Free Fundraising Ideas
Free fundraising ideas have an advantage over other kinds of fundraising ideas, which is that you cut out the risk of losing money with your fundraiser. For this reason - and perhaps also because everybody likes to do something for nothing - many smaller-scale fundraising ideas involve little or no investment. This page has just a few free fundraising ideas. If you need other ideas for fundraising activities , see our page on that topic.
These aren't strictly free to run, as people have to donate items in order for you to sell them. However, there is little financial outlay, particularly if you hold the sale in your front yard or persuade your local community centre to let you hire the venue for free. The beauty of garage sales is that one person's junk is another person's bargain.
Toast breaks/pancake breaks
This is another example of how you can raise a lot of money without spending very much. Ask your school or workplace if you can take over the cafeteria or another room for a few hours. Then borrow a few toasters and bring in loaves of bread along with some cheap spread. It's amazing how many people will be persuaded by the smell of toast to queue up for a slice. You can probably charge around 30¢ for one slice, which means a large profit margin if each loaf only cost you 80¢. If you can get a bakery or supermarket to donate the bread, the whole event will cost you practically nothing. The pancake breaks work in the same way, although you will need access to cooking equipment.
Your greatest assets in both toast breaks and pancake breaks are people's sense of smell and impulsiveness. They smell the cooking and figure they don't mind spending a few cents on a snack, especially if it's for a good cause. However, this means that timing is everything. Few people will queue for more than a few minutes, so you need to get as efficient a team as possible to ensure that everybody is served quickly. Otherwise, potential customers will walk away.
Working in a fast food restaurant
You will need to arrange this with the branch manager. Usually, the fast-food outlet agrees to donate a certain percentage of their takings for an agreed period of time in exchange for your team's labor . This fundraising idea is completely free except for the cost of getting the team to the restaurant.
These involve very few costs. Our page on high school fundraising ideas explains the principle - people pay not to go to an event - and suggests some variations on the theme.
Stretching the idea somewhat, instead of being sponsored to do something, why not be sponsored not to do something? Of course, it should really be something you do every day. For example, a smoker could be sponsored not to light up all day, or a soap opera addict could be sponsored not to watch any TV for a week.
The free fundraising ideas above are to get you started, so feel free to adopt and adapt as you choose. Perhaps something on this page will provide inspiration for a brilliant, no-cost fundraising idea of your own. Remember that the most powerful free resource at your disposal is your own imagination.