

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Master Calendar 2000: April Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for the future month.

April 1st - April Fools Day
April 9th - 15th - National Volunteer Week 2000
April 15th - Tax Day
April 16th - Palm Sunday
April 20th - Passover
April 21st - Good Friday
April 22 - Earth Day
April 23rd - Easter Sunday

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Speed Gun by Doug Nash

Good fund-raisers are always based on what people enjoy doing, and if others are interested in doing most of the work for you then you are on a winner. This fund-raiser is based on both these principles. One of the things kids love doing is throwing, from rocks to all sorts of things so get them to throw balls. Thatís right - throw balls but you see how fast they throw by using a speed gun from the police. The police are always keen to be a part of community projects and have shown in the past to be agreeable to participating in this particular event. This is not a rare fund-raiser in Australian fetes. So here you have kids having fun and the police being part of the community and you having a successful fund-raiser.

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Master Calendar 2000 - May Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for the future month.

May 5th - Cinco De Mayo
May 6th - Kentucky Derby
May 14th - Mothers Day
May 29th - Memorial Day

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Master Calendar 2000 June Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for the future month.

June 14th - Flag Day
June18th - Father's Day

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12 Steps to Sponsorship Success by Sylvia Allen

Selling sponsorships is not a matter of buying a mailing list of potential buyers, writing a direct mail letter, putting together a "package", mailing everything out and waiting for the telephone to ring with people offering you money. It's a nice dream but the reality is much more complicated (and time consuming) than that. Before getting started you should have a definition of sponsorship. The following definition is by no means perfect; however, there are some choice words that help you purse your sponsorship sales with a good foundation. Sponsorship is an investment, in cash or in kind, in return for access to exploitable business potential associated with an event or highly publicized entity.

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Master Calendar 2000: June Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for the future month.

July 4th - Independence Day

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Tours by Doug Nash

The freedom of owning or being able to drive a car is taken for granted. The freedom for everyone to get to all the sales and warehouses to save money is also taken for granted. However there is a sizeable number of people who do not enjoy these freedoms. Here is an opportunity to provide a public service, have fun and raise funds.

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Master Calendar 2000 - September Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for a future month.

Labor Day - September 4th
Autumnal Equinox - September 22nd

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Fundraising Idea of the Month: Painting by Doug Nash

There are two reasons for having a public fund-raiser : to raise funds and to draw attention to your cause, organisation or message. Here is a vehicle perfect for this activity.

You need to approach a few local artists and a local shopping centre. You ask the local artists to donate their time and skill. You are helping them to get exposure, so normally they will agree. The number of artists you involve depends on what you think is right for you, the number of artists available and the types of paintings you want at the end. If you are a little short on 'real' artists consider having a few 'graffiti' artists to help out. From the local shopping centre you need a ...

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Master Calendar 2000: October Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for a future month.

Yom Kippur - October 9th
Columbus Day - October 9th
Sweetest Day - October 21st
Make a Difference Day - October 28th
Halloween - October 31st

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Master Calendar 2000: November Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for a future month.

Election Day - November 7th
Veteran's Day - November 11th
Sadie Hawkins Day - November 13th
Thanksgiving - November 23rd

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Master Calendar 2000: December Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for a future month. We then cover one event in detail.

Winter Solstice - December 21st
Chanukkah - December 22nd
Christmas - December 25th
Kwanzaa - December 25th
New Years Eve - December 31st

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Selecting the Right Fundraiser Incentives by the AFRDS

Answers to the following questions will help when evaluating the quality and appropriateness of fundraiser incentive programs:

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Master Calendar 2001: January Holiday and Seasonal Fundraising Ideas by Deane Brengle

Each month we take a look at what fundraising opportunities the holidays and other seasonal events present for a future month. We then cover one event in detail.

New Years Day - January 1
Martin Luther King Jr Day - January 15th
Super Bowl Sunday - January 28th

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Focus on Fundraising: St. Patrick's Day by Deane Brengle

St. Patrick's Day is a great day to hold a fundraiser. The theme is already set and all you have to do is provide a suitable event. This upcoming St. Patrick's Day is even better because it falls on a Saturday, March 17, 2001.

St. Patrick's Day is a tribute to Patrick, Ireland's patron saint. His story is pretty much unknown unless your Irish. But we all know about celebrating his day - wear (or drink) something green. St. Patrick's Day is a light hearted affair that lends itself to good time fundraising events.

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Delivering Telephone Directories for Dollars

Every nonprofit faces the chore of finding fresh fundraising ideas so their members won't burn out. The trend lately has been toward members volunteering time in the short term employment of a for profit company and the nonprofit reaping the benefits in the form of pay for the time volunteered. Several nationwide chains of department stores, most notably Kohl's and Hudson's, offered this opportunity over the recent holiday season.

