Fundraising ideas, tips and tools

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Looking for fundraising ideas? Have a great idea, but aren’t sure how to promote it? Never fear, we’ve got you covered.

Below are just some of the ideas you can use for planning a fundraising event. We’ve also got tips and tools to help you make your event a success. Just remember, you know best what works for your community.

Resources:

Fundraising Ideas

These are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Have a unique idea that you don't see listed, or have you done one of these? Tell us about it!

Events for youth

Young people are great fundraisers. As children and adolescents learn about humanitarian work and how it's funded by donations, they also learn about self-respect, how to ask for help and show gratitude. Consider involving your young ones with a few of these ideas, or work with their teachers, the PTA or school administration to get everyone in on the fun.

Sporting event Fashion Show Donations for Chores
Parents' Night Out Sell lemonade Concession Stand
Special celebrations

Include "peaceful change" on your wishlist for any occasion, and collect donations in lieu of gifts. You won't miss that toaster when you think of how much you've helped a family turn crisis into opportunity.

Wedding Baby Shower Birthday
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Anniversary Quinceañera
Easy special events

Need to clean out the garage? Have a dinner party coming up?Take a moment to brainstorm upcoming small events you have planned or would like to do, and invite everyone to join you. With a little bit of planning, you can turn just about anything into a fundraiser.

Poker Tournament Fashion Show Board Game Tournament
Marathon/Triathlon Golf/Bowling Tournament Concert or performance
FUNdraising

Sometimes being a little wacky is just what you and your friends need to draw a crowd of support.

Junk Car Smash Barbecue Cook-off Challenge Dodge Ball Tournament
Doggy Kissing Booth "No Talent" show Male Beauty Contest
At work

As a business that fundraises, you will benefit from the morale boost and show your company's commitment to giving back. Whether you're a business owner or a conscientious employee who wants to make a suggestion, try these ideas around the office.

Note: In addition to generating donations at events, many employers match funds raised by their employees. Increasing numbers of companies are also establishing employer-sponsored payroll-deduction giving programs. Please contact your leadership team or HR representative to explore this great opportunity to make your donations go even further.

Jeans Day Holiday Party Alternative Gift Fair**
Bake Sale Set out donation envelopes A special Product/Service Offering*
A special product/service offering*

*Businesses, nonprofits and individuals alike are selling items and services to empower communties by directing proceeds to Mercy Corps. “Cause marketing” partnerships generate much needed funds for our programs. In order to maintain positive and compliant cause marketing relationships, Mercy Corps follows Better Business Bureau standards and state laws. Please read our cause marketing guidelines carefully.

At your place of worship

Share the spirit of giving with your congregation, and celebrate helping the brave men, women and children in the world's toughest places.

"Holiday Shopping" Child Care A special Offering for Mercy Corps
Mission Giving/Special Giving Alternative gift fair

Fundraising tips

Here are some handy tips to help you maximize your online fundraising efforts:

1. Use social media

  • Share a link to your fundraising page so friends can contribute and post updates as you get closer to your campaign goal.
  • Change your profile picture or cover photo to the Mercy Corps logo. This is available for download on our Materials and Messages page.
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for stories to share how Mercy Corps helps people facing the world’s toughest challenges.

2. Email, email, email!

  • Carefully select a list of recipients to email, asking them to contribute to your campaign. Think of friends, relatives, colleagues, classmates or others who typically do not see your social media activity.
  • Don’t be shy! If you’re emailing people you haven’t spoken with in a while, that’s OK! They’re likely happy to hear from you anyway! Remember you aren’t asking for a gift. You’re asking people to help inspire peaceful change.
  • Change your email signature to include a link to your fundraising page.
  • After a couple of weeks have passed, it’s OK to send a reminder. (Good intentions need a helping hand!)

3. Make your message heartfelt and personal
“Passion Persuades” – Anita Roddick

  • Whether you are promoting your fundraiser via email, social media or another way, tell your community why you care and why the need is urgent. Share why you decided to fundraise and why you are passionate about the cause.
  • Edit our templates and make them personal. You want your friends to know why you’ve chosen to support Mercy Corps.
  • In emails and on your social media profiles, share posts and articles that resonate with you.
  • Need help finding images or videos? Let us know!

4. Donate to your own campaign

  • Kick off the giving by making a personal donation of any amount to show just how much you care. This seed money for your campaign shows that your efforts are legitimate and communicates your ambition.
  • Any amount will show your commitment, but do keep in mind your gift sets a standard for visitors. Consider how many people you think will give towards your goal and remember: smaller gifts add up.

5. Thank your contributors!

  • This is the most important step! We couldn’t do the work we do without the help of those who give to Mercy Corps. We will be thanking them also, but let them know you appreciate their support of your effort.
  • You can thank donors by logging into your page and clicking “Thank” under their donation. There’s even a thank you email written, just add any personal note you’d like and click send!
  • Post a shout out to donors who have made a contribution on social media. This makes them feel appreciated for making an impact and reminds others to do the same.

6. Submit check and cash donations (See below for some useful tools!)

  • We can only accept credit cards or checks made out to “Mercy Corps.” For security purposes: please convert any cash donations to check or money order before mailing.
  • It helps us to keep administrative costs down if all donations are sent with the Fundraising Tracking Form (PDF or Excel file). Please complete the form with your first and last name (and the title of your fundraising page if applicable).
  • Donations submitted without a full name and address are considered “anonymous” and the donor will not receive a receipt. (For example: If you’ve collected cash donations, we’ll need donor names on the tracking form in order to mail a receipt.)
  • Timing matters! Supporters appreciate timely receipts, so please submit donations as quickly as possible. If you expect more donations to trickle in, please submit what you have now and send the rest later.
    • Please send donations and the form to:
      Mercy Corps
      Attn: Community Fundraising Team
      45 SW Ankeny Street
      Portland, OR 97204

Note: Mercy Corps does not accept and cannot receipt non-monetary gifts such as clothing, food or any type of service. Please do not ship items for donation to this address.

Fundraising Tools

Whether you’re planning a special event to fundraise for Mercy Corps, or are using a Mercy Corps Personal Fundraising Page to collect donations, we’ve got all the materials you need to meet your goal.

The items on this page help you share our work around the globe and share your efforts with friends, family and colleagues.

Talking points
Digital materials
Donation handling
Available by request

Talking points

Need help fundraising?