There are many very effective ways to fundraise for a cause that is important to you. It is important to remember that when your passion is evident, the funds are much more likely to be raised. Remember to do your homework first! It is absolutely essential to completely understand your project and be prepared to answer questions related to why this is important to you.
You will find specific fundraising ideas below that have been used by AfricAid supporters along with other great ideas that nonprofit organizations recommend. This is by no means a complete list, so you will likely discover other successful ideas by talking with family and friends, doing online research and brainstorming on your own. (No one knows how to better get your friends and family interested and excited than you!) A highly recommended strategy is to plan several small events in order to reach a wider range of people – such as kids, students and adults. Along the way, you will discover the types of fundraisers that are most successful for you. Only one thing is certain – you will never know whether an idea will work until you try!
When undertaking any of these activities to fundraise for your Kisa Scholarship, ask people to write checks to AfricAid, or have people contribute online at www.africaid.com. This way, your supporters will receive tax-receipts for their contributions. (If you can, try to collect email addresses so that these receipts can be sent electronically – and save paper at the same time!) When you send in any funds or checks, make sure your individual or group name is clearly indicated or written in the memo line. Please send all checks to the address below.
Fundraising Ideas for Students
Letters - Send fundraising letters to your friends, family, and community (See Appendix A for a sample letter).
Walk-a-thon, bike-a-thon, hop-a-thon, or basketball shoot-a-thon- Organize an event such as this at your school and ask for donations for every mile (or alternative distance) walked or biked, every hop jumped, or every basket made, with the pledges supporting AfricAid’s work. One school organized this type of activity to benefit AfricAid and raised several thousand dollars!
Benefit Concert- Work with your school to host a benefit concert in the auditorium. You will need to locate a band or musicians willing to donate their talents to the cause. Sell tickets to the concert as a way to bring in funds for your Kisa Scholar in Africa!
Crafts – Create greeting cards, bookmarks, jewelry or some other craft (possibly with an African theme) to sell in your community.
“Dress Down Day” - Talk with your school administration and ask for permission for a special “Dress Down Day.” This works well if you have uniforms or a dress code at your school. This initiative could also be varied by switching to a “theme” day. Ask students to pay a designated amount to participate and wear casual or theme clothes instead of uniforms.
How Many In That Jar? - You will need your best guessing skills for this fundraiser. It is very simple to run and requires very little equipment. You will need a large jar or clear box and something to fill it with. Pick something like candy-covered chocolates, golf tees, beads, marbles or cards. You will also need index cards or slips of paper with lines marked for name, phone number, and guess. Set the jar in a public spot and have someone selling guess slips for one or two dollars. People are welcome to submit as many guesses as they are willing to pay for. Have a box for placing guess slips into. Run the contest for a week to give everyone a chance to make a guess. After all the guesses have been entered, have a small group of people count the items from the jar. Count several times to be sure of the total. Announce the winner and give that person the designated prize, the contents of the jar, or a share of the total money raised.
All-School Talent Show- Talent group shows are always a blast. Hopefully you will find youth willing to play a musical instrument, dance, perform a comedy routine, do magic tricks or put on a puppet show for kids. Make several posters, sell tickets, and give your friends the time of their life while raising money for girls in Africa.
Wacky Hat Day - This fun fundraiser will work at school, a business, or place of worship. After receiving permission, start your planning. For a one or two dollar donation, allow people to wear a wacky hat for the day. Collect money first thing in the morning and give participants a special hand stamp or sticker to show they have paid their fee. Have a “create your own wacky hat” station for those who would like to participate but didn’t bring one of their own. Have blank hats, fabric, glue, fabric paint, sparkles and other items for decorating. Sell the hats and allow people to have fun. At the end of the day, hold a wacky hat contest. Award prizes to the best and worst wacky hats, silliest wacky hat, cutest wacky hat, etc. You can also have a parade of wacky hats to show all of the great creations. This would be a great fundraiser to run during one day of Spirit Week at school as well. Get the principal and teachers involved to increase the fun.
Donate Allowances - Get your friends to donate a week’s allowance or money they earn for doing chores for a certain number of days. Goals can be set for how much money your group would like to raise. If you do this as a class or group, have everyone write down the amount of money they think they can earn on a separate piece of paper. Read aloud how much you could potentially raise as a community! Even small allowances add up when you have a group of friends or family participating!
Design and Sell t-shirts - Design a unique t-shirt (seek input from many others to ensure you create a marketable product) and sell them to friends.
Newsletter – Create an online or paper newsletter with important and pertinent articles about the need for educational opportunities in Africa. You may want to highlight experiences and special connections of any group members. Ask your group to send the newsletter to all their familiy and friends. Specify that donations go to AfricAid.
Facebook – Create a cause page with your school group and start a campaign to raise awareness of and support for a student through AfricAid.
Host an AfricAid Birthday Party - Instead of receiving gifts, ask guests to bring a cash gift (or check) equal to what they’d typically spend on a gift. Several young AfricAid supporters have already raised hundreds of dollars this way for girls’ education in Tanzania!
