Fund Raising Ideas for 501C3 Non-Profit Organizations

by Jane Meggitt ; Updated September 26, 2017
Hold a bike-a-thon for charity.

Charities operating as non-profit 501(c)3 organizations under the Internal Revenue tax code often need to raise money to support their efforts. Contributions to 501(c)3 organizations are tax-deductible. Since non-profits vary in scope and size, a suitable fundraiser for one may be more time, money and effort than another can manage, but there are basic fundraisers that most 501(c)3s can host with the aid of volunteers. Remember it is always important to showcase the charity's mission.

Auctions

Non-profits can hold a silent auction or tricky tray, also known as a Chinese auction, in conjunction with a lunch or dinner. Ask local businesses to donate items. For the silent auction, display items on tables during the event. In front of each item is a paper with a minimum bid listed. Guest write their bid on it, and the charity can decide bid increments. At the end of the event, the highest bidder wins each item. For the tricky tray, guests purchase a certain number of tickets for a fixed amount and put the tickets in bags or baskets in front of each desired item. Thus, they can spread tickets around for a chance of winning particular items or put the tickets in one or two baskets to increase odds of winning. At the end of the event, tickets are drawn for winners.

Walk or Bike-A-Thons

Get some exercise and help out a good cause. That's the purpose of a walk or bike-a-thon. Participants ask for sponsors to donate a certain amount for each mile they walk or bike. If they have 10 sponsors pledging $10 a mile, and the participants walks 5 miles, that's $500 earned by one person for for the charity. Even 20 sponsors at $1 per mile will earn $100.

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Annual Campaigns

For many non-profits, a primary way of raising funds is through an annual campaign. Usually this takes the form of a newsletter or formal letter with information about what the program or organization has done over the past year, and the goals for the following year. Many organizations also offer memberships in conjunction with the annual campaign. Set specific monetary amounts for platinum, gold or silver donations or memberships, along with a lesser amount for regular memberships. Depending on the size of the charity, larger donations may include a complimentary item, such a T-shirt, mug or other item reflecting the organization's mission. Membership may involve whatever the charity can comfortably do, from special invitations to events or tours of a facility, to receiving the newsletter. Encourage those who can't join at a certain level to contribute whatever they can. Collect email addresses on the donation form to keep donors up-to-date on activities and possibly ask them for later contributions for specific purposes.

Sales

Smaller non-profits can rely on fund raising stand-bys like bake sales, garage sales or specialty sales relating to the charity's mission and function. For example, a non-profit equine rescue might hold a used tack sale, and a library could host a book sale. Organizations can order merchandise with its logo on the items and sell it in conjunction with other sales.

Services

Volunteers can raise money for non-profits by offering services in exchange for contributions. Popular events include car washes, gift wrapping or leaf raking. Charities can link services to their focus, such as an animal shelter holding a dog wash.

About the Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

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