Earn to learn! We encourage you to fundraise if you do not have funds allocated in your budget for professional development events.

Here are some ideas to meet your fundraising goals. Happy Fundraising!  

Letter Campaign

Sponsorship Letter
If you surveyed any of the top non-profit organizations, it’s almost guaranteed they would say that point-blank asking is the most efficient means of getting funds. This is an especially good idea if you are fundraising individually.

Host an Event

All You Can Eat Baked Potato Bar
Estimated Amount Fundraised: $200+ (for attendance of 20)
Estimated Cost: $30 - $50
Charge $10 per person for an All-You-Can-Eat Baked Potato Bar. You can also let attendees know that they can donate more to your cause. At the gathering, show a slide show or video of what your cause is about. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness of your program and the needs of the youth you work with.

Children’s Art Exhibition
Estimated Amount Fundraised: $500+ (for 100 attendees)
Estimated Cost: $50 - $100 (art supplies, PA equipment, rentals, drinks, decorations)
Showcase your student talent! For cost effectiveness, reserve the school’s auditorium or cafeteria for an Art Exhibition. Have multiple programs or classroom participate! You can advertise to each program/classroom that whoever has the highest participation will win a pizza party.

Charge $5 for admission and serve complimentary beverages. You can organize the artwork around a common theme like diversity, friendship, hopes and dreams, etc. Have the students write their own description of their artwork.

Fundraising House Party
Estimated Amount Fundraised: $300+ (for 25 attendees)
Estimated Cost: $100 - 150
Host a party to raise funds! A fun and easy way to get your friends involved in your cause.

Assume that the ratio of those invited to those who come is 4:1, for every four you invite, one will come. If you invite 100 people, expect about 25-30 to show up.

A Step-by-Step Guide for Hosts:

Step #1 Invite guests at least a month and a half out from the event. We suggest you send both snail mail and virtual mail invitation.

Step #2 Choose a venue. Make sure the house owner knows the estimated amount of attendees. The venue should be centrally located and have lots of open space!

Step #3 Set a menu. For a cheaper alternative, serve pizza and beverages or make it potluck style. You can also solicit local businesses for donations.

Step #4 Decorate! Include some of your students in this process by creating a “Decorating Committee”. Martha Stewart has a lot of great resources and do-it-yourself decorating ideas.  

Step #5 Party! You have guests, a venue, food, and a great atmosphere, now have fun! Schedule a time during the evening to show a slideshow or video about your program and the youth you serve.

For more information on hosting a Fundraising House Party, visit:

Give the Gift of Professional Development
Estimated Amount Fundraised: $100 - $500
Estimated Cost: Material cost vary based on training needs
Offer your skills up for co-workers, partners, or community members.

-        Charge $20-$50 for a personal session (could be program management, leadership skills, resume building). You could also create a “package deal” and customize the package per person.

-        Offer workshops to community or co-workers based on your skill set.

Advertise via email or flyers in the workplace or at a local community center that you’re offering free workshops and/or personal sessions. Let people know in your advertisement that the funds from the sessions are going to your own professional development!

Movie Night
Estimated Amount Fundraised: $250+ (for 30 attendees)
Estimated Cost: $50

What You’ll Need:

-        Projector or large TV

-        Chairs (or bring your own blanket/chair)

-        Snacks (popcorn, drinks, candy, etc.)

-        Movie

Host a family movie night! Charge $7 for tickets along with asking for donations. You can also choose to sell snacks and drinks at the event. Make it fancy and sell hamburgers and hot dogs! Consider hosting the movie outside by projecting the movie on the wall of a building in a local park or at a local business to increase excitement and community involvement.

Student/Faculty Tournament
Estimated Amount Fundraised: $250+ (for 50 attendees)
Estimated Cost: Free!

Form a student and a faculty team and have them play against each other at a local gym or school campus. Charge a $5 entrance fee. Make a bet between students and faculty that whoever wins has to do a favor for the other team, such as washing all of the faculty’s cars or giving students extra recreation time.


Hold a Cutest Dog Contest
Estimated Amount Fundraised: $250 - $1000
Estimated Cost: $0 - $50
Everyone loves to look at cute animals! This is a unique and eclectic way to gain some momentum in your fundraising. We would recommend you require a buy-in to enter the contest, using that as a pot for the winner.

