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12 Good Inexpensive Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. While banquets and fancy cocktail parties can raise quite a bit of money, these events are not always an option for every organization. There are plenty of inexpensive fundraising ideas that can generate a great profit without costing your organization a fortune.

Ask for Donations

When raising money for a school, non-profit or charity, sometimes the simplest idea is the most effective. Asking for donations may sound obvious, but oftentimes organizations are reluctant to do so. Simply have your committee sit down and start making some calls. If you have a list, you can send a letter in the mail or through email. Explain why you need a donation and why it is urgent. This is the least expensive way to raise money, and it is often very effective.

50/50 Raffle

A 50/50 raffle is one of the least expensive ways to raise money, and typically raises quite a bit of money. With this fundraiser, 50 percent of the proceeds go to the winner and 50 percent will go to your organization. Aside from the cost of the roll of raffle tickets, this idea will cost your organization nothing. Just make sure that you check with your state’s regulations as a 50/50 raffle may be considered gaming. All that will be required in this case is a simple permit, which is easy to obtain.

Host a Workshop

Use the skills and talents of your committee to host a workshop, and have members host the event. If you cannot secure a discount or donation for the venue, you may consider hosting the workshop in a committee member’s home or in your organization’s office. This workshop can be on anything from finances to crafting, personal organization or self-motivation. Charge a small admission fee and ask for donations.

Recycling Cans

This fundraising idea will cost you nothing more than your time. Have members of your committee collect cans from the community and take them to your local recycler to earn money. You can host a can drive, or you can have committee members pick up cans from local parks. With the latter idea, you are not only helping raise money for your organization, but helping to clean up the environment as well.


Host a BINGO night and charge an admission fee. Reach out to local venders to secure some great prizes for the event. Find a local venue that would be willing to donate space or offer it to your organization at a discounted rate. To raise even more money, you can sell refreshments during the event.

Buy a Meal

Have your committee members and volunteers cook and donate meals to sell. Take orders from members of the community and deliver the meals to their homes. Home-cooked meals are inexpensive, and community members will appreciate not having to cook for one evening.

Text-It Donations

There are several services that allow organizations to accept donations via text message. This is a quick and simple way to raise money, but will require some advertising on your part. Social media, local newspapers and flyers are great ways to spread the word about your “text-it” campaign.


Have members of your committee put their services up for “hire.” Donors can use the services of volunteers to take care of odd jobs or run errands for them. With enough promotion, this type of fundraiser can easily generate a big profit.

Gas Attendant

Get in touch with a local gas station to have volunteers and committee members serve as gas station attendants for the day. Each volunteer will pump gas and clean windshields for a donation. This idea will cost you nothing but time and is easy to advertise.

Rummage Sale

Rummage sales are one of the least expensive and most profitable fundraisers out there. Collect used items that members of the community no longer want or need. Sell the items in a rummage sale at the home of one of your volunteers. Advertise the sale in the local newspaper and place signs directing traffic to your sale. Rummage sales can generate thousands of dollars with ease providing you have great items to sell.


Have volunteers submit their family’s best recipes and create a cookbook with these recipes. Printing services are relatively inexpensive, and you can easily resell the books for $10 to $20 each. People love community and family recipes, so you should have no problem selling your books.

Reverse Raffle

The reverse raffle is a twist on the traditional raffle idea. Instead of a great prize, the winner of the raffle will have to do something embarrassing. Each guest will receive a free raffle ticket, but they must “sell” back their ticket in order to avoid having their name drawn. You can choose to set a flat fee for the sellback price, or you can have the price increase over time.

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