Tried and True Fundraisers

When someone is put in charge of fundraising, their first instinct is to look for something new and different. While change is excellent, sometimes the tried and true fundraisers work best. That’s why they are tried and true, right?

Whichever fundraiser you choose for your group, consider the amount of time and resources you will need to accomplish your goal. Ask anyone who has organized a quick and easy fundraiser, and they will tell you there was not much quick and easy about it. That’s where tried, and true fundraisers come in.

Try one of these ideas for your next fundraiser:

  1. Ride-A-Thon Events
  2. Product Sales
  3. Car Wash
  4. Boot Sale

Ride-A-Thon Events

Called by various names, these “thon” events not only raise money but showcase the talents of a person or team! Each team member gets sponsors to sign up for a flat amount or a certain amount they will pay per mile, or whatever works best for your team.

  • Your target sponsors can be local businesses, neighbours, family members, and so on.
  • Save money by making your own pledge forms.

Product Sales

Product sale fundraisers can vary in duration and complexity. There are three basic categories of product sales:

  • Immediate sale
  • Flyer sale
  • Catalogue sale

If simplicity is your goal, go for the immediate sale or cash and carry items. These are usually low ticket items and often involve something edible. Consider the size of your target audience and order products accordingly. You don’t want to get stuck with leftovers.

For medium complexity and higher revenue and profit than immediate sales is the one to two-page flyer offering products from a similar category. This is more complex than cash and carry sale because a second visit to the customer is required to deliver the products they bought.

The more complex product sale fundraiser is the catalogue sale. Suppliers offer all kinds of product catalogues, from candy or seasonal items to safety and first aid kits. Because catalogues offer a wider variety, the first sales call is more involved. Before choosing which catalogue your team offers, consider who you will be selling to. The usual suspects are family members, neighbours, co-workers and local businesses.

Knowing what other area groups are selling or have recently sold can help determine what kind of product you choose to sell. Imagine trying to sell sweet treats on the heels of the Girl Scouts cookie sale. Knowing your competition can determine your level of success.

Car Wash

The most tried and true of them all, the car wash stands true as a great way to raise money. Some advanced planning is involved, and getting your volunteers lined up is an important step. Secure a place to hold your car wash; many gas stations and convenience stores are very approachable about having a car wash at their site. It increases their traffic and brings in more potential customers.

You will need a water source (or two), cleaning supplies, promotional posters, and plenty of car washers. Be sure to have some of your volunteers holding signs where passing traffic can see them. Waving car wash signs at a safe location near a busy intersection works well. You can charge a certain amount per vehicle or simply ask for donations. Often, taking donations reaps more money than a flat fee per car.

Boot Sales

Parents, neighbours, family members all donate their unneeded belongings to the cause. Locate a car boot site or a local fair, school fair to hold your sale. One person’s yard or the parking lot of a business work well, with permission, of course. Advertise cheaply in the local newspaper and by using flyers.

Increase your traffic by advertising that this is a multi-family sale. Each family can attend their own table or you can schedule block times for groups of volunteers to work. How many working volunteers you need will depend on how much stuff you collect. By the end of your sale, you will see that, indeed, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.


For any fundraising effort, always make sure your team members are safe and supervised. Be sure each team member can tell a potential “customer” what group they represent and why they are raising money. Everyone should also know what the collective goal is, and the average amount each individual needs to attain to make that collective goal.

By using a tried and true fundraiser, you are using a proven method for your team’s fundraising success.


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