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How to raise money for your cause

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Tips to raise money for your cause and increase your fundraising success

At some point in life, a certain cause will come along and touch close to home. You’ll feel compelled to contribute or take part in some way, but you may not have a lot of time or money at the moment. This is where creative fundraising comes into play.

Raise money for your cause, and you’ll boost awareness and funding. Fortunately, fundraising has come a long way since the days of selling lollipops. You can plan a community event, hold an online contest or even sell tasty treats like subs, fresh local pizzas and more. 

Organization Outreach

One way you can approach this project is to call up the organization that supports the cause and let them know you’re interested in doing a fundraiser for them. Some will send you brochures and other materials to help brand your campaign to the cause. Others may have a specific project they’re trying to fund.

Letting people know exactly what their money will go toward can increase the amount of your donations significantly. For instance, an animal shelter may need money to expand their facilities so they can care for more animals. 

Setting a Goal

Setting a fundraising goal gives your campaign focus and momentum. It may be unrealistic to expect to raise enough to fund an entire building extension, but the funds may cover a fraction. If you have the time or a friend who wants to help, task her with pitching a few local companies to see if they’ll match what you raise to double the final contribution.

Break the Goal Down

While setting a goal is great for morale, it can feel intimidating early on before checks start rolling in. Whether you’re working with a team or on your own, break the goal down into manageable mini goals and mark them on the calendar. Another way is to look at the number of transactions needed. If you’re making $10 for every gift basket sold, it helps to know you need to sell fifty of them to hit that $500 goal.

Check out these creative ways to raise money for your cause:

Fun Food Fundraising 

Local and national chain restaurants now offer schools and other worthy causes a chance to raise money while supporters enjoy dinner, ice cream or gourmet pizza. You get flyers or invitations to pass out in the community, and then your cause gets a percentage of every person's check who presents the flyer on a certain day. 
Look for chains like California Pizza Kitchen or Sweet Tomatoes, or check with the restaurants in your community.  

Sell shirts and other personalized items

Encourage supporters to show their spirit by buying and wearing t-shirts, sweatshirts or caps with your team or organization logo. Or offer reusable custom logo cups filled with hot cocoa at a chilly football game, or ice cold lemonaide on a blistering summer day. 

Organize a 5K Race

Races are popular community events because you don’t have to be a diehard runner to complete 3.1 miles, and the planning side is relatively simple. Google past races in your area and reach out to the race director so you can pick their brain for tips and contacts. You’ll definitely need to get the proper permits to hold the race.

Consider starting with a kids’ dash or a walk/run to include children and people who can’t run. Around Halloween, try a Zombie Run where anyone who doesn’t dress like a zombie gets chased. In a community with lots of single people, hold a Skirt Chaser race where the females get a small head start and can wear athletic skirts to run in.

Organize an Event

Fundraising events present a tremendous opportunity to raise money for your cause, as well as resources and local support. The event could be a themed party where you charge a cover at the door, sell raffle tickets and hold an art auction – that’s three ways to earn at just one event. 

The notion that money saved is money earned applies to events, too. The more expenses that you can get donated, the more profits you’ll have in the end.  Ask the venue to donate their space in exchange for a sponsorship credit. Send a note to a local winery or brewery to see if they want to donate product.  

To increase chances of success, check local calendars to make sure your campaign won’t compete with a larger one. There’s always a possibility that you may not reach your goal, but it means a lot that you try.

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