“African Safari Theme” Party (for younger children)
Ask guests to dress up in safari gear (khaki clothes) or as their favorite animal. Decorate with safari-colored balloons and streamers (brown, tan, green, yellow). Play African music. Instead of gifts, request that parents make a donation to AfricAid. Consider these activities or come up with your own:
Have someone demonstrate how to make a balloon in the shape of an animal.
Watch an African-themed movie (for example, The Lion King or Madagascar)
Play a game of mancala (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mancala for more information about mancala)
Locate musicians who play African music and ask them to teach the children how to dance.
Locate someone who does African story telling and ask that person to present to the group.
Ask the children to write letters to school children in Africa and send the letters to AfricAid to distribute.
Decorate cards to be sent to children in Africa
Make mud bricks as an activity to teach children how work is done in remote parts of Africa without the benefit of electricity (see Appendix B for insructions)
Serve ugali, the primary meal in many African countries (see Appendix C for instructions)
Create games using the language of Swahili
Fundraising Ideas for Young-Adult and Adult Groups
Sell Something - T-shirts, baked goods, candy bars, donuts, homemade jewelry, cookbooks, greeting cards, etc. One group chose to sell children’s artwork and homemade greeting cards.
Silent Auction - Ask individuals and businesses to donate items for your auction. Classes or groups could create a themed basket, such as a spa basket or a movie night basket. Individuals might donate services or homemade goods. Hold your silent auction at the same time as another event when you might draw a crowd: sports event, play or choral concert, family game night, etc. At your auction table, have individuals fill out small slips of paper with the amount they are willing to pay for the item they are bidding on and their phone number so you can call them if they’ve won.
Car Wash - This could coincide with another school event, such as a Saturday morning sports event. Be sure to publicize well and let people know what you’re raising funds for.
Ticket Sales - This is an easy fundraiser and the dollars can add up if the event draws a big crowd. Donate a portion of the proceeds from your school play/musical/choral concert/sporting event/talent show ticket sales. Add $1 or $2 on to the ticket cost, and give those proceeds to AfricAid. Be sure to let people know that it's a benefit event.
Host a burrito night or spaghetti dinner - Try to get all the food and supplies donated so the proceeds from tickets can be used to support your Kisa Scholar. You can be creative and ask student groups to perform at the dinner. Do not overlook other ways to increase contributions, i.e. donations. Place a large jug or bucket right next to the cash register and hang a large sign above it asking for donations. Attach a sheet of paper to the donation container saying something like 'Every Little Bit Helps' or 'Donations Always Welcome' or 'Make Checks Payable To AfricAid’. Oftentimes, you can raise as much in donations as you did with ticket sales. The key is prominent placement where wallets and checkbooks are already out. Even if people only donate their change from buying tickets, you are ahead of the game.
Have a 50/50 raffleat a school event-(In locations where raffles are permitted by state law. Sell tickets for $1, $5, or $10 with the winning prize worth half (or less) of the amount of ticket sales.
Raffle a donateditem - (In locations where raffles are permitted by state law.) This could be services donated by a business, gift certificates from a local restaurant, snowboard, skis, tickets to a sporting event, an iPhone, or even a week at a vacation home.
Board Game or Chess Tournament- Have teams or individuals pay an entry fee to play. If you wish, set up a concession stand to earn extra money. Have a local business donate a prize for the winner(s) to entice more to enter.
3 on 3 Basketball Tournament - Get sponsors for your tournament and recruit players. Enlist the support of coaches at a school to help with the planning.
Mini–Golf Fundraiser - You will need to arrange a place to play and the event will be most successful if you plan well in advance. Seasonal factors will affect price and availability, but most of the time you can arrange either a flat payment for exclusive facility use or a per-game fee that is substantially lower than standard rates. To maximize attendance, price your golf event tickets at reasonable prices. Offer attractive variations like a flat-rate family ticket or discounts for students or advance purchases.
Golf Tournaments - Make arrangements with the pro of a local golf course to host a fundraising golf tournament there. You will need the help of experienced golfers for this event. Perhaps you could involve coaches in your community to help you plan and execute this event.
PancakeBreakfast - Putting together a pancake breakfast fundraiser is a tried and true method for raising funds for a worthy cause. For a pancake breakfast, all you need is a large space with kitchen facilities, plenty of batter, and lots of volunteers.
Gift Wrap Holiday Presents- Get permission to have a gift-wrap station at a store or mall during the holidays and wrap gifts in exchange for donations to AfricAid. A Girl Scout Troop or youth group could do this as an activity.
Gather Loose Change - Determine a theme. Then provide labeled jars or bottles for people to put their change in, then pick a date for collecting and counting all of the change!
Race Sponsorships - Run a marathon or race and designate your sponsorships to AfricAid. You can send people to the AfricAid website contribution page to make it easy for them to donate.
