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Fundraiser Ideas

Category Fundraising
Finding a lucrative, inexpensive way to raise money for all kinds of nonprofit organizations can be a challenge. This guide contains fundraiser ideas.
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August 31, 20111 found this helpful

It seems like the economy has created a new draw to fundraisers. Few people have the extra money to buy high priced wrapping paper to benefit a school, and sending kids door to door with a sales brochure isn't safe. Instead, a myriad of companies offer fundraising for "shopping you'd do anyway."

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It's not a bad idea, and it doesn't cost the schools anything to join nor does it require a lot of volunteers. If you're involved in your school's fundraising, check out some of these businesses and sign up. Even one shopper could earn a few dollars, and every school can use those.

Shop Online for Profit

Shop For Students is a website created primarily for the online fundraiser. The premise behind it is that 15% of your purchase is donated to your school with a cash check each month.

The selection of items for sale is limited, but with an offer to new vendors it could increase dramatically with little warning. Glancing over the prices, they're high, but most fundraisers factor the donation into the overall cost. For consumers looking to grab a bargain, this isn't the place. A prime example is the reusable grocery bags that sell for $6 and up. They're stylish, unlike those offered in the grocery store, so if you're looking to give them as gifts then they're worth it.

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To counteract the few items with high prices, there are a few great bargains. The best one is probably the ink cartridges. They're re-manufactured but incredibly cheap, plus there's a donation to your school.

Overall, the fundraising aspect of this site is top notch. Upon signup, the school receives help with promotions of the site and links to add to the school website. Created by a father who sought to help his daughters raise money for their school without all the hassle, it has the potential to grow into an outstanding source for school funds.

Editor's Note: Shop for Students is now named 4InkandToner. They still have an affiliate program for schools, now offering 20% back. Here is their updated link:

Target the Sales

A nationally known fundraiser for schools is Target. If your school isn't registered, register it. Anyone who uses a Target Visa to purchase items at the store or online will earn a 1% donation to the affiliated school. When signing up for the Target card, you'll be prompted to enter the school you'd like to receive your donations.

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Compare the 1% donation to the 15% donation in the previous website, and you'll see why a specialized online fundraiser is better. However, people won't have to be reminded to shop at a large box store like Target, and people who have no connection to your school can earn you money. Most Target Visa owners list their residing school district anyway.

Target also offers specialized fundraisers through their Take Charge of Education for schools that are interested. They claim to offer a variety of options from "tried and true" to "wackiness," so a little investigation might be worth it.

Giving Back to Schools

Office Depot also offers a 5% credit to schools for using its Back to Schools program. You need to know your school's Back to Schools ID number which can be found at the store or on the Office Depot website. For all qualifying purchases, the school linked to that number will receive a 5% credit.

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Since many schools order their basic supplies from Office Depot, this program could reap some heavy rewards. The program is valid for online as well as in person purchases, and purchases made during the calendar year can still be applied to the school's credit voucher. If you purchased from Office Depot this calendar year but didn't credit it to the school, bring your receipt, and your school's ID to the store and ask for your purchase to be applied.

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October 11, 2012

I am doing a fundraiser for Marion-Polk Food Share here in Salem, OR.

It's running from 10-1 to 11-29 and can be found and explained here at http://www.foodbythefoot.org

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My goal is to crochet a 14k foot chain, to represent the 14k children the Food Share helps to feed each month, which doesn't even include the adults and seniors. My calendar shows where I will be and when, so if you live in Salem or Keizer, please come and support the cause. I am asking $5.00 per foot for as many feet as you want to pledge, which will help to buy seeds to grow food and for food itself.

You can also donate 4 ply yarn, as I will run out before my goal is reached. When the fundraiser is over, I am donating the yarn to folks who want to make hats and mufflers for the homeless. If you can help with that, please contact me through my website as well.

You can donate via my website at http://www.marionpolkfoodshare.org so if you can help, it would be greatly appreciated. You can also donate to the office directly by going to 1660 Salem Industrial Dr. in Salem, OR

No one should go hungry.

Thanks!

By Sandi (Poor But Proud) from Salem, OR

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April 8, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about community center fundraising ideas. Community centers frequently need to raise funds for additional operating and event costs.

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March 9, 20160 found this helpful

This is a guide about church fundraiser ideas. It can be a challenge to come up with fundraising ideas for your church group or project.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
September 22, 2007

I need fund raising ideas for a nonprofit pet organization in my county. Can anyone help me please?