For example: 10 dogs enter with a buy-in of $50 each. The prize money totals up to $500, 50% going to your winner and 50% to your fundraising. A guarantee of $250 (a fivefold return for their buy-in)! If you get 30 dogs to enter, you’ve just raised $1000 (and $1000 for your lucky winner)!

You can advertise that the more dogs that enter, the higher the amount of prize money. The more competitive you can make your event, the better. You can hold the contest outside with little set-up required. If you can rent sound equipment through your organization or local school, that will cut down costs as well. The more dogs you get to enter, the more “heats” you can do, splitting entrants into categories of small, medium, and large.

If you charge admission to an event, make this an investment for attendees as well. You could enter each attendee into a raffle for paying admission. Go to local businesses and ask if they will donate raffle prizes.

Note: The 50/50 fundraising tactic (people buy-in to a pot that you split) can be used in a variety of forms, i.e. a raffle, poker night, talent contest. 50/50 fundraising is a great idea because it encourages personal involvement and creates the reward for you.

Money for “Payback”
Estimated Amount Fundraised: $100 - $300 (dependent on amount of participants)
Estimated Cost: $10 - $20 (for supplies)
Start a contest that requires a boss, educator, or supervisor to perform certain tasks, or “paybacks” that can be voted on. Paybacks can include shaving a head, dying hair, shaving a mustache, wearing a costume, wash other employees’ cars, or throwing a pizza or ice cream party. Students or fellow employees can vote by placing money in the jar of the payback they want to win. Set a date for the money to be in by and then face your payback! Note: If a boss or supervisor is involved in the payback, be sure to ask their permission first and check that each payback is appropriate.

Green Fundraising

Recycle Electronics
Recycle electronics for money! Visit the website for more information.

Garage/Yard Sale
Estimated Amount Fundraised: $50 –
Estimated Cost: Free!
Do some Spring cleaning! Get rid of old treasures to raise funds. You can also invite friends to donate their used possessions to increase sales.

Fundraising Resources

Crowdfunding Sites: 

6 Tips from Kickstarter on How to Run a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign:

Fundraising Tips:

Social Media Fundraising Tips:

Calculate Your Donation Return:
This is a calculator that gives a breakdown of the size and amount of gifts needed in order to reach your goal. It is recommended that one of your gifts be 10% of your total to ensure that all funds will be raised.

Social Media

Benefits of Social Media
In 2008, the organization Epic Change raised over $10,000 in 2 days through Twitter, a campaign they called “Tweetsgiving.” Individuals post thankful photos and/or tweets and then tagged the campaign by adding “#tweetsgiving.” (This is called a hashtag for Twitter newbies.) Thousands of Tweeters gave $5 or $10 donations with the majority of donations from individuals who had no previous connection to the organization other than this event!

You may not be embarking on such an extensive campaign BUT you can see amazing results with social media if utilized correctly! We have a few tips to make your social media campaign successful…

Tip #1: Don’t Be Annoying!

 It’s good to frequently remind your users of the campaign but once a day is plenty! People will pay more attention if they are not bombarded with information.

Tip #2: Short and Sweet.

If you need to explain more information, provide a link to a website instead of explaining all of the information verbatim. Give people your main point and the main benefit of participating. If posting a Facebook Event, keep paragraphs short.

Tip #3: Attract

Make your campaign attractive. If utilizing a blog or Facebook, be sure to post a logo or interesting picture that relates to your fundraiser. This also applies to words – use proper grammar, make sure there are no typos, and format your text correctly.

Tip #4: Interact

Use technology! Add videos, pictures, links, or any other multimedia to make your fundraiser more attractive. Again, make sure you are not bombarding the user with information.

Additional Ideas to Support Youth Fundraising

Create an online fundraiser with GoFundMe, INDIEGOGO, Piggybacker or other crowdsourcing campaigns


Ask for support from a local philanthropy group such as Rotary, Lions, SorOptimist, or Chamber of Commerce

Host a Dog “Kissing Booth”

Create a t-shirt fundraiser with companies like Custom Ink

APEX fun runs

Community Partner Match

Restaurant Fundraisers

Car wash

Help Squad- rake yards, odd jobs, etc.

Connect with Kohls, Gap or other corporate volunteer programs

Host a Game Night at your school or local café

Host a 50/50 raffle

Host a garage sale

Host an e-waste collection

Become an Amazon Smile affiliate

Get items donated from parents or local businesses and host an auction

Have you had a successful fundraiser? Share your experience with us by emailingThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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