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6 Cheap and Easy Fundraising Ideas That Really Work

Author: Adie M.

Fundraising doesn’t need to be complicated and expensive to be effective. If you’re on the lookout for some cheap fundraising ideas - we’ve got your back! 

Organizations often need a quick funding fix in times of emergency. You may also be looking for some easy fundraising ideas to kickstart a larger campaign, or to renew interest in an ongoing campaign. So, let’s have a look at some easy, low-cost fundraising ideas. 

6 Budget-Friendly Fundraising Ideas That Actually Work

The trick with fundraising is to find an idea that people will love, and that you don’t need a big budget to pull off. Think about the community you’re trying to fundraise in, and what they would be interested in taking part in. 

1. Fundraise through online shopping

Many people have started to shop online in the past couple of years. Clothes, food, equipment - you name it! Out of all the cheap fundraising ideas out there, an online shopping fundraiser has to be one of the top ideas. 

Look at some online shopping fundraising platforms (such as ShopRaise) to pull off this idea. These platforms allow your supporters to shop online, whilst directing a percentage of the purchase price to your organization. 

This is the ideal low-cost fundraising idea. All you have to do is encourage supporters to do the shopping they would do anyway! You may need to check which stores have partnered with the platform you decide to use. 

2. Auction night

An auction night is a fantastic cheap fundraising idea to look into. This is not just because it’s a great way to raise money. It also lets you interact with potential donors. This could help you to get long-term donors on board. 

Of course, your supporters have the option to walk away with something they love! These events can be in person or virtual. In-person auctions might take some time to organize and will require a higher budget. However, it’s a great opportunity to get to know your donors and supporters better. 

On the other hand, it’s much easier and more affordable to host a virtual auction. With free auction and mobile bidding software (like BiddingOwl), you can easily manage your online auction. All you need to do is choose the items and promote the event. 

Having a virtual auction also means that more people can participate over a longer period of time. This means there’s an opportunity for you to raise more money for your cause.  

People participating in a fundraising activity

3. A classic bake sale

People of all ages love a good bake sale - and there are a couple of ways you could orchestrate this. Participants could set up stalls and pay a percentage of their profits to your organization. This would mean that you need to secure a space and get the word out about the event. 

Perhaps someone in your organization is a talented baker! Selling your own wares means that you can keep more profits. This is a good option, depending on the scale of the operation. If you’re hoping to have hundreds of people passing through, you may need some extra hands on deck. 

Another option is to host a baking competition, where supporters can donate money to taste the sweet treats and vote for their favorites. You can choose what the participants are allowed to enter into the contest. Pies, cakes, and cookies are just a few delectable ideas for this cheap fundraising idea. 

4. Community scavenger hunt

Your supporters should grab their running shoes for this one! A scavenger hunt may take some careful organizing, but it’s one of the best cheap fundraising ideas because it’s so much fun! 

It involves sending participants on a hunt to find certain objects around a designated area. 

You can choose whether they will need to collect the item, or simply take a picture and send it in for validation. Your supporters can be charged a registration fee per head, and potentially receive discounts for signing up a large group of people. If they would like headstarts or sneaky clues - perhaps they could pay for these with donations! 

The winner(s) of the hunt should receive some sort of prize to make it worth entering. Perhaps partner with local businesses to come up with some awesome prizes. 

5. Bingo

When it comes to low-cost fundraising ideas, bingo deserves a mention! Bingo cards, a venue, and some sponsored prizes - you’ve got a winner. You could hire someone to run the bingo, or simply pass the task along to a charismatic colleague or volunteer. 

Bingo can be played with any amount of people, and nobody needs to understand how it works before the game begins (although we’re sure most people will). It’s simple and fun for people of all ages. 

People could donate an amount to play or could donate differing amounts depending on the prizes up for grabs in each round. 

6. World record attempt

This must be one of the most innovative, cheap fundraising ideas on the internet! There are so many crazy world records that you could attempt to best. Think tallest donut stack, the biggest group hug, the most people to jump rope at the same time - the options are endless! 

Supporters could donate to be a part of the world record attempt. The attempt will incentivize your supporters to bring their friends and family, especially if the idea is fun! 

You’ll need to choose an idea that isn’t expensive to pull off - if there are costs involved, try to get local businesses involved and sponsoring. You could also partner with a business, and tackle a world record that is relevant to their industry. 

Lemonade stand for fundraising

Final Thoughts 

It’s important to think about whether in-person events or virtual ones will be of more help with these cheap fundraising ideas. While it’s great to be able to interact with your donors, virtual events enable more people to participate. 

These cheap fundraising ideas can help you raise the money you need! These are fun, low effort, and cost-effective. No matter which you choose, remember that getting local businesses involved, as well as your community, is hugely beneficial.