Carolyn from Appling, GA

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September 23, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

Our local humane society just had an awareness week and had events almost every night.

Some of the events were:
a jewelry party
a motorcycle poker run
a karaoke night - everyone paid $5 to get up and sing a tune
a benefit concert
a local restaurant donated the proceeds from one night's sales to the humane society

Hope these ideas help!

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 23, 20070 found this helpful
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I used to live near DeLand, Florida. There, every year (I believe it was on the weekend before Ash Wednesday), they had a family-friendly Mardi Gras parade for dogs. Families would bring their dogs, many in costume and always on a leash, to the downtown area. Some would walk their dogs down the street, and others would just bring their dogs and watch; the restored historic downtown area had quite a crowd every year. This was actually a benefit to raise money for a local theater, but I think it would be fabulous for a pet organization. The rules were that each dog had to be current on its shots, licensed, on a leash, not vicious, and not "in season" (heat). I believe they also had a minimum age for taking part in the parade and children below that age needed to have a parent or other adult walk with them as they walked the dog. The parade did not have any motorized vehicles in it, and was always really cute. They would have a different theme each year, such as outer space or Old New Orleans, and the parade dogs would be dressed up in costumes reflecting that theme. Prizes were awarded for best costume, smallest, largest, and oldest dogs, and they also had doggie talent shows and other related events. It was a family-oriented Mardi Gras and was absolutely adorable and lots of fun. You could get more information about it by contacting either the Sands Theater in DeLand, Florida, or MainStreet DeLand's offices. (Sorry I don't have addresses for either group.) The committee that put together this annual event was called the "Krewe of Barkalee," but it was affiliated with the theater.

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September 24, 20070 found this helpful
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We volunteer at our Humane Society in the fundraising part. They have 3 big events each year. One is a huge rummage sale of donated items that are collected throughout the year. They run a thrift store year round and get alot of donations. Every summer they take donated items that have been stored and they lease the National Guard Armory for a week. Mon - Thurs are set up days and Friday and Saturday are the Sale. Sunday is cleanup day. They raise $30-45,000.00 each year. We have worked with them for 5 years.

The second thing that they do is have a Fur Ball which is a gala event and they have a formal dance with silent auctions and gourmet food etc. and tickets for the event are quite pricey and donations just seem to flow in.

The third is called Santa Paws and they purchased a nice camera on a tripod and a printer. They set up at the mall with Santa Claus in a suit and a nice chair and for a fee you can get your pet's picture taken with Santa. They do dogs and cats and birds but nothing too gross or exotic, like creepy things - snakes, rats, gerbils etc. You can buy as many prints as you like or bring as many pets as you wish.

Simpler things are yard sales, bake sales, selling their logo or picture printed on their t-shirts, making their own calendar with pictures of the cute shelter animals, selling key chains or car magnets with their logo, etc. Hope this helps and gives you some ideas.

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 26, 20070 found this helpful
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Try the following:

Garage Sale - a local animal shelter gets donated space from a storage company 1x/year & then they advertise for donated items in local newspapers, word-of-mouth, etc. They then hold a HUGE garage sale at the storage company which generates thousands of dollars for the animal shelter. It has become a well-known annual event in the area & each year there are hundreds of people lined up waiting for the doors to open!

Shop & Share - I live in the Chicago area. The local grocery stores (Jewel & Dominick's) have a program to help raise funds for animal shelters. This is how it works: every other month or so the shelters give out "coupons" to shop at those stores on certain days. The shopper shops on those days, turns in the "coupon" when checking out & the store will donate 5% of the shopper's total purchase to the animal shelter.

Some other ideas to try: igive.com; Car Wash/Dog Wash; Candy Bars; Bake Sales; Crafts, etc.

Good luck!

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By 0 found this helpful
April 23, 2007

My class is planning a trip to Malawi in June 2008. As sports leaders we will be teaching/helping out in some P.E. classes. But before we go we have to raise the money to get us there. Altogether we need to raise about £10,000. We have been thinking of ways to raise the money but so far haven't got anything. I was just looking for some good ideas/ways to raise this sort of money!

lilme2k7 from uk

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April 23, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

I suggest you do yard work/run errands/babysit/shop, especially for the elderly and single parents who may need the extra help. Try a fixed rate per hour and make sure you render an efficient and effective service, so that you build a good name. Open a bank account and make sure you receive the highest possible interest to add to you savings.
What a pity I cannot hire you to clean up my yard:)
Good Luck!!!

