Fundraising Ideas That Work

How to raise $500 to $5000 quickly for your school, church, sports, or public service charity.


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Dinners, lunches and breakfast fundraisers

Philip Copitch, Ph.D.



Meals, snacks, and alcohol tasting are a fun way for a small group to make money. Your organization probably has people that like to cook and most definitely have people that like to eat. Put these two groups together and you have a food fundraiser.

Food fundraisers can be very fancy, such as a gourmet dinner for 8 at a board member’s lovely home; to a chili cook-off for 1,000 in the church’s backyard. With a sound plan and a lot of leg work by motivated volunteers food events can turn a tidy profit.

Let's look at a few small group fundraisers around food.

The concept is that you look within your organization of volunteers and staff to find particular folks with special talent. Then you ask this special person or people to allow you to exploit their special talent for charity. For example, do you have someone who is an amazing cook?.

Mrs. Keifer's lunch box

One school I worked with had a teacher, Mrs. Keifer, who was renowned for her cooking skills. Mrs. Keifer offered to make a lunch box for one lucky winner every school day in March. At the basketball game, the cheerleaders auctioned of Mrs. Keifer's lunch box. Kids begged their parents to bid. Some parents bid for themselves so they could enjoy a wonderful lunch at their office, which they could pick up when they dropped their kids off in the morning. The final winner was another teacher who was tired of his own cooking.

Pie in the face

A fun auction fundraiser is the pie in the face. Many schools find this is a well bid on item, especially if the face belongs to the principal. This works well for many churches, too. One church built on the idea and turned it into a dual auction. One bidding sheet was for Pie in the Pastor's Face, the other was for Turn the Other Cheek (the pastor would get to put a pie in the face of the highest Pie in the Face bidder). People were encouraged to bid on one or both. This - turnaround is fair play - fundraiser really increased the bidding.

Real pizza in school

One high school sports booster club auctioned off a special school lunch delivery. The idea of having a large pizza personally delivered to someone at school got lots of attention. The starting bid was set at 2X the actual cost of the food.

Each grade level had its own auction. Thus, in this particular K-3 school, four pizza lunches and 4 hotdog lunches were auctioned off. The bids for the large pizzas started at $20. Hot dog with soda bids started at $3. The booster club kept the cost under control by purchasing all the food from Costco, and then had it delivered by a booster volunteer. (The delivery man surprised all and wore a tux.)

I have also seen this food delivery idea work well as a raffle. Tickets are sold for $1 ($5 for 6 tickets) for a week before the pizza delivery day. For every 100 tickets sold, a pizza is delivered to a lucky winner. Winners are picked out of a hat. As a raffle of $1, you don't set a money barrier for participation.

Do you have a fun story about a fundraiser? Let me know by using this contact form.


Pittman & Davis

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