Raising money for non-profit causes is a time-honored tradition. Creative ideas -- especially with the advent of the Internet -- can challenge teenagers and motivate them to participate in a group effort to raise funds. Whether online or offline, you can dream up concepts that appeal to a wide variety of individuals, so rallying the troops may be a lot easier with the numerous opportunities available today that were not possible as recently as a decade ago.
Teenagers can post an invitation on social media sites, such as Facebook or Twitter, asking their contacts to donate a small amount to their particular cause, and ask them to forward it to all of their own contacts as well. If each person in the group uses this method, it will multiply exponentially. Let them know how important the cause is by saying something like, “Please help us! Our physical education program will be defunct if we don’t raise $3,000 by the end of the school year. Just a few dollars will help.” Provide an easy way to donate, such as through Paypal or GoFundMe. Both are easy to set up. While donations made through Paypal are automatically posted to the account, GoFundMe requires a withdrawal request. To heighten interest, include a thermometer showing progress and letting donors know how close they are to their goal.
Most people will not bend down to pick up a penny. That’s how insignificant it is to them, so asking for their pennies should be an easy bet. Set up jars around the school campus and ask people to toss in their pennies. Making it a contest among homerooms may be even more successful and a lot more exciting. Run the fundraiser for a limited number of days with each homeroom collecting pennies. The amounts of any coins placed in the jars other than pennies will be deducted from the total. To push it up a notch, have your team members place other coins in other classes’ containers, lowering their points. For example, placing quarters or nickels in other containers will reduce their points by the amount of those other coins. Each day the pennies are counted and the classroom with the most pennies will be awarded the chosen prize -- perhaps a trophy.
Having a yard sale is an old idea, but still practical, taken to a new level. Target your audience and choose the type of items you are going to sell based on the target. Everyone in the group should be responsible for collecting items that will attract the intended market. Advertise aggressively through flyers, social contacts and e-vites. Place flyers in areas where your audience is likely to frequent. If you are selling embellished, vintage jeans, place flyers at malls, parks and schools. Create a colorful and appropriate e-vite and send to all contacts of each group member letting them know the types of articles you will be selling. Jazz up your yard on the day of the sale by playing music, flying banners and clearly labeling merchandise that is organized and easily accessible.
Pump It Up
Ask a local service station owner if your group can collect donations by volunteering to pump gas and clean windshields for a day or a weekend. Advertise with flyers and signs and through social media. On the day of the event, post members at strategic corners directing traffic to the service station with signs in large letters stating the reason for the donations. You might say something like, “Help Save our Library. Let us pump your gas.” The service stations benefit with increased business; the teens raise the money they need.