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Monday, March 5, 2012

How to Put the “Fun” in Fundraising at the Office

So your company has chosen a particular charity to support and it’s your job to get the fundraising ball rolling. There are a handful of details that need to be ironed out first before you start brainstorming fundraising ideas. In particular, what is the monetary goal to be donated? This might help determine what fundraising ideas should be considered. Does your company prefer to host or sponsor one large or several small fundraising events? Will employees be encouraged to participate? Will business associates, friends, and family be encouraged to participate? Once some of these questions are answered, then it is time to form a fundraising committee. The more support and volunteers you have, the better. Check out the National Service Blog from serve.gov, titled Volunteering in America: 8.1 Billion Hours Served that contains some interesting volunteering statistics in the form of an infographic.

If your company has chosen to host or sponsor one large fundraising event, the fundraising committee can plan a gala, golf tournament, silent auction, or maybe a local excursion. There are various ways to go about getting corporate sponsors that can be researched as well. It’s best to get as many goods or services donated at no cost or traded for free advertising; therefore allowing the maximum amount of money to be donated to the company’s charity of choice.

If your company has chosen to host or sponsor several small fundraising events, below is a list of fun and free or inexpensive ideas that can easily involve employees, business associates, friends, and family.

  • Penny Wars – employees are broken up into teams and the team with the most pennies in a jar wins a prize (i.e. free lunch, gift card, PTO day).
  • Give a Buck – sell paper shamrocks, balloons, sneakers, etc., basically any image related to the company’s charity of choice for $1 each. The buyers name can be written on the front of the image and then hung in a designated area.
  • Jeans or T-shirts Day – employees can purchase the privilege to wear jeans or their favorite t-shirt for $2 a day.
  • Raffle – raffle off donated items, gift baskets, or special privileges (i.e. reserved parking spot for predetermined time period) for $1 a ticket.
  • Corn Hole, Wii, or PlayStation III Tournament – employees pay to enter the tournament and compete to win the title championship.
  • Used Book Sale – sell donated books.
  • Chili Cook-off or Bake-off – winner receives a trophy and the chili entries are sold for $3 a bowl at lunch or the baked goods are sold for $2 a slice.
  • Pizza, Soda & Cookie Lunch Special – the company purchases pizza and cans of soda to sell for lunch at $5 a combo.
  • Breakfast Buffet – employees bring in their favorite breakfast dish and sell a trip through the goody line-up for $7 a person.
  • Donut Eating Contest – employees pay a cover charge to watch the contest.
  • Afternoon Snack – sell popcorn or nachos & cheese and a can of soda for $2 a combo.


There are so many more fun, inexpensive, creative, and successful fundraising ideas out there. You and your fundraising committee should leave yourselves plenty of time to brainstorm, plan, and eventually implement your fundraising events. The ultimate goal is to spend as little money as possible and raise as much money as possible to benefit the company’s charity of choice.

Do you have another free or inexpensive fundraising idea to add to the list? Has one event worked better over another? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.