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Summer is finally here—the days are longer, the sun is brighter and the money-raising possibilities are endless. To ring in the season, here are 10 fun, unique and affordable summer fundraisers that will make everyone excited to give back.
For each event, make sure you take the time to budget, set fundraising goals, find volunteers and—perhaps most importantly—advertise! All of these ideas are most successful with a high attendance rate, so market often on social media, through email and around town during the weeks leading up to the big day.
When people think of summer fundraising, a barbecue is probably one of the first events that comes to mind. It’s a great opportunity to network with your community and encourage social interaction. Along with selling food and beverages, you can have a grill-off competition or add fun extras, like a beer tasting or a raffle.
2. Grown-up lemonade stand
Put an adult spin on this classic childhood money-maker by trading Minute Maid for the real thing—lemons, sugar and water. Then, offer add-ins like berries, mint, ginger and more. Be sure to set your stand up somewhere with heavy foot traffic. It wouldn’t hurt if it’s plenty hot outside, too!
This one requires some significant planning—acquiring permits from parks, mechanical assistance, sponsors, etc.— but if done well, the results can be very rewarding. It’s a great way for donors to get outside and be active, and more experienced bikers will enjoy not having to plan their own route or pack their own supplies.
4. Patriotic party
Host a Fourth of July party with summery food, games and, of course, fireworks (bonus points if you hold the event at a lake). And since it’s a themed party, you can get creative with decorations and activities. The sky’s the limit here!
5. Outdoor concert
Use the power of music to unite your donors by hosting an outdoor benefit concert. This type of fundraiser has the potential to draw a large crowd and raise tons of money through ticket sales, especially if the artist is relatively well-known. But be careful! You’ll need to budget for venue rentals, hiring performers, security and other expenses, so the cost can add up quickly.
6. Ice cream social
Nothing beats ice cream on a hot summer day, so why not turn it into a way to raise money? This event isn’t too pricey, either, especially if you buy the generic-brand gallon tubs of ice cream. Make sure to buy plenty of napkins, bowls and spoons, too.
7. Drive-in movie
Reserve a green space, set up a projector, tell donors to bring a blanket and throw on a movie everyone loves. You can have people provide their own snacks or set up your own concession stand to raise a few extra bucks. And, if your first drive-in is a success, you can turn this into a weekly thing!
Note: most movies are protected by copyright law, so make sure you have the proper rights before a public screening!
8. Outdoor yoga class
This is another fundraiser you could fairly easily turn into a recurring event. Gather a crowd in the park and have a volunteer teach a yoga or pilates class. Everyone’s trying to live a healthier lifestyle in the summer, so this one’s sure to be a big hit.
9. Field Day
Organize a family-friendly field day full of games, events and prizes. Be creative with the games you choose, but make sure you still include some of the classics, like potato sack races, tug-o-war and egg toss. Don’t forget to cool off with some popsicles after your long day of exercise!
10. Car wash
If the previous fundraisers are a little out of your budget, try hosting a car wash! All you need is a few buckets, sponges and towels. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also sell refreshments and baked goods for donors while they wait for their cars to be cleaned. Make sure you’re being loud and charismatic, and hold vibrant signs to attract passers-by.
Have other summertime fundraisers you’ve done in the past? Take it to the comments!