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Donate Your Used Car to the Kidney Cars Program

A multi fold brochure describing the Kidney Cars Program for used car donations.

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Grassroots Fundraising: Fencing by Doug Nash

When you are the trail of raising dollars for a worthwhile and nonprofit cause you must use what ever is at your disposal for maximum return. Sometimes when you start you don't have a great deal to use. A good idea is to see what the commercial world is doing and adapting these ideas to solve your problems. This is one such idea.

Have you noticed that when you go to a sporting ground that has a major sports team, the amount of sponsorship signs that are on fences and walls? Every available piece of space is ablaze with some piece of advertising or sponsorship. If it's good enough for them then isn't good enough for you?

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Eagle Walk of Pride: Brick Fundraiser Program Brochure

A multi-fold brochure detailing the Eagle Walk of Pride Brick Fundraiser Program.

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Grassroots Fundraising: Santa's Helpers by Doug Nash

Christmas is a time of good cheer and sharing, a good time for fundraising. People are in the mood to spread their good fortune and what better way to spread their good fortune than to help your worthwhile cause? Here are some ways to help people celebrate the Yuletide and assist your organisation in their fundraising efforts.

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Book Review: Fundraise Painlessly, How to Earn More Funds by Chip & Ralfie Blasius

As a self described "field guide for volunteers seeking to generate money," Fundraise Painlessly is a real life saver for the part time volunteer fundraiser of any small nonprofit group. The authors have created an easy to read format in the 8 1/2" x 11" softcover book, with detailed instructions for over 60 different fundraisers packed into it's 192 pages.

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Garden Tour Fundraiser Pamphlet

A pamphlet distributed for a Garden Tour Fundraiser.

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Fundraising Brochure: Go Bananas for Our New Great Ape Exhibit

A multi-fold brochure distributed to encourage fundraising donations for a new ape exhibit at a zoo.

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Grassroots Fundraising: Coupon Books by Doug Nash

Coupon books have been around for a long while, done right they can be a very worthwhile fund-raiser. A coupon book is a book of discount deals or other offers by businesses to the purchasers of the book to promote their business. The book offers the owner tow for one deals, buy one item get another free, or discounts on presentation of the coupon in the book.

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Grassroots Fundraising: Answer Back by Doug Nash

Answering machines are now a fact of life in this modern, busy lifestyle we live. How many times do people call and not leave a message or you have to listen to the usual boring message `we are not here so please a message after the beep'. Wouldn't it be great to hear or have something new or funny on the answering machine? Why can't it be different?

Well, it can and you can raise funds while doing something about it! Record funny messages for people, relieve them of the hassle of doing it themselves. Help them to have a unique message. This is a real fun way to raise funds for you project or group.

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Souvenir Game Programs by J. Alden Briggs Jr. and Jana Duffy

A souvenir game program is both an excellent profit-maker and a useful tool to promote the image of your soccer organization within the community.

Before making any kind of production decision, you should determine whether there is a market for your game program. Will people buy it in sufficient numbers? Some contests, particularly at the youth level, may not draw enough spectators to justify anything more than a simple roster sheet.

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Grassroots Fundraising: Photo Opportunities by Doug Nash

You've seen them at fairs and tourist destinations. People paying to have their photo taken with a cardboard cut-out of a celebrity. If it's good enough for a commercial operator then isn't it good enough for you?

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Dundalk High School Alumni Association Schedule of Fundraising Activities

The following is the schedule of activities (fundraisers) for the remainder of 1998.

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Fundraising Product Sales by J. Alden Briggs Jr. and Jana Duffy

When making an agreement with a fundraising supplier, be sure to cover the following general contract provisions:

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Daycare Fundraiser Ad

A fundraiser for play equipment.

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Prevo Market Fundraising Program

A Grand Rapids, Michigan supermarket fundraising program to support nonprofits in the community.

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Little Caesars: A Local Fundraising Offer

A local pizza fundraiser.

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Grassroots Fundraising: Cook Books by Doug Nash

Cook books are always in fashion. From ethnic flavours to TV chefs to diets, all sorts of themes are used to sell cook books. So devise your own theme and off you go.

By having members of your group donate their recipes you stand a better chance of having a sales base on which to build. This also offers the opportunity to reflect the ethnicity or uniqueness of the local area and therefore increases the appeal to the local community so sales will be helped.

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A Bookstore and School Fundraiser Newspaper Ad

A local Grand Haven bookstore teams up with school libraries with a simple fundraising idea to benefit both.

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Valentines Day Fundraising by Deane Brengle

Fundraising events usually take a break around holidays. The competition for time in everyone's lives doesn't usually make it worthwhile to schedule a fundraiser. That is except for Valentines Day.

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