9 Simple Ways to Raise Money and Engage Your Community
By: Bethe Ferguson
Are you looking for new profit-packed ideas for fundraising?
While tried-and-true festivals and one-to-one sales will always be key money-makers, there are other ways to inspire the awe factor and bump up contributions.
Fun foods set the mood, remind parents of wonderful memories, and build a sense of community. They are the perfect pairings with most fundraising activities with low food costs to help you keep more money—most average 70% to 80% profit margins.
But don't forget the KIS Principle. Keep it simple by focusing on profitable items that are proven money makers (e.g., popcorn and gourmet corn flavors, nachos, cotton candy, or hot dogs).
There are countless creative tweaks and new flavor combinations you can add—using your existing machine or one that has multiple uses—to keep your overhead low.
The nine profit-packed ideas below will also help you connect with families and the neighborhood.
Be sure to ask your committee members, families, and the congregation for help. You'll increase the number of personal connections, which can help turn a "no" into a "yes," and they'll feel more involved with the event.
1. Partner with a Local Business
Create the perfect night in and generate sales with pre-packaged cotton candy, nachos, or caramel corn for dessert. You'll receive a larger cut by providing the items yourself, and the pizza shop will stand apart from the competition that only offers the traditional two-liter of soda.
2. "Drive-In" Movie
It's dinner, a show, and a snack in one family-friendly night. You can also theme the food to your movie (e.g., red and green candied popcorn for a Christmas film, or Spoon Full of Sugar Sno-Kones for Mary Poppins).
3. Photography/Art Exhibit
4. Coffee Talk
Suggested speakers include health professionals to address concerns (especially relevant during flu season); local sports stars to speak about how to encourage a healthy lifestyle; or librarians/historical preservation society members to speak about the history of your area. Charge a small entrance fee, offer the coffee for free, and sell the treats to go with it.
5. An All-Neighborhood Garage Sale
6. Night Out/Night In Raffle
Mom and Dad will get a night out, and rest assured knowing their children are well-occupied with an age-appropriate movie. The raffle can stand alone or be added to an existing event.
7. Putting On the Hits
8. Game Night or Bowling Night
You can also work with a local bowling alley to host an event and split the proceeds. Promote the tasty treats at their snack bar with fun names like Knockdown Nachos. Bowling alleys may ask you to go in on an off-league night.
9. Murder Mystery Night
You can buy scripts or challenge your staff and families to create their own. Serve dinner as part of the event, or blindfold your guests and have a mystery food tasting.
Bethe Ferguson is with Gold Medal Products Co., www.gmpopcorn.com.