Cheap Fundraisers | 23 Ideas You Can Run Today

cheap fundraisers

If you don’t know, cheap fundraisers come in all shapes and sizes. Don’t be afraid to give some of them a try.

Fundraising is an essential part of any non profit, large or small. Donations from supporters play a major role in the financial stability of these types of organizations.

Cheap fundraisers are crucial and good ideas can work to your benefit for years to come. You can’t afford to run expensive fundraisers evert time.

Before we begin, remember that there is a world of opportunity out there. All it takes is some imagination, effort, and time to make your fundraising activity a success.

If your non profit is struggling for donations or just doesn’t have much of a budget to sponsor a large fundraising event, this section is tailored for you.

The following lists of cheap fundraisers are common, proven methods for getting the donations rolling in.

By adding your own special touches, you can even further improve your chances for achievement! You can also use them to raise money to put on a more extensive fundraising activity.

Don’t give up hope. Even with a low budget or no budget at all, there are plenty of unique ways to start a fundraiser and achieve great results.

Here, we’ll explore a few easy and cheap fundraisers that your non profit can organize to draw in donations from your community.

Cheap Fundraisers To Run on a Tight Budget:

1) Activity Workshop

Get your members together and brainstorm. What types of skills do you all have that could be used to teach a one day or weekend workshop?

Does one of your members have extensive experience in crafts and jewelry-making? Does another have knowledge about gardening?

Perhaps host a ceramics painting class or a fitness course is the way to go. The possibilities are endless.

Find a suitable place to hold your class and get your materials ready. Then, simply advertise your workshop in the paper, via flyers, and by word of mouth and get people signed up.

2) Bake Sale

A wonderful way to raise money and involve your local community is to put on a bake sale.

Find volunteers and friends who will donate cookies, cakes, brownies, and other goodies and charge a dollar to participate in a cake walk and/or other activities where people can win baked goods.

As these events occur, also have tables open for people to purchase baked goods.

3) Beverage Stand

Find a good spot to set up a beverage and/or snack stand. If it’s a hot day, perhaps serve ice cold lemonade, snow cones, or cold sodas.

If it’s a cold day, maybe opt for some fresh, hot coffee and doughnuts. Look for a high traffic, yet easily accessible spot for your stand. Make sure you check with your local city hall to see if you’ll need any special permits.

4) Boat Washing

If you live near a body of water where people dock their boats, you and your group can offer a boat cleaning service.

You can easily make hundreds of dollars in a weekend just by cleaning a few boats.

5) Car Wash

Get your group together, make a sign, and throw a community car wash. You can all dress in silly costumes or swimsuits to make it more interesting.

All it takes is some soap, sponges, buckets, and a source of running water. Make sure you set specific charges for different services you offer.

6) Catalog Sales

Door to door catalog sales are a popular method to raise money. You can search online for companies that specialize in selling fundraising products to see if they offer fundraising catalogs such as this.

Group members and volunteers simply take the catalog door to door and ask people if they’d like to order anything from the catalog and support your cause. Collect their money.

Then, fill and deliver the orders.

7) Charity Sports Run

2013 London Marathon
Get people to sign up for a charitable sports run or other sporting event. Have participants get people to donate a certain amount of money per mile or make a one-time donation.

To add an even more fun twist, have the run be themed base so your runners can enjoy dressing up in costumes as well.

Themes can be anything you want – from Santa runs, bad prom runs, or even dirty “mud” runs.

8) Cleaning Service

Offer clean up services to local businesses for a fee. Some businesses might need to have parking lot trash removed and swept, need their signs washed, or have leaves blown or raked.

Businesses can write off your services for tax purposes. You can also go door to door and offer these types of services to residents.

A small crew of people can do these jobs quickly while raising plenty of money for your charity.

9) Consignment Shop Sales

If you have items such as furniture, clothing, antiques, and so forth, perhaps try bringing them to your local consignment store so they can sell them for you.

They will usually take a commission from every sale. Check back every few days to see what you’ve sold.

10) Craft Sale

Your charity can put on an exciting arts and crafts sale or hold weekend arts and crafts workshops to raise money for your organization.

Advertise your occasion ahead of time to the public so they’ll know exactly when and where to attend.

You can even allow the public to rent a booth and sell their crafts. There are many ways to go about holding this type of event.

Ask your community what they’d like to see or create events similar to those that have worked well in the past.

11) Donation Jars

Get some large glass or other jars. Create a sticker for each, with your charity’s name as well as some information about it and why you’re asking people to donate.

Ask local vendors if they’ll allow you to put your donation jar in their store or on a front counter. Check your jar once a week or so and collect donations.

