101 Fundraising Activities
1. Create Your Cure Angelman Now (CAN) Fundraising Page
Your CAN page allows family members, friends and colleagues to give quickly, easily, and securely to FAST research. You won’t be limited by distance. You can raise money across the country and around the world.
2. All in the Family
Start your fundraising efforts with family and friends. It’s as simple as having them over for dinner, a picnic or coffee. Take time to explain the basics about Angelman syndrome, how it affects your loved one, and how close we are to a cure. Then, invite them to brainstorm ways to raise money with you, using this list and your own creativity. Ask if they would make a financial contribution themselves to get the ball rolling.
3. Skip the Gift
Rather than expect another birthday tie or holiday sweater, suggest your family and/or friends honor you or someone close to them with a contribution to FAST. You could design recognition cards that they could present to the person they are honoring as a way to acknowledge that a gift was made on their behalf. Celebrate this way for anniversaries, birthdays, baby arrivals, Christmas/Chanukah, graduations, weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, Mother’s/Father’s Day, reunions, retirements, or memorials and tributes.
4. Facebook It
Like and share the FAST Facebook page. Ask others to spread the word.
5. Throw a Party with Purpose
Everyone likes an excuse to have a good time. Host a themed party, and dream up ways that people can contribute. Have guests make a donation to attend. Create themed games or activities that your guests can pay to play. The party possibilities are endless. Be sure to offer guests information about AS, and give them some information they can take with them about making additional contributions to FAST on their own. Visit our Fundraising Tools page.
6. Throw a Virtual Party.
Be creative. Pick a theme, and invent ways for your virtual guests to participate. How about a Virtual Garden Party? Send invitations with a packet of seeds, suggesting that by participating, your guest is planting seeds for a cure. Include a card that gives your virtual guests instructions about how to make an online or mailed donation to FAST.
7. Bake Up a Contribution
Bake sales are time-honored ways to raise money for a cause. Look for a well-traveled outlet for your goodies. Bank and Credit Union lobbies are good sites, as well as local farmers markets, schools and churches, or athletic venues.
8. Team Up for Concessions
Many large entertainment and athletic venues look for charitable organizations to run their concession stands. Your team does the work, and FAST gets a percentage of the day’s sales. Many venues search for concession teams at the start of the calendar year or the athletic season. Search for a place in your area.
9. Dining for Donations
Many fast food and casual restaurants offer charitable organizations a percentage of their sales during a mid-week dinner hour. See what’s possible in your area.
10. Sporting Tournaments and Athletic Events
Competition inspires many to raise money for a cause. While a 5K walk/run is a typical fundraising event that you might organize, let your creativity grow something extraordinary. Live near a beach? How about a volleyball tournament? Know a bunch of wild and crazy sports-lovers? How about a human foosball tournament? Teams pay entry fees and could compete in the other mini-competitions you build into the tournament to raise additional dollars for FAST.
11. Charitable Shopping
Amazon Smile is one popular site that invites online shoppers to select a charitable organization to benefit from your online purchases. Check out other charitable rewards programs at department and grocery stores that dedicate a portion of their proceeds to charity.
12. Get the Match
You make the donation and your corporation might match it. Check to see if your employer has an employee matching gifts program. This is a quick and easy way for you (and your network of friends and family) to multiply your donation to FAST.
13. Silent Auctions
Do you know people who are good at getting businesses to offer their goods for charity? Often, business owners will donate an item – bicycle, snow blower, picnic table – to a charitable organization to get the tax write-off while benefiting the organization. Find a venue where you can host it. Find a team to scour the city for possible items. Then, promote the auction, and send out invitations to a targeted group of would-be donors.
14. Turn Old to Gold
Everyone has stuff they no longer need or want that make perfect white elephant or rummage sale items. Gather family and friends for a giant rummage sale. Promote the fact that 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to FAST. This will entice people to donate their old stuff, and it will make shoppers feel good about purchasing from your yard sale.
