21 Fundraising Ideas

The cost to host an orphan can certainly be a lot to bear, and the program fees per child deter many potential host families away from the program. However, there are a multitude of ways to fundraise those costs, making hosting a more affordable option for families on the fence. Fundraising does not have to be difficult or time-consuming, and while it may require a bit of effort, the rewards from hosting a child are priceless and well worth the investment.

Below you will find 21 fundraising and thrifty ideas to help make hosting child possible!

1) Set up an online donation website through Razoo, P143’s recommended platform. This is by far one of the simplest ways to fundraise. P143 lays it all out for you. Essentially you create your own fundraising site for friends, families, and strangers to make easy (and tax-deductible!) donations to your hosting fees. You create a name for your fundraiser, share your story, post pictures, and set a fundraising goal. Then share the link with everyone you know! It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

2) Hold a yard sale. Okay, this one does require a bit more work, but it isn’t difficult by any means. Go through your house and get rid of your old junk. Ask friends and families to donate items to you to sell. Sort and price your items, choose a date for your sale, and then advertise in the paper, on Craigslist, and via social media. If you don’t want to price your items, consider having a donation only yard sale. Make sure to put out a donation jar at your sale for additional donations and consider selling coffee, soft drinks, water, or lemonade for additional profit. Also create a small display (trifold boards are great for this!) with information about hosting to help educate shoppers about what hosting is all about.

3) This sort of piggy backs on having a yard sale, but take quality items to a consignment or resale shop first. Even though the money might be less immediate, you can often get more money for these items than what you would at a yard sale since most yard sale goers are looking for extremely cheap items. Whatever items don’t sell at the consignment stores can always be thrown in the yard sale pile, or even sold on Craigslist.

4) Host an online auction. This idea is certainly a bit more cumbersome, but the potential to raise a large sum of money is phenomenal! Essentially, the idea is to write letters to businesses, shops, consultants, and more to donate items or services to your auction. I’ve seen many a successful auction with donations from Etsy sellers, Origami Owl designers, 31 consultants, photographers, etc. Once the donations are gathered (or at least pictures of them are), create a Facebook album on your personal page or on a page dedicated specifically to hosting. Post all of the pictures of all of the available items, and then for each item list a short description of the item, the donor’s information, the value of the item, a starting bid amount, and whether or not shipping is included (and if it’s not, set a shipping amount for each item). Then set a start and end date and time for the auction, some general guidelines (easy to find if you just Google “Facebook auctions”), and sit back as the bids roll in! After the auction ends, you just need to bill each winner for their total amount via Paypal, ensure the items are shipped out to the correct people, and that’s all there is to it!

5) Sell something! Have you ever considered becoming an independent consultant before? Now could be the perfect time! There are a multitude of companies you could choose to join – Scentsy, Origami Owl, Advocare, Avon, Jamberry, etc. You may have to pay a fee to start selling, but that can be made back quickly if you designate all of your profit is strictly for orphan hosting fees. If you don’t feel like becoming a consultant yourself, there are many, many consultants for different companies who would be willing to donate part of if not all of their commission to your cause if you just ask!

6) As a spin off to that idea, you could host a small bazaar showcasing different independent consultant companies. Basically, you would find one consultant for each company and arrange for them to donate a portion of their commission to you. Then you would arrange (at your house or perhaps a church or community building) to have a bazaar for friends, family, and community members to stop by and shop from these consultants. Even people who sell homemade goods could sell items. Each consultant would have a table, and you could even have a concession stand style table for additional profit. The key to this type of event is advertising, a good location, and a lot of connections!

7) Get a little crafty! The possibilities for this idea are endless! The easiest way to raise money from this is to set up an Etsy shop. The fees are low and you can literally sell your products to people all over the world if you so choose. But you could also sell items on a Facebook page, at craft fairs, at the farmer’s market, or even at your yard sale. Some people might digress that they don’t have a creative bone in their body, but you don’t have to make anything complicated! Some successes I personally have seen include nail and string art, painted canvases, button earrings, sugar scrub, no-sew fleece blankets, shapes cut out of scrapbook paper and mod podged to a canvas, jewelry, bookmarks, tutus, and more. Truly, you can make most anything you please and sell it for a profit. If you’re nervous about getting your craft on, browse Pinterest, Google some tutorials, and watch Youtube videos for step-by-step guides.

8) Start the $5 bill plan. This idea has been floating around the Internet for some time, and honestly, it is a small way to save that works extremely well. The basic concept is that you save every $5 bill that comes your way. If you buy something for $2, pay with a $20, and the cashier gives you three $5 bills back, you save them all. You never ask for change in a different way. If someone gives you $25 for you birthday and there’s a $5 bill in the card, you save it. If you get tip money from work and you’re given $5, you save it. Sometimes it can be challenging, but for the most part saving every $5 you come across is a painless way that adds up quickly. I personally have done this (and I very rarely use cash) and I was still able to save about $250 in 6 months. You could also try to get your family and friends involved in this by donating their $5 bills towards your hosting costs!

9) Save all of your change, and hand out change jars to your family and friends to save up their change too! It doesn’t seem like much at first, but all of that change will add up after awhile! A great idea with this is to save absolutely every penny of change you come across and to also never use change to pay for anything. So if you buy a $1.25 soda from a machine at work, and put in $2, instead of using that extra 75 cents you’ll get back for a candy bar, you save the change. This method allows you to save up more change faster without hurting your wallet too much. I personally was able to save about $150 in 6 months, and again I very rarely use cash. If you pass out jars to others to put change in and set up a time to collect them, you could very easily make several hundred dollars. A final tip on this – don’t take your change to one of those Coinstar machines as they will take a percentage of your money. Stop by your bank and ask for some free change rolls, put on your favorite TV show, and spend an evening rolling. You’ll get to keep every penny made and that is well worth the extra effort.

