Quacking for the Cause

The San Diego Blood Bank found a creative way to raise money when it launched the first annual "Barona's $1,000,000 Quacker Dash" in 2004. The Quacker Dash involves releasing numbered rubber ducks into a designated waterway to see whose duck can "swim" the fastest. The 2009 Quacker Dash raised almost $51,000 for the blood bank [source: San Diego Blood Bank].

Fundraising Ideas for Non-Profit Organizations

Nonprofit organizations rely on money given by others to support their goals. The key to fundraising is to show these people exactly what they are giving money for and to make it fun for them. It helps to have some kind of "reward" for the donors. When money is tight, donors are more likely to pitch in if they're getting something in return.

You've probably seen groups of teenagers in swimsuits washing cars on a hot summer day to raise money for their high school sports team. You can build on this concept by coming up with simple ways to raise funds. You can sell a variety of products, including candy bars, cookie dough, magazine subscriptions, lottery scratch cards, restaurant gift cards and lollipops.

If you're looking to raise a large amount of funds for a particular project, you'll need more than a little candy. In this case, you can throw fundraising events to get the attention of large groups of donors. You can get local businesses to donate free items for an auction. You can host raffles, parties or sales. There are endless ideas for creative events, such as miniature golf tournaments, dance-a-thons, fashion shows and cook-offs. Brainstorm creative ways to get people's attention and have fun. Think about the needs and wants of your local community, and set your sights on what will make them pitch in for your cause.

If fundraisers aren't your thing, you can apply for local and national grants. Read on to learn about grants for nonprofit organizations.