Check out these fun ideas for raising money for your and your group to attend We Will!
try one or two…or ten!
Based off the TV show Storage Wars, the basic premise of this fundraiser is to auction off items out of the trunks of cars! Anyone who wants to participate will fill their trunk with items, placing them in bags, containers, and/or in plain sight. The participating cars will line up with their trunks open; everyone who is “shopping” will then walk around and survey the goods – but they can only look, not touch (preserving the mystery of items enclosed in bags/boxes). Your live auctioneer will go car to car, auctioning off each until they’ve been sold (100% of the money going to the fundraiser). The highest bidders will then collect the items they won, open them, and see what they got!
- You may consider creating clear parameters/guidelines to what fills each trunk, such as, ‘contents must be worth at least $20/be something you yourself wouldn’t mind winning.’ Ensuring that the winners are not gifted with junk/useless items will only help your event, and your corps members will have had so much fun, this fundraiser will be in demand in the future.
- Be creative! You don’t have to completely fill a trunk; a car or two with one solitary item, hidden in a bag, sitting on the floor of the trunk will intrigue people. Mystery = good.
- Consider allowing people to work in pairs/groups to fill a trunk. Doing it alone can be intimidating and a lot of work. Maybe your youth group would like to ‘sponsor’ a trunk, or maybe there’s someone who wants to participate but doesn’t have a car – yay teamwork!
- Make sure you not only have trunks to sell, but shoppers to buy them!
In the age of Instagram and selfie sticks, it’s safe to say most everyone loves having their picture taken! Consider organizing a special photo day for members of your corps and community. Hire a professional photographer or ask a friend of a friend who has a nice camera – and then a pick a theme and collect costume items! Next, decide how much you want to charge, when you want to schedule it, and if you want to offer sessions (appointments) or walk-ins only.
- Theme ideas: Wild West, Victorian, Clowns, Famous People, Superheroes, Disney, Movies, etc. etc. Even simple outdoor portraits would be popular!
- Consider editing the photos before giving them to the participants (the extra touch goes a long way)!
- Do you have a corps directory? If not, consider doing one as your fundraiser! Scrap the theme ideas and instead take nice pictures of your corps members and accept donations in lieu of mandatory payment. That way, you won’t be alienating anyone from the directory who couldn’t afford to pay.
- If you don’t want to make a traditional directory, print the photos individually and tack them on a bulletin board in the corps and make that your ‘Corps Family’ board!
- It’s easy for the photo shoot to fall on one person’s shoulders; if several women from your corps wish to attend We Will and hope to benefit from the fundraiser, find a way that they can all participate. Assign someone to ‘staging’ (helping families pose, moving hair out of faces, etc), someone to make kids smile for the camera, someone to manage the families waiting and direct them when it’s their turn for photos; ask another woman to help in getting the photos to the families after the shoot, and a few more to help set up and tear down costumes and backdrops/decorations.
If you’re a part of the Army, you know we all love to eat. We don’t often need an excuse, but a Cook Off fundraiser is a really, really good one. So should you choose this fundraiser, start off by picking the theme. Is it a chili cook off? A soup cook off? A crock off? What about a casserole, salad, or dessert cook off? So many delicious options…
Next, decide which day you’ll have it on and then start looking for chefs! Create a sign up sheet and give yourself plenty of time for people to hear about the event and get their name down. Set a goal for participants based on how many people you think will come (such as 10 participants for 60 people), so you’re ensured you won’t run out of food.
This is a competition, so you’ll need to prepare for a ‘tasting’ round where everyone tries small samples of each dish; you will then need to create a system for voting, and then allow time for the final round, where everyone gets to go back up to the food tables to “dig in.” Don’t forget you’ll be awarding prizes to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners (so come up with something)! You’ll also want to create signs for each chili dish to help in the voting round.
Start a shopping list. If corps members are providing the main dish, you’ll need to cover things like salad, drinks, toppings cups, plates, bowls, silverware, dessert, etc. Then determine if you’ll sell tickets or charge people at the door to make money.
- Ask people to name their dish, put it on the dish’s sign, and then award the one ‘Most Creatively Named!’ Makes for a fun addition!
I don’t care what anyone says – a good bake sale will never get old and it makes for a great fundraiser!
Spend a day with your ladies baking cookies, cakes, etc. Focus on making the ‘classics’ or take suggestions from corps members as to what to make, including vegan or gluten free treats! Set up a table (get permission first) at a time and place where there will be tons of people around (youth night, corps dinner, etc) and sell the items you baked. Make sure you advertise the prices clearly, as well as what the fundraiser is for.