15. It’s Not Trivial
Organize a trivia night competition. Get a local bar to open their space. Find someone to donate a suitable prize for a team of 2-4 people. Invite people to sign up their teams with an entry fee. During the event, work in other games and activities that boost the fundraising pot.
16. Can You Spell That?
Work with the local library to host a spelling bee. Make it a competition among area businesses whose teams must pay an entry fee to participate. Find sponsors and donors to secure prizes and add to your proceeds.
Who doesn’t like to swing a ball at a bunch of pins? Organize a Bowl-a-thon. Ask a local alley to host it, and find some sponsors who will gift money to FAST and donate prizes. Bowlers can raise money individually, or you can make it a team competition.
18. Penny Wars
Children are often inspired to help other children. Check with your local school to see if school leaders will entertain the idea of a “Penny War” to raise money for AS research. Ask them to choose a week or month when classes compete to raise the most change for FAST. Find a local pizza, hot dog or ice cream shop to reward the top class with lunch or a treat.
19. Casual Days
What would you pay to wear jeans to work? Find out if your employer will dedicate a workday as Casual or Jeans Day. Employees donate money to FAST in order to leave the dress suits at home that day.
20. Chores for Charity
Recruit friends and family members to provide their time and skills in exchange for donations. Determine the types of services you are willing to offer, such as cleaning, small repairs and yard work. Then, assign a minimum donation value for each task. Offer your services to community members and small businesses in exchange for a donation.
21. Get Your Art On
Do you have an abundance of sand at a nearby beach or unending drifts of snow in the winter? Could blocks of ice last days during the winter in your neighborhood? Organize a sculpting event. There are teams that travel the country doing this, too! Sand castle, snow sculpture and ice carving competitions are ways to combine artistry, spectators and FAST. Sculpting teams pay entry fees and the general public will come to watch. Have information about AS available with areas where spectators can make a contribution.
22. The Corporate Challenge
Perhaps you’ve seen “Ninja Warriors” or have been inspired by the Olympic Games. Organize the businesses in your community to participate in a Corporate Challenge in the name of charity. Teams compete for a trophy and bragging rights. Entry fees and sponsorships help raise money for FAST.
23. Backyard Carnival
Create a children’s carnival in your backyard, school or church to raise AS research money. Kids’ games, played for $1 with dollar-store prizes, are an easy way to have your children participate in the effort.
24. Coffee with the Author
Ask your librarian who the local or statewide authors are near your community and if you can get their contact information. Invite them to “Coffee with the Author,” where they will talk a little about themselves and their book, and then offer to autograph their work for a contribution to FAST. Charge admission to the event.
25. Car Show
Host a car show. Spotlight sports cars, antiques or just cool rides – you decide. Collectors bring their hot rods for a fee. You organize ancillary ways to drive up your fundraising dollars by selling refreshments, holding raffles or offering entertainment.
26. “Buy Local” Market
Hitch onto the idea of supporting your local food producers by hosting a “Buy Local Market” for charity. Producers buy booth space, which is how you make your money. Add concessions sales or other activities to increase your results.
27. Greeting Cards
Children’s art can make wonderful greeting cards. Have the kids in your life create holiday scenes, birthday drawings and other seasonal art. Scan it. Print them on blank greeting cards available at local craft shops. Include information on the back about AS and FAST, along with the FAST website address. Package an assortment with some ribbon or twine, and then find an outlet. During the holiday season, many organizations host craft fairs. Take out a booth and sell your beautiful and unique creations. Make sure to direct patrons to the FAST website, where they can make direct contributions as well.
28. Craft Fairs
There is something special about hand-made items, particularly before the holiday season. If there aren’t any already in your area, create a craft fair and invite area crafters and artists to take out a booth. Booth sales, concessions and any other activity you create around the fair bring in money for FAST.
29. Movie Night
Host a family movie night. Show a favorite or classic on a big screen for admission. Sell popcorn and other treats. Be creative, host it under the stars, at a campground or in an unusual place that will draw people.
30. Everyone Can Sing
Harness that pursuit of stardom that lies deep within so many people, and host a citywide Idol competition or karaoke night.