Fine Art Show – Most everyone loves art! Even small communities have artists of one form or another. Sometimes crafts can count as art, but try limiting your art show to oil or acrylic paintings, watercolor paintings, pen and ink, charcoal drawings or even computer generated art. If you have a group of talented artists who are committed to helping you fundraise, then find a gallery or venue for displaying the art, determine a marketing campaign, and set the date! A group of artists in Northern Colorado organized just such an event and raised thousands of dollars for a water project for AfricAid!
Raise Funds By Bowling For Bucks - A bowling fundraiser is another fun way to raise funds. The group event is simple to put together. Just arrange with a bowling alley to rent a group of lanes, or the entire building, and start soliciting teams. One way to raise funds is to charge an entry fee for each foursome.
Host an AfricAid Dinner- Everyone has to eat and you can use this event to educate your community about the work of AfricAid and the needs of the girls it serve. Locate a venue, send invitations, organize a few speakers and displays, prepare an African meal and decorate the tables. Get sponsors to help cover the costs. Sell tickets to the dinner and have a few items for a silent or live auction.
Do you have a great idea for a fundraiser? Please email us about it (firstname.lastname@example.org) so we can add the it to our list!
Appendix A – Sample Fundraising Letter
I am writing to you because I am so excited about an opportunity I have to support the education of a young girl in Africa, and to learn in a deep, meaningful way about her life.
This opportunity has been made possibly by AfricAid. AfricAid was founded in 2001 to benefit girl’s education in Tanzania. Since then, AfricAid has provided countless scholarships for girls, built classrooms, and sent supplies to many schools in Tanzania. The success stories AfricAid has witnessed are truly inspiring. For example, take one AfricAid-sponsored student who has returned to her home village to become one of Tanzania’s few female math teachers, or another who is working to become the first female doctor from her tribe in all of Tanzania. You can learn more about AfricAid at www.africaid.com.
This year (my group/family/organization/etc) is participating in AfricAid’s exciting new program, the Kisa Project. The Kisa Project is an initiative that directly links families and groups in the U.S. with some of Africa’s brightest young women – “Kisa Scholars.” My group/ family/organization/etc is working hard to raise $2000 over the next two years in order to provide our Kisa Scholar with a school scholarship, enroll her in a two year leadership program, and establish her as a mentor and leader in her community. AfricAid, through the Kisa Program, is taking a unique approach that actually links one of the Kisa Scholars with us so that we can develop a meaningful relationship and, in the process, create a strong bond and share the joys and challenges of each other’s stories through an interactive website. Kisa means “story” in Swahili and, over the next two years, I am going to share my story with “name of your scholar.” (Then go on to share a few details about her—how old, village, tribe etc.) When “name of your scholar” graduates, she will return to her home community and implement vital service and business projects and provide life skills mentoring to other young women.
We have chosen to support girls’ education because it is an investment that does not stop at one individual. Girls’ education has been called the “Ripple Effect” because it is a gift that is shared from one woman to another, from a mother to her children and to their children and from one village to the next. When girls are educated, they are 3 times less likely to contract HIV/AIDS. If an African woman just receives 5 years of education, her child has a 40% BETTER chance of living to age 5. Just one extra year of primary school boosts a girl’s eventual wages by 10-20% and an extra year of secondary school boosts it by 20-25%. And, when a woman earns an income, she will invest 90% of it in their families, while men only reinvest approximately 30-40%. Also, when a girl is educated, she marries latter and has fewer, healthier children. (Sources: Tanzanian Ministry of Education, World Bank, The Girl Effect.)
So, I hope that you will join me in making educational opportunities available for girls in Africa. Over the next two years, we will raise $2000 for “name of your scholar.” We need all the help we can get! We need people to commit to make monthly contributions, yearly contributions or even a one-time contribution to help us reach our goal. Also, we will be hosting events over the next two years that we need participants and volunteers for, so if you are interested please email us at (your email). If you are willing to join with us in our efforts, please mail us a check, made out to AfricAid, with “Kisa Project – (Your Group Name)” in the memo line. Please mail it to (Your address here.)
Thank you for your support and generosity. It will make such a huge and wonderful difference in the lives of so many young girls in Tanzania.
Appendix B – How to Make Mud Bricks
Appendix C – Ugali Recipe
Ugali is a stiff porridge, usually made out of corn, and is the main meal for around 90% of Tanzanians. It is not expensive, and it can be eaten hot or left to cool, then cut into slices and fried. Another way to serve ugali is to make holes in the warm ugali with a small ladle and fill these with soup or meat. Ugali is known as mealie-meal in southern Africa, as sadzo in Zimbabwe, and as banku in West Africa.
1 3/4 pints (1 liter) water, or water and milk to make it creamier
2 ounces (60g) butter or margarine
1 pound (500g) corn flour
Mix half the flour and about a quarter of the water in a bowl with a wooden spoon until it is a smooth paste. Boil the rest of the water with the butter and a pinch of salt, and then add the paste, stirring steadily for at least a minute and bring it back to a boil. Then add the rest of the flour a little at a time while you keep on stirring–you will soon understand how strong Tanzanian cooks must be! Keep going until the mixture has turned into a stiff dough. (You can add a little more flour or a little more water if necessary. The mixture should not stick to the pot.)