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April 25, 20070 found this helpful
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I was president of my daughter's chorus group's Booster Club and one thing we did to raise money was for each of the students to write to family members/friends/members of their church asking for a donation. In the letter, they described the trip, the benefits to be gained from the trip, and thanked them in advance for the donation. It worked! Give it a try!

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 25, 20070 found this helpful
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How about doing a dinner (something inexpensive like spaghetti) with a silent auction of items you got donated from local businesses, art galleries, parents, etc. My neice is going to Ireland to compete in the World Irish Dance Competition and this is how her group raised their money. It worked really well.

To earn the rest of her portion here are some things she's done:

She had a garage sale at home with stuff donated from everyone she knows - she went and got it all and cleaned it, marked it, and did the sale herself

She has gone to the downtown area of her city during the weekend nights (with Dad/Mom as escort) and set up a little dance demonstration with a jar for donations. Since she also plays the violin, she's done that as well. People walking around from restaurants and bars have stopped and enjoyed her performances and she's earned up to $100 per night.

She has babysat and held workshops to teach younger girls how to babysit and make kits that they take with them. She charged them $10 each but they got the class and their first job through her.

In our city, curbs need to be painted with the house number on them so emergency vehicles can identify the address. She went around to new developments and did this for $15 per home. She made quite a bit of money doing this.

Hope these ideas help!

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By guest (Guest Post)
April 29, 20070 found this helpful
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Besides bake sales, car washes and silent auctions, you can have what is called "trivia" night. Get donated items as prizes and incorporate the silent auction also. Our tables sat eight people at $10 each, so that was $80 a table plus whatever was earned from the silent auction. Sometimes you can use your donated items and raffle tickets at a local baseball or other type of "ball" game. Just have the announcer read off the winning ticket number. To get donated items I had 4-5 people take letters A-G, H-L, M-Q, S-Z and make calls to business in the telephone book. Or you can divide the callers by type of business. Then we had someone do the pickups. I helped a cancer victim with fundraising and these ideas always generated a lot of donations. Another thing we did was set up jars at restaurants for monetary donations. A nice flyer-poster beside the jar explained what we were raising the money for. It is best to have the same person do the pick-up every week so the restaurant people know who you are and they don't have to worry about a stranger coming in and stealing the money. Be sure to have the jar setting beside the cash register also so it is always in plain sight of the restaurant personnel.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 11, 2010

I need some inexpensive centerpiece ideas for 75 round tables. It is for a spaghetti dinner fundraiser. Many thanks for your help.

By Meg from Augusta, GA

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February 15, 20100 found this helpful
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Our RVing group had to decorate tables for a group of 350 people. Our budget was nearly zero. We purchased plastic table cloths for each table at a dollar-type store. We purchased a few extras in case some might get torn or whatever during the 3 days/nights of the event.

We came up with the idea of using the empty cans from vegetables, soups, fruits, and so on. We saved our cans for several weeks prior to the event. (Wash the insides first!) I can see your face now ! ha you are thinking how "tacky" is this? this gal has to be from Tennessee! ha! :)

Many of these cans have very colorful labels. Some purchased at the dollar-type stores were different than the regular old soup cans. Some labels on tomato sauces, spaghetti sauce cans would fit your theme.

We put some gravel in the bottom of each can, so they wouldn't turn over easily. And each gal in our group brought some silk flowers in the color scheme that we had chosen. (either from her "stash" or from a dollar store) After each can was full of colorful blooms, each table looked great!

We had so many compliments from people who ate at the tables. Several thought it was such a cute idea. Everybody has cans. Nobody had thought of using empty tin cans! At the end of the event, each gal was allowed to take her silk flowers back home with her. Which meant we ended up with just about zero cost for table decorations. And we re-cycled besides.

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February 19, 20100 found this helpful
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I would save the cans from spaghetti sauce, like Barb suggested. Then, put some cheap dried spaghetti out on a table with paper or a table cloth on it, and spray glitter them red, green, and white spray glitter. When dried, and you may have to apply several coats since they need to be rolled and sprayed, you simply put them in the cans and jars, mixing the colors. Enjoy!

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April 6, 20100 found this helpful
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How about the theme, "Spaghetti Western"? Your decorations could be western themed. Hankerchiefs are very cheap at craft stores, sometimes 3 or 4 for a dollar. You could use those as placemats or in the center of the table with a cactus centerpiece. Sunflowers are a cute idea for centerpieces too.