31. Date Night Auction
Find 10 single, local “celebrities” e.g., the mayor, police chief, school principal. Have a Date Night Auction. Attendees bid to win a date. Ask local businesses to donate goods and/or services that make the Date Night package possible, such as dinner and a show. Concessions, raffles and other activities surrounding the event help raise additional money.
32. Wrap it Up
Some larger malls and shopping centers offer gift-wrapping services during the holiday season. Typically, charitable organizations do the wrapping for tips. The mall helps defray the cost of supplies and sees it as a service for its customers. People tip big when they know there is a great charity that will benefit.
33. Celebrity Bartender
Partner with a bar or restaurant to serve cocktails to colleagues, friends and family for a two-hour time period. Arrange to get all tips for the cause and 10 percent of the sales.
34. Parents’ Night Out
Offer to babysit for your friends for a set donation. They enjoy a night out while supporting FAST. This is another great way to involve kids.
You can raise a lot of money with a little awareness and the tools for people to contribute. Search out one of the many crowdfunding sites that exist. Post a story and photo about your child and the efforts to find a cure for AS. Then, invite as many people as possible to visit the site and share the page.
36. Adult Prom
How many people either didn’t attend their own prom or would love to revisit that magical night? Make it more fun by adopting an era e.g., 80’s or 90’s. Find a band or DJ to donate music services and a venue to donate the space. Of course, participants will pay to attend. Then, build all kinds of prom activities into your evening that give people even more reason to donate – classic cocktails for an extra charge, photo booth, ice cream sodas, karaoke. The ideas are endless.
37. Family Field Day
Create a way for families to join the fundraising effort together. Have a family field day at a park. Families pay an entrance fee, as well as get pledges from supporters who think they will win the event by scoring the most points. Give away trophies, and make it fun! Find the family-friendly, old-fashioned activities that will bring camaraderie to the event like the bat spin relay and tricycle or gunny sack races. Sell concessions, have a raffle and work in other ancillary activities that can raise extra money through the event.
38. United Way Contribution
If your company participates in the annual United Way campaign, you can choose to contribute through payroll deduction and stipulate a charity to support. Select FAST.
39. Talent Show
Host a talent show. Find a variety of people with artistic skills, and give them the opportunity to show them off. Charge an entry fee for the talent and admission for show-goers. Sell concessions and work in other activities to build your fundraising results.
40. Singing Valentines or Valentine Serenades
If you know people who can sing or play an instrument, round them up to deliver a singing Valentine or Valentine serenade on February 14. The artists donate their services. You advertise the service for a set donation. You could do the same with Christmas caroling.
41. Star-Studded Hike
Talk with your local parks ranger or seek out a local astronomy group to see if they will conduct a stargazing hike as a fundraiser.
42. It’s in the Cards
Provide the makings for a giant card party. People gather their own friends and family to play cards. They pay a fee, and you provide the space. Boost your fundraising through concessions and beverage sales, raffles and other activities.
43. Rubber Duck Race
If you live near a river or stream, you can use that natural venue for a rubber duck race. People purchase the duck, each with a distinctive number, and the ducks are dropped into the river at a starting point. The first duck to cross the finish line wins.
44. Monopoly Tournament
Organize a tournament around the classic game. Participants pay a fee and then play for a set time. You have multiple games going simultaneously. At the end of the time, see who has amassed the most money and property. Give away donated prizes. Raise your proceeds by selling concessions or pairing the game with dinner. Have raffles and other activities surrounding the games.
45. Sing Off
School, church and civic choirs love to perform. Organize a sing-off where groups audition for a spot (and pay a fee to compete, of course). Then bring the most popular groups to the big day, when an audience can select the top three performance groups. Sell concessions, have raffles and think of creative things to sell at the event to encourage audience participation.
Find a local salon or cosmetology school to host a day of haircuts with all proceeds going to FAST.
47. Block Party
Ask your neighbors to join you in a block party, and advertise it around the neighborhood. Have a DJ or band donate their musical services and include carnival games, activities and food sales to raise money.
