Fundraising Ideas That Work

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


Marnie asks, "What is the best way to raise money for my school, church, or charity?"

Philip Copitch, Ph.D.


I am asked this question regularly. And the simple answer is… Give them what they want.

Give them what they want

Marnie needed to raise $800 to cover the cost of renting a bus for the 6th grade end of year trip. In years gone by this cost was covered by the school, but this year the $800 fee had to be added to the cost of the whole trip, and Marnie was reluctant to go back to the parents for more money.

“I can’t ask for more money, the moms and dads are constantly complaining about the “fundraisers!” She said “fundraiser” as if it were the plague or tooth decay.

The truth is that parents are tired of the “fundraisers”. But, at the same time, most understand that it is a reality of the times. The 6th grade parents wanted to have the 6th grade trip, but didn’t really want another magazine or cookie.

So - you have to give them what they want

When thinking about a fundraiser you have to think about your audience. If Marnie suggested another cookie dough sale she might, at best get unenthusiastic cooperation, and at worst she could get lynched.

When Marnie wasn’t volunteering at the school or taxiing her kids to soccer or piano, she worked as a nurse at the local hospital. I asked her, “If you had $800 wouldn’t it be easier to just write a check?”

“Sure,” she said, “but I don’t have….”

“I understand,” I smiled, “but what can you offer that others in the school would happily pay to learn?”

Over the next few minutes, Marnie and I developed her plan. She would teach a safety awareness course for students and parents. It turned into a three hour class that cost $20 to attend. Marnie got two girlfriends to help, another nurse and an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Marnie advertised it once in the school weekly newsletter and asked teachers to talk it up. The title of the flyer was:

8 things to do if

you run with scissors,

poke your eye out,

or try to break your neck!

A down and dirty, hands on 3 hour safety course for

moms, dads, and babysitters.

100% of the money goes to the 6th grade trip bus fee.


Marnie reported back that it was a blast, and they raised $1100 (from 55 attendees).

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