Everyone could wear boots and jeans, etc.

Another cheap way to cover tables is to buy a big roll of brown mailing paper (or craft paper) and draw cattle brands on it with brown markers.

I like the tomato sauce can ideas too. You could use small ones for tea-light holders. Just punch a few holes in them for the light to come through!

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By 0 found this helpful
November 8, 2007

I teach a Sunday school class for little kids 5-8yrs and I can't think of ideas to raise money fast. We don't have any money and we need to fix our room. Please I need help!

~God Bless You~

Emili from Chicago, IL

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November 8, 20070 found this helpful
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What about some type walk-a thon with people sponsoring each walker. I am not sure, but I think you sponsor so much per mile. Or ask your friends and family to each bake up one thing like brownies, fudge, or candies and collect them the next day and have a bake sale. Most Walmarts let you sell outside if you tell them its for a good reason. Our Walmart just had a craft show outside and they show the community how they sponsor that. They even set up a food booth with hotdogs and Cokes. You could even get all your unwanted household items like clothing, etc, and ask others to donate theirs as well and you schedule a day to pick them all up and then set up at a flea market on some Saturday and use the funds from there to redecorate your classroom. If you do the bake sale idea make up flyers on your computer telling about it when it is what is for and post them everywhere like laundromats, car washes, bulletin boards in grocery stores, some restaurants have bulletin boards as well. Just ask them first to make sure. Our Pizza Inn sponsors fund raisers all the time for many places like schools, churches going on mission trips, etc. They advertize with flyers ahead of time. All tips on those certain dates that they sponsor go to the event. Call your local Pizza Inn to see if they too participate in that.

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November 9, 20070 found this helpful
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My son who is now 47 used to make those little hot pot holders with the little plastic loom and knit loops. He sold them to the neighbors for walking around money. You can still get those looms fot not too much money. Your class is a good age bracket to do this sort of thing. With the holidays coming people in your church could buy "handmade by the kids" stuff for gifts.

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By guest (Guest Post)
November 12, 20070 found this helpful
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I think this one is really easy! The kids color papers when in Sunday school class, right? So ask the pastor if you can have and auction. Do it during one of your Sunday socials and make sure all the congregation is aware it is going on. Have some of the mothers make treats and coffee have the pastor auction them off since he is use to speaking in public. Have the kids walk around showing there art to all the participants. I hope this works for you

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February 15, 2010

I need to come up with some fundraisers for my daughter's fastpitch softball team. They are all 17 years old. We already have a car wash. Any great ideas? We need to make alot of money.

By Joyce from Pittsburgh, PA

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February 15, 20100 found this helpful
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Get local businesses to donate gift certificates or goods and then have a silent auction or a raffle. The girls can work in teams and approach four or five businesses each. They should have a letter explaining where the auction/raffle will be held, what the money raised will be used for, and how the sponsors will be recognized (they'll be looking for some kind of free advertising). Try to get working parents to donate something also. Hope that helps.

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February 19, 20100 found this helpful
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You might ask your local grocery if they'll let your ladies bag for donations. This was a great fundraiser for my kids' marching band a few years ago.

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July 28, 2011

What is the best "meal" to serve at a fundraiser dinner held in the high school cafeteria? We need something that is good and filling, easy to prepare and serve, yet something people would come out to eat. Should it be all-you-can-eat or one-time plate?

Also, what should we charge for tickets? Should we offer discounts for kids under 10? Since this is a fundraiser we don't want to lose money, but do want to give a good value. Do any companies donate or subsidize purchases of ingredients (ie: spaghetti companies give discount on noodles, etc.)

Our thoughts so far were chili, cornbread, and salad or spaghetti, garlic bread, and salad, but we would like other ideas of meals that have worked well.

By Melody from Oak Ridge, TN

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July 29, 20110 found this helpful
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We have had some very successful fish boils and pig roasts, but they can be a lot of work. I would suggest keeping it as simple as possible. Spaghetti, chili, lasagna (Italian night?) would all fit the bill. Serve the main dish, salad, two dressings to choose from, garlic bread or bread sticks, dessert (cookies or bars), and a choice of coffee, milk, or lemonade. One thing to think about- spaghetti or lasagna could be served on the same plate as a salad, but you would need bowls for chili. To keep it even more simple, have a small plate rate and a large plate rate (or three plate sizes). Have the plate sizes on display. Limit dessert to one item. If you decide to serve spaghetti or lasagna choice, perhaps you could have an option to get both on a larger plate for a higher rate.

