Fundraising Ideas for Your Personal Financial Goals

My personal friends Ralph and LeAnn planned for years to take their children on a trip around the country. As self-employed homeschoolers they didn’t have major problems with living on the road for an extended period of time; but the money was a big factor. So they put their heads together and came up with a plan. After a several years and thousands of dollars in the bank, they were on their way.

I remembered their story a few weeks ago while mulling over my latest idea. I want to go to Haiti in March and surprise my son who lives there for his 21st birthday. Only problem is, I do not have the money to go. But I am determined.

He’s my boy, after all, and he has been working for a mission in a foreign country since he was 18 years old. The fact that I do not have the money to go, nor have any hope of saving that money before the March winds blow, makes this trip a personal financial goal. So, I’m planning to implement a few ideas gleaned from our friends’ experience.

How They Fundraised, and You Can Too!

Seeing the Progress

They spent an evening making a big poster like a thermometer. You know the kind. You see them up in libraries, hospitals, schools, or other places trying to raise funds for a large project. They wrote their financial goal at the top of the thermometer and filled in with red marker up to the line that indicated how much they had saved to date. After hanging this poster in a prominent location, they colored in the thermometer after each bank deposit.

But where did the money come from for those deposits? Personal fundraisers. No, they didn’t stand at traffic lights or the Walmart parking lot with signs that said, “Needy family needs $$ for vacation.” They didn’t even advertise what they were doing. They just did extra things.

Bake Sales and Car Washes

Since Ralph owns a store-front business in a prominent shopping center, the family would spend a few days baking. They then set up at the shopping center selling their goods. All the proceeds went into their vacation fund. The store also provided a great place for having car washes. Of course, you will want to check on local ordinances before baking hundreds of cookies.

Yard Sales

This method did wonders for getting the basement cleaned out. Our friends were extra-motivated to clean out unused and unwanted items to sell in yard sales. If you don’t live on a busy road, consider renting a table at a local flea market. Generally, a table space goes for 10-$15 and that amount is minimal compared with your earning potential.


Our friends worked as child care providers during special services at a church in their area. You could also do some child care in your home, or pet sitting, or even house sitting for friends.

The Coin Jar

LeAnn didn’t share this with me; but I’ve seen many people do this. Each evening when you empty your pockets put your change in a large jar on your counter or dresser. But don’t take any out. When the jar is full, deposit this money into your fund. You’d be amazed at how quickly it adds up.

Basically, the money you earn from anything that provides extra income can be earmarked “Personal Financial Goal.” Ralph has a hobby business burning old-time LP’s onto CD. During the time they were saving for their trip, half the money Ralph made from this business went into the vacation fund. Hey, we have a few of those hobbies that make a little something. Looks like I’m on my way.

And if you are raising money for a non-profit project or mission trip, check out as an option.

What about you? Have you ever needed to save money for a big project? What did you do to earn the extra funds? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments!

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  1. Cherie

    Carol – Great article and motivation for anyone that has a “spending goal” in their plans.

    Never underestimate the willingness of others to clean out their closet for your garage sale efforts!

    A local friend was fundraising for a mission trip and most of us were tapped out as far as charitable giving – but then she decided to do a garage sale. She made more from that weekend of sweat equity and donations than she had invisioned from asking for donations!!

    • Carol J. Alexander

      That’s right, Cherie. My sister-in-law has had all kinds of people gladly give her things for her yard sales, just because they didn’t want to drive them to the thrift store to donate them.

  2. sharon akinoluwa

    Carol, great one there. A woman needed some funds in the Bible and went seeking help from Prophet Elisha. “And Elisha said unto her, What shall I do for thee? tell me, what hast thou in the house?” 2Ki 4:2 I believe that the answer to most of our financial challenges could be found in our willingness and ability to look inward. We all have something, no matter how small, that could mark the beginning of our financial breakthrough. If we can think enough, what we have is enough.

  3. Samirian @MoneyWisdoms

    @sharon, very well said. Good article. We forget about planning, scarfice and patience.

  4. The Wakemans

    Sharing the income with others works too…
    We have several different items we make to sell but not the time or resources to market. Therefore, we have worked out consignment arrangements with a local store, vendor’s at different farmer’s markets, and seller’s at the fall bazaar. We benefit from a greater number of purchases with less time commitments, while those that help us make a % of the sale. (Win-Win for all)

  5. KathyM

    Great ideas, Carol! And I would add a vote on the extra one about friends donating stuff for a yard sale. If we only lived closer to each other… 🙂 Another idea we used for a hopeful trip out west (that got postponed by weddings), was to agree as a family to donate the money that would’ve been spent on birthday gifts into one fund. We did that for almost 2 years, and it really adds up. 🙂

    • Carol J. Alexander

      Wonderful idea, Kathy! Thanks for sharing. Hopefully, with no weddings on the horizon, you’ll be able to get on that trip. 🙂

  6. Don

    Excellent post! I loved the part about making the thermometer poster to “see” the progress they are making towards the goal. I am a visual person and have graphs and pictures everyone that shows my progress towards goals. It helps keep me motivated to see my savings increase as opposed to just knowing I am saving “X” amount of dollars each month.

    • Carol J. Alexander

      That goes along with the concept of marking things off your “to do” list, using a white board, postie notes, etc. I’m definitely a paper and pencil kind of person.