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27 Fundraising Ideas that Bring the Fun

…Okay, okay, we confess that as you read through this list not all of them may seem fun to you. But that’s the joy of being uniquely created individuals with our own interests and passions! Hopefully, you’ll scan the ideas below and find a few that make you happy or get you excited. Or, since it’s a non-exhaustive list, use suggestions as the jumping off point for a really creative idea that inspires you.

  1. Reading. Yes, reading. Wellspring is an education organization! For those of us who can’t find the time to sit and read anymore, making a commitment to read a given number of books within a timeline can be a real challenge. You can also give donors the option of choosing which books you read! Alternatively, the challenge could be to host a number of volunteer storytimes at your local library or school. 
  2. Sell Your Artwork. Are you the artistic type? Get out your brushes and get to work! Host an art sale and donate the proceeds to Wellspring. This can also be a fun idea for a class or youth group. Turn up the music and make it a paint jam! To keep on the Wellspring theme, you could consider painting Rwandan landscapes. 
  3. Rwandan Recipes. Do you like to cook? Wellspring has a recipe book you can pull from as you host your by-donation or ticketed dinner party. Break (sweet potato) bread together and share about how their donations are changing lives. 
  4. Dance Party. It’s time to get your groove on. You could make this a small fundraiser with just your friends, or go big with lights, sound, and costumes. Maybe you even know a local band that would be willing to volunteer their time.
  5. Host a Tournament. Soccer tournament? Mario Kart tournament? You decide! Individuals or teams pay to participate, and the winner is awarded a trophy. Alternatively, participants themselves could be asked to fundraise, with a prize for the tournament winner and another prize for the most raised.
  6. Go Fishing. The fun of this event is that you get to partake in a pastime you enjoy, and donors get to take a gamble. Ask for pledge donations that increase based on either the number of fish caught or the size. The bigger the fish, the larger the final donation. You could even create a “double the donation” option for if you catch something really rare.
  7. Participate in a Race. There are lots of local events that you can participate in. If you have an athletic goal you would like to achieve, use it as an opportunity to raise money at the same time. As with the “Go Fishing” option, you could collect donations based on your finishing time – better time, larger donation.
  8. Walk Dogs. Do you find joy in hanging out with furry friends? Offer a priced or by donation dog walking service in your neighborhood and donate the funds raised. For dog walking on hard mode, make it a winter service.
  9. Clean Up. Rwanda has a national holiday called Umuganda that happens on the last Saturday of every month. On that day, all adults participate in community work to clean up their neighbourhoods. Live out a little Umuganda near your home, and raise funds for hours spent tidying or pounds of trash collected.  
  10. Be a Handyman (or Handywoman). A squeaky door. A fence that needs paint. Leaves to be bagged and raked. There’s lots of opportunity to build community and be a good neighbour while you’re fundraising. Print off a flyer to put in mailboxes, and donate the results of your efforts.
  11. Host a Class. What talents do you have that could be shared with others? Offer quality education from your unique skill set, hosting a paid or by-donation class. Sharing your knowledge not only serves to raise funds, it helps others gain skills in areas they’ve wanted to. Win-win. 
  12. Celebrate! We all have milestones that mark our lives, and we can use those to fundraise too. Ask for donations instead of gifts for your birthday, or make a donation as a wedding favour.
  13. Summit 1,000 Hills. Rwanda is known as the “Land of 1,000 Hills” for its beautiful landscape. Could you challenge yourself to climb 1,000 hills (or 1,000 sets of stairs) as a fundraiser?  
  14. 24 Hours of… Maybe you’ve previously participated in fundraisers where you give up eating for 24 hours. You could give something up for a 24 hour period, or you can commit to doing something ridiculous or difficult for 24 hours straight. Alternatively, collect pledges based on how long you can do something, with larger donations coming at longer times.
  15. Give It Up. What about giving something up for longer than 24 hours? Could you give up something significant to you for an extended amount of time? For example, could you walk everywhere for a month and give up driving?
  16. Scavenger Hunt. Chat with local businesses to see if any would be willing to donate a prize (or two) for your scavenger hunt. This could be a game for individuals or teams, and the items to be scavenged could be easy or complicated based on the target audience (kids or adults) and how long you want the game to go. Make it pay to play, and the winning individual or team gets the prize.
  17. Yard Sale. Most of us have more than a few extra items lying around that we could declutter as we Marie Kondo our lifestyles. Set up a summer yard sale to help your trash become someone else’s treasure, and donate the results.
  18. Trivia Night. Is your great passion collecting random facts? Host a trivia night! Make it pay to play, and offer a prize for the winning team. Alternatively, teams could be asked to fundraise a minimum amount to participate, and prizes could be offered for both the winning trivia team and the best fundraisers. Focus on Wellspring by adding a “Rwanda and Education” category!
  19. Wear Something Silly. Especially if you’re in a position of authority, inviting people to donate to change your look for a day (or longer) can be a great motivator. Set your fundraising goal, and once you hit it, you don the pre-determined look. Colourful hair, shaved beards, wedding dresses, costumes – choose whatever would push you out of your comfort zone.
  20. Fashion show. From silly to stylish, it’s time to strut your stuff on the catwalk. Or at least invite others to do so! If you’re really talented, perhaps the clothes on display are of your own design. Otherwise, spend some time at your local thrift stores to see what you can find. If you’re doing this with friends, perhaps you could all pull outfits together out of your closets. Entry to your show is ticketed or by-donation, and attendees can pay to purchase the clothes.
  21. Family Fun Day. Who doesn’t love a bouncy castle? Offer hotdogs, face painting, magic and other activities to families in your neighbourhood. Make it a by-donation experience. You could also sell raffle tickets to a 50/50 draw.
  22. Car Wash. Always a classic, a car wash is your traditional fundraiser. Get some friends together, pick a busy corner, and post some signage with the times, location and desire to raise money for Wellspring. 
  23. Jigsaw Puzzle Competition. Who has the best strategy for completing their puzzle? This could be a competition between individuals or teams. Have them pay an entry fee or make it a by-donation event with a minimum amount raised. Puzzles should be identical and enough space should be available so that teams aren’t bumping into each other. A prize is awarded to the fastest puzzle completion.
  24. Movie Night. Pass the popcorn! Host friends in your basement for a by-donation or ticketed event, or go big by renting a projector with a blow-up screen and invite the neighbourhood. For this option, be sure to consider permissions & licensing around showing the movie to a group.
  25. Talent Show. It’s your time to shine! Find a stage, grab a microphone, and perform your heart out. Chat with local businesses to find prize sponsorships, and make it paid entry or by-donation to participate. 
  26. Polar Bear Plunge. Sometimes the strongest fundraising opportunities are the ones in which we choose to do something that others never would. Like stripping down to your swimsuit in -15C weather and jumping into an icy pool. Get those naysayers to sponsor your frigid plunge and show them what’s possible.
  27. Singing Your Song. Do you find yourself humming a tune wherever you go? Have you always wanted to be a star? Invite friends and family to donate a set amount to have you sing a song of their choosing and post it online. Additional donation thresholds could be added for costumes, props, backgrounds, dancing, and imitations (do you do a good Elvis?).

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