Advertise well and good luck. Be sure to state what you are raising funds for. It never hurts to ask politely for donations from businesses or from families. You could ask families to either volunteer time or food items such as bagged salads, dressings, spaghetti noodles, lasagna noodles,hamburger meat, lemonade mix, a gallon of milk, coffee, paper plates, cups, utensils, napkins, brownies or bars, cookies, garlic bread loaves, parmesan cheese, cans of sauce.
I am a former pta vice-pres. and a current school board member.

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July 31, 20110 found this helpful
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I come from a small town, so perhaps it is easier to get donations, but we have had wonderful support from local businesses for pancake breakfasts and other dinners. Credit Unions and banks donate stuff like Styrofoam cups and paper plates, or cash that you can use to buy them. Local grocery stores donate a variety of items; or if you feel that it is too much to ask of one store, perhaps you can buy all the things you need from one store, and then get a 10- 20% discount. One of our staff was very good at this -- she asked for cash donations from businesses like fertilizer dealerships (who had kids in our school!!!) and banks, and then used this cash to purchase from our locally owned store, which gave a discount on items.
Be sure to acknowledge your sponsors.

Some places will also donate a prize that you can sell tickets on at the door for additional fundraising. A smaller item can just be given as a door prize, if you like.

In our area we usually charge a flat rate for adults (all you can eat) and a discount for kids, often preschoolers are free. Sometimes there is a family rate that is a bit of a saving. The price of the food varies, depending on what is served, pancake & sausage suppers are less expensive than turkey and the trimmings. Ask around your local community to see what is being charged. Usually it is a slightly less than the equivalent meal in a restaurant, but remember, this is a fundraiser. You should actually cover the cost of the food in the price, even if you had to buy everything and rent the facility. Your big profit comes from your donations and volunteer labor. Food sales and community dinners should make hundreds of dollars for your organization; that is why you go to all the trouble.

It is nice if you tie the supper to something festive, like Irish stew for St Pat's day, but not necessary. Advance tickets can be sold, too, if you worry about turn out.

If you are using a place with dishes, use the dishes. Saves on costs and saves the environment, and is much nicer as well.You should have no shortage of dishwashers if this is a high school fundraiser.

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October 22, 2006

Some of you may know that I have spent the past 6 months in Vietnam working in orphanages. I am now back in the states and am trying to fundraise to return to Vietnam to work at the orphanages and day center for kids with disabilities. I wanted to know if anybody has any ideas on how I can fundraise in the next two months?

Stella from WA

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By guest (Guest Post)
October 24, 20060 found this helpful
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What a great thing you are doig! I can't help right now financially since we are about to adopt our second child, but I can give you fundraising ideas.
Ask at various stores if you could put a box or jar there explaining your cause. The box or jar is for donations.
Have a bake sale.
Christmas ornaments are always popular gifts for people to buy--make a bunch and sell them.
Well, my hamburger is burning --gotta go.

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January 22, 2009

I'm involved with the Drug-Free Scholarship Foundation and every year we have a fund-raiser called "Food Fest". We have foods from around the world and people pay to sample them. My problem? Some of the vendors have not been able to come this year, so we have many extra spots to fill.

I have a source of chicken, so if anyone has a chicken recipe that's not too hard to fix, please send it to me. We're especially low in German and Irish dishes, but any country would be great. I was thinking about Jamaican Sticky Chicken and Transylvania Chicken Stew. More ideas? Thanks.

AuntyC from Anderson, MO

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 22, 20090 found this helpful

You might try looking for German or Irish chicken recipes at Recipes.com. I found some international foods for my daughter's girl scout troop international day and they were big hits. Good luck.

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March 30, 20131 found this helpful

Two of my teens will be heading to Kenya, Africa this year on missions. My son on a medical mission for a month and my daughter on a humanitarian mission. We are so proud of them. I need decorating ideas for a pasta fundraiser to help cover the costs of the missions which are $5000.00 each so it is imperative that we do not spend a lot on decorating. I was thinking of maybe something involving Kenya's colours: black, red, and green. The venue is supplying white tablecloths.

By Kelly R.

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September 4, 2009

I am looking for some great fundraising ideas for Project Graduation 2010.

By nmbr1bandmom

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By 0 found this helpful
October 15, 2014

How can I raiseto help poor children?

By Nishanthini

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