Fundraising Advice – Be Creative!

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Nonprofit Fundraising IdeasNonprofit leaders have always had to be creative to attract board members, donors and general attention. In a crowded field of many very worthy charities, it takes something very different to get noticed.

The stakes continue to get higher every year. People may look forward to the annual gala, golf tournament, fashion show and casino night. But executive directors and CEOs of charities are taking their fundraisers to a new level.

Nonprofit leaders have always had to be creative to attract board members, donors and general attention. In a crowded field of many very worthy charities, it takes something very different to get noticed.

The stakes continue to get higher every year.  People may look forward to the annual gala, golf tournament, fashion show and casino night.  But executive directors and CEOs of charities are taking their fundraisers to a new level.

Marathons begat walk-a-thons which led to bike-a-thons that turned to super walks.   Now, Avon encourages people to walk 39 miles to raise money for breast cancer.

Thrill seekers and daredevils have their opportunity to get involved in their personal passions and still give back to the community.  Over the Edge works with organizations to rappel down the side of a building!  Gilda’s Club, Make-a-Wish, Boys and Girls Club and Shatterproof are all lining up to rappel down.

Last year, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge went viral and raised more than $100 million by urging people choose between donating or dumping ice water over their heads for awareness.  Yes, people really drenched themselves in ice-cube laden water.  Similarly, the Polar Plunge asked people to immerse themselves in icy water to encourage generous giving.

Outside the danger aspects, other creative ideas are finding a place in the nonprofit world

Fundraising Ideas

HOPE Outreach, Canstruction®

At HOPE Outreach Center, we’re hosting Canstruction® to supply food pantries with much needed food.  We discovered that this innovative event has had significant success in other markets, and we felt that now was the best time to launch it in our own backyard.  This unique but growing fundraiser allows companies to create a team-building experience and do something important for the community.  It takes ingenuity and perseverance to create the incredible structures that are made entirely of cans.  But it works.

Why are we – and so many others – taking a chance with new ideas?   It’s no longer an option, it’s a demand that we find ways to increase our visibility, and to give our public something new to consider.   Door to door asks are no longer effective.  Direct mail is getting too costly for the benefit. Galas still have their place, but require so much up front that the risk factor is considerable.

So we take risks in other ways.  By trying something new, something that the community can get behind, something that speaks to our mission and our mindset, we can make an impact on hunger and raise awareness of the issue – and some of the solutions.

Businesses are always getting creative. Some exhibit it in innovative corporate titles.  Yes, Sales Ninja, Marketing Rockstar and Creative Superhero are actually on business cards! Other companies have clever workspaces with standing desks, meditation rooms, and internal juice bars.

In the nonprofit world, all our creativity is focused on gaining visibility, understanding and ultimately funds.

From our point of view, there’s no better reason.




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About Helen Shinners

Helen Shinners is Executive Director of HOPE Outreach Center, Inc., based in Davie, FL. The organization is committed to Helping Other People Everyday. Its programs and services offer a hand up to people who are unable to make ends meet due to job losses, disabilities, health crises and other emergencies.

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