12) Free Dinner Raffle

Get local restaurants to donate a free dinner to a family or individual. Sell raffle tickets for $1 – $2 each. The winner receives a free dinner for them and/or their family at a local restaurant.

13) Guess How Many

cheap fundraisers listThis simple fundraiser has been around for ages.

Simply put out a jar full of jelly beans, coins, M&Ms, Legos, or any other small object, and donors pay for each guess they wish to take at how many of the item is in the jar.

The person whose guess is the closest wins a fun prize.

14) Online Auctions

At, your charity can sign up and enjoy a host of wonderful benefits, such as online auctions with no listing or monthly fees.

Internet auctions for charity are a rapidly growing source for bringing in donations, and one that allows your non profit to reach supporters all over the globe.

If you don’t have anything to sell, don’t worry. We’ve partnered with a wholesale drop shipper that offers over 300 items you can easily sell with no upfront costs or inventory to manage.

You simply use their text and images in your listings, and once someone wins an auction, you order it at the wholesale price, punch in your customer’s address, and this company will drop ship it straight to your supporter’s door!

You keep 100% of the profits for your charity!

15) Ornament Raffle

Find a space to put up an artificial Christmas tree. Employees, students, church members, or others types of supporters bring in handmade or purchased ornaments and hang them on the tree.

You then raffle off each ornament, beginning with the most expensive and ornate first.

You can also do this event for other holidays. On Halloween, you can raffle off jack-o-lanterns or Halloween decorations.

On Valentine’s Day, your group can hold a raffle for donated boxes of chocolates, roses, handmade greeting cards, and so forth.

16) Pajama Day

Several variations to this work wonderfully, such as having “crazy hat day” or “ugliest tie” day, and so forth. This is a great way to raise money at schools, work places, and so forth.

Charge fifty cents or a dollar on a designated day where everyone who pays gets to wear their pajamas (or whatever you’ve decided to make it all about) to school, work, etc.

Then, have a few contests for “cutest pjs” or “strangest hat” to keep it fun and get people excited.

17) Penny Drive

You, members of your group, and volunteers can go door to door throughout the different neighborhoods in your community, asking residents for donations of pennies or spare pocket change.

Most people are willing to give up a little extra coinage in their pocket.

The fact that you’re asking for pennies or change may actually inspire many people to add a couple of dollars into your can as well.

18) Recyclable Item Drive

You and your group can collect aluminum cans, glass bottles, etc., from residents in your community that can be turned in to your local recycling center for cash.

Publicize your campaign and offer a drop off area where the public can donate their recyclable items.

19) Root Beer Float Sales

cheap fundraisers root beet

Set up a booth in an appropriate spot where donors can purchase root beer or cream soda floats.

You’ll need a small, portable freezer to store your ice cream.

You’ll also need to remember items such as cups, straws, spoons, napkins, and an ice cream scoop.

20) Service-related Fundraisers

Offer your community affordable services, explaining to them how hiring your crew helps raise money for a wonderful charitable cause.

You and your crew can mow lawns, clean homes, rake leaves, pick up trash, clean parking lots, or do several other types of services all for specific rates.

21) Tricycle Races

Hold a public adult tricycle race on a wild course you’ve set up in a parking lot, field, or other place. Advertise your event ahead of time.

People who wish to participate pay a small fee and form teams with friends or family members.

On the day of the race, put up a roster listing all of the teams. People can place a bet on the team they think is going to win.

You can treat it as a relay race in which team members ride their tricycles along the course, and then hand off a stuffed animal, flag, or other item to the next team member who then races.

Winning teams receive ribbons, trophies, or prizes. People who bet on the winning team get small prizes as well.

You can set up this event however you’d like. Remember to make it loads of fun for everyone.

You can also sell and serve snacks and beverages at your event to raise even more money.

22) Weight Loss-a-thon

Members of your group who want to shed a few extra pounds, as well as volunteers who’d like to participate, break off into teams of four people each.

Each team member finds supporters who are willing to pledge a donation for each pound lost. Choose a starting date.

On this day, all team members weigh in and record the starting weight for the event.

Also, choose an ending date in which teams will perform a final weigh-in. Once the competition is over, teams then collect their pledges from supporters.

The team that loses the most weight and/or collects the most donations wins a prize.

Check out: 12 ways to do a fitness challenge

23) Yard Sale

Get rid of unwanted or interesting items around the house by holding a yard sale.

Get your organization’s members involved, too, asking them to donate as much as they can for your charity yard sale.

Advertise it in a local paper, put up signs in your area, and do your yard sale for an entire weekend.

You can also ask members of your organization to hold their own separate yard sales at their homes.

This allows your group to reach even more members of your community and earn far more money.

That’s its for now.  You can find more cheap fundraisers throughout our site.  The more you learn, the more you’ll earn.

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