- Consider taking orders in addition to selling the treats from a table
- Doing a bake sale at your Cook Off dinner, Theme Dinner, or Garage Sale ‘kills two birds with one stone’
Pick a Number
Level of Difficulty: 1/10
Collect envelopes and number them from 1 to 30 (or any other number). Place the envelopes on a table in a central location or tape them to a wall (with permission!). Encourage corps members to take one and return it with the corresponding money inside (ie, envelope #3 would come back with $3, envelope #20 would have $20). This technique allows people to donate what they feel comfortable donating, and in a way that doesn’t inconvenience them.
- Consider spending time decorating the envelopes, to make the whole fundraiser more visually appealing
- Put little preemptive ‘Thank You” notes in the envelopes, or informational cards about We Will, so the person can read more about what they’re donating to. You could even place a request inside the envelopes thanking them not only for their donation, but also asking them to pray for something specific in regards to We Will (safe travel, come back encouraged, make friends, etc)
Picnic Basket Auction
Okay, you caught me. I stole this idea from Season 2 of Gilmore Girls. But why is no one doing this? Why isn’t it a thing? I think it’s awesome.
A picnic basket auction is similar to the Trunk Wars fundraiser, in that someone provides something, and you bid on it not knowing what’s inside. In the show Gilmore Girls, the winner of the basket gets to take their prize and immediately go off to enjoy the meal inside with the person who created it (not always knowing who beforehand).
Decide a date and time (perhaps in tandem with another corps event) and create a sign up sheet. Set parameters, such as what to include, what not to include, amount of food, etc. Encourage participants to have fun decorating the outside of their baskets (or not, if they so wish) and to keep who did what basket a secret!
Preside over the auction and sell off one basket at a time. Once the winners have surrendered their money, they can then take the basket and will head off for a ‘picnic’ with the basket’s chef. This is a great way for different people to interact and spend time with someone they may not have otherwise!
- Create identifying labels for the baskets that will help people with dietary restrictions decide which they want to vote for (such as: vegetarian, contains peanuts, etc).
- Decide if you want to have an even amount of bidders vs chefs, so that no one is left without a meal at the end of the auction
- Head to your local family store to hunt down some baskets!
- Create a space for people to picnic, setting up tables or providing blankets if they want to go outside.
Outdoor Movie Night
Don’t have the time or help to pull off some of these fundraiser ideas? Here’s a low key, low cost option: host an outdoor movie night at your corps!
Decide on a family friendly movie, then pick a date and time for the event. Advertise it in your Sunday bulletins, on Facebook, and throughout the community should you choose. Determine where you want to set up the movie at and (if you’re outside) make sure the noise isn’t an issue with any neighbors. If you don’t have a movie screen, there are plenty of cheap DIY options online!
NOTE: Due to copyright law, you can’t charge for tickets, but you can take donations!
- Sell concessions for a little bit of extra money! (See: Bake Sale)
- Plan some activities for the early birds (silent auction, kids games, dunk tank)!
- Provide the kids with glow sticks
Whether you have a handful of kids or just yourself to get ready in the morning, making it to church on Sundays can be a hectic experience! Half the people may show up grouchy from lack of caffeine, the other half grumbling about a missed breakfast — so here’s your chance to step in with a solution — I mean, fundraiser!
(With your Corps Officer’s approval) Set up a small table somewhere in the corps (foyer, hallway) and sell coffee and donuts each Sunday before church. Create set prices for each or accept donations, and don’t forget to advertise what you’re fundraising for. Also, make sure the donuts (and coffee!) are fresh each week, and that you’re providing napkins, spoons, creamer, stirrers, and all the little necessities.
- Pull up some available chairs for people to sit in and create a little area for fellowship
If you like the idea of a fundraiser meal, but think you’ll struggle getting enough volunteers to bring food, consider hosting a dinner night (food provided by you) at the corps. Pick a theme such as Mexican Fiesta, Spud Night, Pancake or Omelet breakfast, Spaghetti, etc. Determine the best date and time for the event, as well as ticket price and then start advertising! Encourage people to buy their tickets beforehand so you have an idea of how many people to expect. Also, cooking for a large crowd is a lot of work so ensure that you have enough hands to help you with set up, decorating, cooking, serving, cleaning up, taking money at the door, etc.
- Consider making this an ‘adult’ dinner! Arrange caretakers, activities and dinner for the kids in another part of the building.
- KARAOKE! To liven up the evening, get a karaoke machine and allow people to perform. Fun option: have people pay $0.50 to ‘nominate’ a specific person to sing, and if that person refuses, they then have to pay $1.00 to get out of it.
With your corps officer’s approval, plan a garage sale at church! Ask members of your corps to donate old/unused items and then arrange helpers to assist in pricing, setting up, and the actual sale of said items. Make sure to make the most of your advertising opportunities: post on Craigslist and Facebook, place an ad in the newspaper, hang up flyers, and get signs out on the roads.
- Ask your local Family Store if they would consider donating items for your fundraiser
- Ask any gifted crafters/DIY-ers to donate a few of their handmade items for sale
- Set up a table to sell baked goods (See: Bake Sale)