48. Pet Pictures
Find a local photographer who will volunteer a day to take photos of people’s pets at a “pet sitting” with all proceeds going to FAST.
49. Plant Sales
Do you have a bunch of perennials that need thinning? Perhaps you have a green thumb and space to grow a vegetable garden. Sell your plants (and/or veggies) at a homegrown farm stand (or at a booth at your local farmers market). Donate the proceeds to FAST.
50. Book Bash
How many books are crowding your shelves? Have your friends and family scour their shelves for books they have read or never got to, and then have a book bash sale.
51. Dancing with the Stars
Do a take on the popular TV show by hosting your own local celebrity Dancing with the Stars evening. Charge admission, and add a dinner and silent auction to make the most of the evening. Get celebrity judges to decide the scores, or have the audience decide.
Challenge a classroom of students or talk with the local children’s library to have a Read-a-thon. Set aside a morning or afternoon and see how many pages or books children can read. Have them get pledges per page as a way to raise money for the event.
53. Car Wash
Hosting a car wash is an easy way to make some money. Find the owner of a parking lot with access to water that is willing to have you wash cars on the grounds. Or ask your community car wash if they would donate a percentage of a day’s sales to the cause if you “drive” traffic to their establishment.
54. Home Product Parties
Be the host of a home product party and get the company to donate a percentage of the proceeds to FAST.
Hold a bingo night at a local hall. For a donation, players get bingo cards and a chance to win prizes donated by local businesses. In some states, you could provide cash prizes with a license for a charitable organization. Provide concessions to boost your proceeds.
56. Sponsor a Day of Research
Sponsor a researcher’s time toward finding a cure. Use your CAN page to get support. Post a calendar showing how many days of the year the donors have sponsored for research.
57. Pancake Breakfast
This breakfast is inexpensive and popular. Host a pancake breakfast. Make it fun with local “celebrity” flippers. Encourage them to show their skills. Invite local groups to provide entertainment.
There are unlimited variations of this – BBQ cook-offs, chili cook-offs, baked potato top-offs. Host a contest. Have the audience vote for their favorites. Charge admission and entry fees. Have a “celebrity bake-off,” and auction the pies or cakes to the highest bidder.
59. Lawn Services
This is a great way to involve adolescents in the effort. Mow lawns, rake leaves or shovel snow with all of the proceeds going to FAST.
60. Tea Time
Round up about five friends. Ask them to invite five of their friends to Tea Time, where they will enjoy tea, coffee and baked goods while you tell the story about AS and your child. Encourage them to be part of the effort to find a cure through donations left in their “tea” bags (get the fancy favor bags you can find at local craft stores). This can be replicated with different friends every year.
61. Pool Party
Ask the local country club or a friend with an in-ground pool to offer the pool for a special pool party day. Depending on your audience – child or adult – create themed activities around the pool that will increase fundraising. Sell hot dogs and lemonade. Have a crazy sunglasses contest or swimming races. Play fun beach music.
62. Curtains Up
See if your local community college or high school theater group would consider staging a production of a popular music or play with one night’s proceeds going to FAST.
63. Brown Bag It
Ask your boss to consider proclaiming a “Brown Bag It Day.” Instead of going to lunch, employees bring their own from home and contribute what they would have spent on lunch that day to FAST.
64. Recycling Funds
Dedicate a day when all of your friends, family and neighbors gather up aluminum and metal that you can turn in at the local recycler for cash for FAST.
65. Tricycle Rodeo
You could create this event for kids or adults, and make it a competition or simply a challenge course. You need a parking lot or large paved space where you could set up fun obstacle challenges – roping a rocking horse, riding through a serpentine course for speed, or any accommodation from a regular rodeo – as long as it’s done on a trike. Charge admission to watch and an entry fee to compete or try it. Get a second-hand store to donate used tricycles, and decorate them for the event. Or, have contestants decorate their own tricycle and have the audience vote for the best one.
