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Fundraising Articles


Everybody wants an easy fundraiser.  The problem is that you
also want results.

So, how do you get the best results from an easy fundraiser?

Three things to consider:

1) Effort
2) Resources
3) Duration

An easy fundraiser shouldn't take a lot of effort, but let's be
honest.  It is going to take SOME effort.

The level of effort is often directly proportional to the size
of your group's monetary goal, but not always.  That's why you
are considering an easy fundraiser in the first place - you're
looking for less effort, not more.

Resources are always a problem in small group fundraising. You
can never have too many volunteers and you usually never have
enough.  For an easy fundraiser, you want programs that don't
require an excessive time commitment from a large number of

You want either a single weekend only activity or a program
that takes only a small amount of time each week.  It's easier
to get people to help with something that doesn't require more
than a two-hour commitment from them.  Conserve your resources
with an easy fundraiser and you'll have more to draw on later
when you really need help.

Duration is important.  An easy fundraiser that lasts more than
a single weekend should not require a lot of attention to keep
it productive.  Those that only last a single weekend shouldn't
require a tremendous amount of prep time.

So, what easy fundraisers take only a little effort, few
resources, and have the right duration?

Some simple ones to put together are:

1) Printer cartridge recycling program
2) Onsite or Online Yard Sale
3) Seasonal Specialty Item Sale

A recycling program for collecting used printer cartridges costs
nothing to put together. All collection boxes and shipping needs
are covered by the supplier.

Your effort involves finding businesses to participate in the
program, leaving pre-labeled boxes with a site representative,
and providing directions on calling UPS to pick up a full box.

A used cartridge is worth between $1 and $20, depending on the
popularity of the printer and the cost of a new cartridge.  Many
businesses encourage recycling efforts.  For good prospects,
check with the leasing manager of large office buildings that
house multiple companies.

Another good location is an electronics store or office supply
retailer.  Customers often bring in their old cartridge when
shopping for a replacement.  You are doing the retailer a
service by providing them with an environmentally safe way to
dispose of these leftovers.

A good recycling program will cover a couple of dozen sites and
not require much work after the initial placement.  Over time,
working this many sites can produce a considerable amount of
funds for your group.

A big yard sale is another easy fundraiser to pull off.  It's
short in duration, usually just a Saturday sale with some prep
time the night before.  Choose a nice high-visibility location
like a school or church parking lot.  Advertise in the local
paper and put up signs for the cagey veterans who troll around
on Saturday mornings looking for bargains.

Group your items together by category - kids clothes, tools,
toys, books, pictures, music, etc.  Place general price signs
around items instead of pricing everything individually. For
example, "$5-$10 Tools" or "Books: $1-$3" are signs that allow
people to haggle and help you avoid putting on hundreds of
price stickers.

Resources are needed most for helping to sell. Recruit outgoing
types who can be enthusiastic about these odds and ends.  Make
it a fun time with some helium balloons for small children and
have coffee/doughnuts available for adults. 

By grouping items together from multiple households, you create
a bigger draw as well as a bigger workforce. If you attract
enough shoppers along with enough donations, you can raise as
much as $500 per participating household.

A variation on the yard sale fundraiser is to sell the items
online.  The best place to sell large quantities of lower-priced
items is on Half.com.  You'll get more for books, music, and
consumer electronics that way. 

Keep it in mind as a way to get better results on some items or
as an easier fundraiser to do for very small groups.  You'll
need to spend some time creating the listings and having online
pictures posted seems to help with higher-priced items.  All in
all, it's an easy fundraiser that produces results.

The third type of easy fundraiser is a weekend specialty sale of
a seasonal item.  Examples would be a Pumpkin Patch sale, a
Christmas Tree sale, a Spring Flower Bulb fiesta, and so on.

This involves an effort similar to having a large yard sale.
You'll need a high-traffic location and some advance publicity.
Your goal is to capture seasonal sales from the general public
as well as those from within your group.

Avoid stretching these sales over more than one weekend or
you'll run into resource issues.  Make it quick and keep it
fun.  Setup on a Friday, sell hard on Saturday, and wrap it
up by Sunday afternoon.

Make arrangements ahead of time with your supplier about how
to handle left over items.  Source pumpkins from the local
Farmer's Market, Christmas trees from grower's associations,
and flower bulbs from national suppliers.

Be sure to price everything competitively and offer great
customer service.  For Christmas trees, have able bodies
standing by to tie them down on vehicles.  For pumpkins,
help place them in the trunk.  The easier you make it for
customers, the more you'll net for your group.

Putting together an easy fundraiser isn't hard.  It does take
some effort and it does require resources, but nothing too
difficult.  Give your group a helping hand by taking it easy.


Copyright 2002 - Kimberly Reynolds

About The Author: Kimberly Reynolds is the author of Fundraising Success, a best selling ebook on fundraising. You can read more of her fundraising ideas for fundraisers on her website, FundraiserHelp.com.

You may reprint this article as long as this resource box accompanies the article.


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