Five ways to bring in more income without doing a labor-intensive event

Everyone loves a party.

Trouble is, the booze-food-band-and-photo-booth fetes can be labor intensive, time consuming, and a drain on fundraising budgets. Modern technology provides so many ways to improve our lives from smart watches to self-driving cars -- why not use it to boost fundraising without the need for all the manpower of a traditional event?



Here are five ways to bring in money without a high cost party:

1. Online auctions

An online auction is open to the world. Literally. Online auction hosts have hundreds of thousands of subscribers looking for every item and experience under the sun. All you have to do is put something on the block. Charity Buzz, the premier online charity auction marketplace, has the motto “Raise More. Do Less." They have helped non-profits raise more than $135 million, and the average organization raises $50,000 plus each year.

2. Peer-to-peer fundraising

Peer-to-peer fundraising can be really effective if you have the right group of people. Instead of staff seeking donations, supporters champion the cause and create their own fundraising pages. You task your board with creating their campaign page(s), setting a fundraising goal, and picking a particular cause for which to raise money within the organization.  If ten people raise $1,000 each, you bring in $10,000 without devoting much staff time to the fundraiser. It’s an easy way to add a healthy boost to your bottom line each year.  

3. Universal online campaigns

Take advantage of yearly giving campaigns like Giving Tuesday. You just need good advance planning and strong social media outreach. If you plan your campaign three- six months out and get a team in place, an online campaign can be an easy and effective way to bring in money. Giving Tuesday brought in $45.7 million in 2014. There are several other yearly giving campaigns you can tap into.

4. Matching gifts

Never leave money on the table. Always make sure donors are aware if they have a matching gift campaigns at their places of employment. Ask major donors to match the overall fundraising goal; this way they get twice the bang for their buck. 

5. Ask to the be the cause of choice

Partner with an event already taking place. Search the web to find a fun festival (Eventbrite is a great source!) and call the coordinator. Ask if they would be willing to donate a portion of the proceeds to your cause.  If you can provide volunteer support for the event, that gives you some equity to offer in exchange for the donation and incentive for the organizer to say yes.

Saranah Holmes has a decade of experience in fundraising. She offers consulting services to nonprofits and small businesses/volunteer groups looking to creatively fundraise. Contact her at for details and pricing.