How to Raise Money for Community Service Projects or Missions

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Whether it’s a vacation or a new roof, sometimes life doesn’t go as expected and we just don’t have the money for some of the things we want to do.

In a future article I’ll discuss raising the money to fund personal financial goals that are not covered by your budget or your savings. But let’s say your financial need is for a community service project or a mission trip and you know that others would like to help you reach your goal. Then there are other, more public ways, to raise the money.

Go Fund Me

This program takes the traditional support letter to a whole new level. You know what I mean. Remember going on a short-term mission trip as a kid and writing a letter to all of your parents’ friends asking them to support you

Well, imagine growing that number exponentially with the help of social media and the Internet. GoFundMe.com does just that. This program assists you in setting up your own website that explains your need. You then share this site with others using social media channels like Facebook or Twitter.

Your site is also listed on the GoFundMe main page. From this page, benevolent people looking for a place to give can peruse the list of categories and may view your site. Those visiting your site may donate funds with the click of a button. You immediately receive those funds (minus a 5% fee) in a PayPal or WePay account. And anyone can do it.

You do not have to be considered a nonprofit organization to use GoFundMe. People have set up sites to raise the money for everything from mission trips to medical bills, weddings and honeymoons, business ventures, and college tuition.

Discount Cards

Our homeschool support group does a few fundraisers each year to raise money for its graduation celebration. One of those is selling Domino’s Pizza discount cards. Domino’s Pizza sells our group the cards for $1 each. The kids then sell them for $10 to friends, family, and neighbors. The card is good for 20 buy-one-get-one-free deals. That adds up to 20 free pizzas. Not a bad deal for $10. Plus, our group earns $9 for each card sold.

If you don’t have Domino’s Pizza in your area, try Papa John’s or Papa Murphy’s for similar programs.

Flamingo Flocking

This idea requires a little start-up investment but it is worth it just for the fun. Begin by purchasing a supply of those pink, plastic flamingos that you occasionally see in front yards. You then place the flock in the yard of a business or individual with a note explaining that they must pay you a set amount to have them relocated to another location of their choice. And on it goes for the fundraising period.

Of course when you set up the flamingos, you provide the unsuspecting victims with a written, detailed description of your organization explaining why you are raising money. For more details and ideas using pink flamingos, see the article Pink Flamingo Fundraiser for Nonprofit Groups.

Direct Sales Fundraising

Longaberger, Avon, and Tupperware are just a few direct sales companies that sponsor fundraising for groups or organizations. Generally, it involves hosting a party where the products are sold and your group gets a generous percentage of the sales. The party need not be a true gathering; but can be a passing around of catalogs and collecting of orders. The programs vary from company to company so you will want to contact representatives from several different ones and compare what they have to offer.

There are several websites dedicated to helping non-profits raise the money they need. A simple web search for “non-profit fundraising ideas” brought up plenty of places to look for ideas.

But what about your church, school, or civic organization—what have they done to raise funds? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

This article was originally published on November 22, 2011 on ChristianPF.

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15 Comments
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  1. Good ideas…another site for “crowdfunding” is Kickstarter. I don’t know if there are any non-profit projects going on there, but the site covers a broad range of fundable ideas.

    And, of course, there’s the ol’ standby: pray.

  2. For years I was the coordinator for our Parent Booster Group using http://www.glscrip.com to sell a large variety of gift cards at a discount.

    The active parents were able to earn over $11,000 a year to help with fees and expenses. Highly recommend if you have an ongoing project and live in an area with many national level stores and restaurants.

  3. Rebecca K

    Our youth group does something similar to the flamingos — but they built a tall “box” with some plywood, and painted it to look like an outhouse. It’s fun to pick who gets to be the next victim. They have three “fee” options. Before the outhouse shenanigans start, you can pay for “insurance” that it will never come to your home. Then, if you don’t pay that, and it arrives at your house, you can choose to pay a “removal only” fee, or a “removal and insurance” fee, which then insures it will never come back to you. They also put one of those metal mailboxes on the side of it so that you can just leave the envelope with payment in there, and then you don’t have to worry about being home when they come to pick it up. Kind of fun! :)

  4. James Corbin

    The only problem with these fundraising ideas is that your friends are always the ones hit up over and over again. Most things sold during direct marketing are expensive since the distributor has to make a profit as well as the direct seller. As far as the flamingos, that seems to have a little coercion involved in it.

    • To some degree I agree, James. However, a school by our house sells discount cards that I like to have to use at the grocery store. It pays for itself with just a couple trips. The rest of the year, I’m saving money. So with this method, I don’t feel “hit up” at all.

  5. The Wakemans

    One group of flamingo flocker’s we knew had people pay to have the bird’s delivered . There was no cost to one flocked but of course they could choose, if they wished, to determine where they went next with a donation of their own. It was fun to watch around town to see where they flew.

  6. Well i have been working in slums of Nairobi Kenya and rural areas in Kenya for the last 17 years my small church which consist of unemployed people living below poverty and spent less than a dollar a day i started a School which has grown from baby class to high school i do fund raising myself online and thank God for what you are doing to this world .i wish i had known you long time a go Please if there is any way you can help us please feel free to share with us

  7. My daughter’s school offers the gift cards. For every $1500 bought, we receive a tuition discount of $75. They offer cards to every local grocery store, department store and even Wal Mart. They buy them at a discount, and we pay face value for them. The school is able to raise a substantial amount of money, and we can receive a tuition discount for money that we would be spending anyway. It really is a win-win.

  8. Many great ideas – I hate that these certain sites charge a large percentage (ok, it might be small, but it adds up fast).

  9. I have know several people raising money for adoptions to collect used baby clothes from friends, family, and church members. They then wash them, tag them, and sell them at a consignment sale. It’s a great idea for an individual trying to raise money for an adoption or mission trip.

  10. DARIUS OBONDI

    We do collect money monthly from Prayer devotional members,whereby we give one of them in that month and the next one the next month until all of us is given in that circle.Thanks.A lot.

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