Go Ahead! Steal these 7 Crazy Fundraising Ideas!

Sometimes it helps to get a little crazy with your fundraising. Steal these seven crazy fundraising ideas to make an impression

With small business funding and fundraising moving increasingly online, I get emails regularly questioning if offline fundraising ideas are even worth it anymore. Campaigns reason that their crowdfunding campaign is online and that’s where their outreach should be as well.

Offline fundraising ideas are so 20th century.

Even if your campaign collects donations online, you still need an offline campaign to get it started. Having a completely online crowdfunding campaign is too impersonal and people just won’t be motivated to support or share the campaign.

These seven crazy fundraising ideas are just the thing you need to make a personal connection with people, making an impact offline to drive their online support.

Crazy Fundraising Ideas Offline

Your goal with any fundraising event is going to be two-fold:

  • Raise awareness of the cause and connect with people
  • Raise money immediately and online

Live, offline events help to put faces to your crowdfunding or fundraising cause help create that connection with people. Collect email addresses or even phone numbers at the event and then reconnect with people online. Once you’ve made the connection and bridged the offline-online gap, people will be much more likely to support your campaign.

Improv in the Park

This is one of my favorites for creating a personal connection with people. The even can be customized to your cause or organization. Promote your get-together over the radio a few days in advance and the day of the event.

Wherever possible, try incorporating people from the audience into the event. It doesn’t matter if they’re any good at acting, give someone a part in your improv play and they’ll support your organization forever. Give them a musical instrument to play in an improv parade and they will sing your message to all their friends.

    • Theatre and plays
    • Music concerts
    • Parades
Crazy Fundraising Ideas Improv in the Park

Crazy Fundraising Ideas Improv in the Park

Everyday Auction

Auctions are not so crazy but holding an auction for everyday services is a great fundraising idea and its easy to get donations from your network. Auctioned items can include everything from light house work and chores to bigger repairs, grocery shopping and anything people need on a regular basis.

BBQ Bonanza

Barbecues are a great way of getting people together and building the social proof you need for your crowdfunding campaign. Not only can you raise money by charging ticket admission for the event but get enough people to show up and you’ve got a verbal engine that will boost your campaign.

Get a few team members together before the event to go over talking points for the campaign. These team members are tasked with talking to people on a conversational-level during the event, sowing the seeds of the campaign’s mission. Once a person hears the best selling points from a few people, all worded a little differently, and then the final pitch from you – they will be ready for any ask you make.

Dance Marathon

Dance marathons used to be more common for fundraising but are now considered crazy fundraising ideas. The fact that they are not nearly as commonplace makes them all the more effective for your crowdfunding outreach.

The old school dance marathon involved couples but you can also do an event for individuals. Play different types of music and have someone on-stage to demonstrate a type of dance for everyone to do while that type of music is playing.

Crazy Fundraising Ideas Dance Marathon

Crazy Fundraising Ideas Dance Marathon

Go International

This one is more low-key that the other crazy fundraising ideas but no less effective. Partner with a local cultural group to throw a dinner event that highlights a region or culture. You might have to split proceeds with the partner group but you’ll still have access to the guests and can have your team work the room. The idea plays really well with an older audience eager to do a little ‘mental-travelling’ without paying too much.

Movie Marathon

If you can make a connection with a local theater to get access to their screen, this could mean big money. It might be tough though, especially securing the showing rights to blockbuster movies.

The easier route is to show the movies yourself in your home or a rec center. You’ll need comfortable furniture for your guests and a screen large enough to make it a theater-like experience. Consider renting the equipment you need from a party supply store if you don’t already have it. The event works best around a franchise of movies like Star Wars or any group of sequels. You can also plan it around an event or theme and show movies around that theme.

Wine Tasting

Crazy Fundraising Ideas Wine Tasting

Crazy Fundraising Ideas Wine Tasting

The last of the crazy fundraising ideas is my favorite for raising big money. There’s nothing like a little alcohol to open up wallets.

Partner along with a retail store or another organization for the location and be sure to have someone volunteer that can talk about the different wines. If your event partner sells wine, make sure you negotiate a commission on each bottle sold at the event.

The biggest caveat here is that YOU MUST secure some kind of transportation for your guests. Don’t assume that each couple will have a designated driver or that the DD will play their part and not drink.

Taking your Crazy Fundraising Ideas Online

Besides pitching your fundraising campaign at the event, the most important part of fundraising events is collecting email addresses and contact information from your guests. Don’t just pass around a clipboard or have a sign-up sheet at the door. This is not going to build the personal connection you need.

Instead, you or one of your team members should personally reach out to each guest and talk with them about the fundraising campaign and the organization. Collect contact information in a way that’s personal and individual – a way that makes people feel like a part of the team and not just a cash cow to be milked.

Once you’ve made this personal connection, reach out to people online a few days after the event. Develop a series of online touch-points through email and phone. Make sure that people understand the importance of sharing the campaign’s message on social media as well as financial support.

Creating this perfect bridge between offline and online fundraising offers the benefits of both worlds. It creates a closer bond with people and makes supporting the campaign super-easy with just the click of the mouse.

About Joseph Hogue

An investment analyst by profession, I run two blogs (Crowd101 and PeerFinance101) in personal finance, peer lending and crowdfunding. I've been on both sides of the table as a lender and a borrower and am excited to be a part of the peer movement. With the power of the internet, people are helping other people manage debt and raise money in ways never before possible.

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