Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Empower volunteer efforts

Tip #2: How to raise money for your nonprofit in 2011

Does your organization have volunteer groups that host events or challenges to raise funds? If so, draw up a list of ideas that they can use to raise funds. These smaller fundraisers may generate $5,000 or less, but it all adds up and can fund low-cost necessities that make a difference to the people that you serve in your nonprofit. Some examples are providing textbooks to low-income students; transportation to uninsured patients; outings for kids in foster homes; or household repairs for seniors struggling to stay in their homes.
Here are some ideas for your volunteer groups:
1.     Host a comedy club. If you’ve got friends who are the life of the party, invite them to use their jokes for a worthy cause. We all need a good laugh. Secure a hall rent-free (their contribution to your nonprofit). Have vendors come in and sell their food, giving your nonprofit a percentage of the sales.
2.     Go one better and stage a talent show, like they used to do in middle school…except use adults. The more outrageous, the better. Not to say that many of your friends and associates don’t have legitimate talent. But if they did, they probably would be in show business.
3.     Sell on Ebay. Collect items from people who want to get rid of “stuff” and auction it off with proceeds going toward your nonprofit.
4.     Silent auctions remain popular. Live auctions are even better because they build excitement and feed off each other’s bids. Plus, the auctioneers have a way of getting you to bid on something you otherwise might not want or need. Peer pressure reigns supreme at these events.
5.     Food cook-off. Select good cooks who are willing to prepare their favorite meal for a large group. Add in some great bakers who are willing to donate cupcakes, cookies, breads and cakes and you’ve got an event. Add some fine wines or specialty drinks by area bartenders and it will be an afternoon or evening to remember.