Looking to raise a bit of money for a good cause? That’s awesome! It’s always great to see someone who seeks to make the world a better place.
Here’s the thing, though. How do you plan to raise money? While you certainly could go the traditional route – a fundraising drive, a carnival, a raffle, etc. – and raise a ton of cash, why not think outside the box?
Why not do something well and truly unique?
I know that’s easier said than done. But at the same time, if you pull it off right, you could do more for your cause than you ever could with a simple donate on drive. Of course, no one’s saying you have to pull these ideas entirely from your own head – let me help you get started.
See if a few of the fundraising concepts presented here don’t pique your interest a little:
Host a Video Game Tournament with a Twist
Back when I was in university, I attended a convention hosted on my local campus. It was a largely forgettable affair, save for one thing – they were hosting a Pokemon tournament. What made it interesting though, was that they didn’t really have ‘traditional’ tournament brackets.
For those of you who know nothing of the game, this next it might require a bit of explaining. See, Pokemon’s a game series all about capturing and training a team of powerful, element-based creatures to do battle with other trainers. In each game, there’s eight to sixteen professionals (“Gym Leaders”) who hand out certifications (“Badges”) to those who defeat them. These leaders generally keep to their place of business (Their “Gym”) waiting for people to come and challenge them; each leader usually specializes in a particular ‘type’ of Pokemon.
When someone gets eight badges, they earn the right to challenge the best of the best – the Elite Four – for a championship title.
The tournament organizers fully adopted this stuff from the game– they had volunteers spread throughout the convention to act as Gym Leaders, and each one was in an area that fit the theme of their Pokemon. Anyone who defeated them was handed a physical token that served as a badge, and every player who collected eight such tokens was entered into the finals where, instead of fighting the Elite Four, they did battle with one another.
Alright…so where am I going with this?
Easy – like it or not, video games have become a pretty essential part of Western culture, and gaming-related charity events can actually be quite successful – Child’s Play for example, has raised over $25 million worldwide to improve the lives of children in hospitals and domestic violence shelters. In short, by hosting a video game event – and really getting creative with how it’s set up – you can actually raise a ton of money. Awesome, right?
Turn Donations into a Competition
Our next tip comes to us courtesy of Eleventy Group, and taps into a trend that’s become surprisingly common in the fundraising space (though no less awesome for it) – turning donations into a contest. Give people who donate a chance to win something.
Maybe they’re entered into a raffle for some great swag, or maybe the highest donor is awarded a prize. The important thing is that you’re giving people something other than a warm, fuzzy feeling for participating. In short, you’re making them doubly motivated to help you.
Get People To Use Their Talents
Here’s another tip from Eleventy Group: why should you be the only creative one in your fundraising drive? Why not inspire your supporters to contribute something of their own? You could have people donate drawings, write music, or create applications as part of a competition – or you could simply ask people to help you raise money however they see fit.
“Sure, nonprofits regularly ask people to give their time or money,” reads a blog post on the site; “but how often do you ask them to contribute their individual skills? That’s what most people really want: To use our personal gifts to help make a difference in the world. Ask people on social media if they have a unique skill they would like to contribute to your organization. Maybe someone makes ice sculptures, owns a landscaping business or likes to build websites.”
See, as much as people love helping out a good cause, they also love being creative. Think of the last time you made something that was uniquely yours, and think of how satisfying that was. You can channel that satisfaction to enhance your charitable pursuits.
Do Something Downright Weird
For many people, November means one thing – no shaving for a month. It’s part of a global charity event known as Movember, where men across the world grow out their facial hair (or just their moustaches) to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Here’s the thing – this started as a local, oddball movement, and has grown into something else entirely.
I’ve known people who use the term “Movember” more than the month’s actual name.
As such, my next piece of advice for you is simple: do something completely out of left field.
“With your nonprofit’s mission in mind, sit down for a brainstorming session and come up with as many ideas for events as you can,” advises Eleventy Group. “Nothing is too outlandish. A few of your ideas are bound to be great—or at least worth testing out at the local level.”
Get the Internet Involved
Look at the Ice Bucket Challenge. It seems to fit pretty well into the ‘oddball idea’ court that we just discussed, no? I mean, who came up with the idea to pour a bucket of ice over someone’s head in order to support ALS research?
No, seriously, who did it? Because they’re a genius. See, The Ice Bucket Challenge taps into something that no traditional fundraiser does: YouTube.
It gets people on the Internet involved. It gives them a chance to create their own videos, to record their own experiences, and maybe even to go viral. As noted by Forbes, there’s a very good reason it was so successful.
Now that you’ve a few ideas to get you started, the ball’s in your court. Get out there, and start thinking about how you can define your charity. I’ve every confidence that you’ll come up with something grand.