10) Make money when you shop! Okay, so this one seems sort of ironic, but if you’re into online shopping, it can really pay off! Sign up right now for Ebates. Then, every time you decide to shop online, first head over to the Ebates website, then search your store, and click their “Shop Now!” link. Now your purchase on the website will be linked to your Ebates account, and you’ll receive a certain percentage of cash back for whatever you buy! I shop online all the time, and I always kick myself afterward when I realize I’ve forgotten to use my Ebates account. After all, it’s basically free money! My last check from them was around $30, but probably would have been closer to $75 had I remembered to actually use my account every time I shopped. Right now you have until March 31 to receive your check around May 15, so don’t wait around!

11) Hold a fundraising lunch or dinner. There is so much you can do with this type of event. Have a pancake brunch after church, a spaghetti dinner, or even a baked potato bar! The best thing to do is first find a location to hold it at that will allow you to bring or make your own food. Church halls are great for this, and if you are strategic about the time you hold your event (say after the Sunday service ends), you will get a lot of natural traffic at your event. Choose to set a specific price per person (say $10 per adult and $5 per child), or simply just ask for donations. Consider having entertainment as well, especially if you are holding an evening event. There are many people who would be willing to donate their musical talents. You can even have raffles going on to increase the cash flow. The most important thing to holding this kind of event though is to make sure you have the manpower to execute it, so don’t be afraid to ask for help!

12) Partner with a restaurant for an easier variation of the above idea. There are many restaurants out there who will donate a portion of their sales (usually 10-15%) for diners who bring in a coupon or flyer advertising your event. Generally you just choose 1 or 2 nights and pass out the flyers to everyone you know. They come in and eat, present their flyer, and at the end of the night you’ve earned a good sum of money for very minimal work.

13) Have a raffle! If you make the tickets relatively inexpensive at $5-$10 each, you’re sure to make a lot of money. Ideally you would raffle off something donated or relatively inexpensive for you to purchase. I’ve seen everything from a Coach purse to a miniature teacup pig raffled off! Some more common ideas include American Girl dolls, gift baskets, jewelry, a honey baked ham (perfect during the holiday season), homemade crafts, and iPads. If you sell 100 raffle tickets for just $5 each, that’s $500 raised. If you sell the same amount of tickets for $10 each, that’s $1,000 raised. If you raffle off a donated item, that is all pure profit! Even if you put a little bit of money into it to purchase the item, the profit outweighs the investment.

14) Can you bake? Consider selling your baked goods! This is a great fundraiser for the holiday season. If you’re hosting this summer, try making some Easter goodies! Cookies are always a safe bet as is fudge, but you can go all out and makes pies, cakes, and more! As a spin off of this idea, you could also host a “Baking for Orphans” cake walk and have friends and family donate baked goods.

15) Host a babysitting night in your home! Charge a flat rate per child, set the date and the hours, get some activities ready, and babysit while parents head out for a date night. This type of fundraiser is very fun for all involved. The parents get a night off, the kids get to have a giant sleepover, and you get to earn money for hosting! Ask some friends to donate their time and services so you’re not alone and can take on more kiddos.

16) Consider partnering with a fundraising company. Just Love Coffee, Goat Milk Stuff, Yankee Candle, MudLOVE, Popcorn Palace, and many, many more companies are all willing to donate a percentage of sales you make to your cause. Some of them will even donate up to 50%! As a bonus, most of these companies provide catalogs or order forms for you already made up, so there is not much you have to put into it. In fact, several of these companies have even moved to an online fundraising platform so all you have to do is share a link instead of taking and distributing orders.

17) Host an Angel Bins clothing or shoe drive. Angel Bins is a company that merges the worlds of recycling and fundraising together. They offer different opportunities for fundraising depending on where you live in the country, but the general idea is that you collect either certain types of clothing or shoes and they pay you for what you’ve collected. This is a great way to get friends, family, and the community involved in your fundraising efforts, as nearly everyone has some items in their closet they want to part with. Angel Bins is very easy to work with and extremely helpful, making this fundraiser as easy as possible.

18) Design and sell a custom t-shirt! Two great websites for doing this are Bonfire Funds and Booster. Both offer clip art you can easily use in your design, or you can even design your own. Choose your shirt style and color, set the price, and share the link with everyone you know! Who doesn’t love a good t-shirt? Plus, once people receive their shirts and start wearing them around, it’s essentially free advertisement for your hosting fundraising campaign!

19) If you’re hosting, you’ll need to acquire a rolling duffle or suitcase to send back with each kiddo. Have a “Tag the Bag” fundraiser to raise funds and send your host children back with some extra love. Charge a set price ($5-$20 is generally a good amount) and for every donation for that denomination, write the name of the donor on the bag with a Sharpie. If you’re not interested in tagging a bag, try another variation like a blanket, a soccer ball, or a t-shirt for your host child.

20) Have a puzzle piece fundraiser. Similar to the above idea, you pick out a puzzle (or have a custom photo puzzle made) and people “purchase” a piece of the puzzle in the form of a donation for a set amount (again, $5-$20 is most common). Then their name gets written on the back of a piece of the puzzle! When all pieces have been “sold”, the puzzle is complete and then can be given to the host child as a fun gift and memory of everyone who helped to bring them to America.

21) Another great idea is to hold an envelope fundraiser. You create a set number of envelopes (I have seen anywhere from 100-200) and number each one. Then, people select an envelope (or multiple ones) to sponsor and pay the amount on that envelope (so envelope #1 = $1, envelope #24 = $24, envelope #199 = $199). Another easy way to generate a lot of money quickly!

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