66. Cash It In
At the end of each day, put all of your coins into a bank. Do that for a year, and see how much you have to donate to FAST.
67. Fashion Show
Coordinate with a local department store or a college with a fashion design program to host your own fashion show. Surround the show itself with different activities that show-goers could participate in to raise even more funds for the cause.
68. Create a Challenge
A few years ago, the “ice bucket challenge” hit social media raising tremendous amounts of money for ALS. Create something doable and reproducible among your family and friends, and watch it spread. Steer people to the FAST website where they can donate their challenge money.
69. Soup-er Bowl
Coordinate a couple of good cooks to make a variety of soups and breads, and sell them on the day of the Super Bowl.
70. Letter or Email Campaign
Sometimes all it takes is your story to raise money. Compose a letter or email to family, friends, coworkers and others in your life, and ask them to contribute to FAST for a cure. Encourage them to join you in your letter- or email-writing campaign by sending to their networks to expand your reach.
71. Donations for a Day Off
Ask your boss if he or she would donate one paid day off for the winner of a raffle. Coworkers donate a certain amount to have a chance at winning.
72. Lip Syncing Contest
Host a competition for a number of “acts” who lip sync, dance and act like the performer who made the song popular. Surround the event with audience participation. Let them select the winner. Include a silent auction, raffles, photo booth and other activities in the event that will raise extra money.
73. Dollars for Donuts
Ask your boss if he or she will dedicate one day a month as “Dollars for Donuts” day. Get a local bakery to donate donuts. Coworkers must make a contribution to indulge.
74. Volunteer Hours
Some companies offer nonprofits donations for the hours they contribute to your cause as a volunteer. See if any of your volunteers for your fundraiser work for such a company, and make sure you submit the paperwork for the donation to FAST.
75. Recipe Books
Have your friends and family gather treasured recipes and create a book for sale. Enlist the help of your child’s school, your church or civic organization so that you have an outlet for their sale.
76. Angel Hope
Get your best crafter friends and family to make angels – angel ornaments, garden statues or figurines – and start an Angel Hope campaign to raise money. Offer the angels for donation.
77. Pictures with…
Work with a local store or restaurant, church or school to offer pictures with Santa, the Easter Bunny or a local mascot. All you’ll need is a digital camera or phone and a color printer.
78. Wine or Beer Tasting
Find a local wine purveyor or microbrewer that will host a tasting night. FAST gets a percentage of the proceeds. Pair that with a silent auction, raffles or other fundraising efforts.
79. Balloon Sale
Use this idea to augment your main event. Put slips of paper in balloons. Some slips have printed prizes on them, but many are blank. Fill balloons with helium. Sell the balloons for a set price each. Buyers pop them to see if they’ve won.
80. Night with the Oscars
Host an Oscars party at your home, or make it a gala event with lights and red carpet. Charge admission and work in other fun ways to engage your guests in making contributions. Have a competition for those who can predict the Oscar winners at the start of the evening. Have a signature cocktail. Dress as a favorite celebrity or as characters in the top films.
81. Do I Hear $100?
Creatively think about the people in your life. Is there someone who owns a condo or home in a prime vacation spot willing to donate a week for a cause? How about an artist or author who would donate a piece of work? Find a few really marvelous items for a live auction. Combine the auction idea with a drink and appetizers event, and voila! You have a live auction.
82. Business for a Day
Think about the businesses that you frequent or with whom you have a relationship. Would they be willing to donate a percentage of their profits from one day toward FAST? Heighten their enthusiasm by volunteering to drop promotional materials around the neighborhood or post flyers about the event to drive traffic to their establishment that day.
83. Cruise for a Cure
Do you know someone with a sizable boat who would be willing to offer boat cruises to raise money? Dedicate a day or a weekend to do boat tours of a lake, river or ocean. Or contact local cruise companies to see if they’d consider a FAST Tour day, where they’d donate proceeds to our cause. Charge a suggested donation.
84. Sporting Event
Professional sports teams sometimes offer discounted group tickets, with a portion of the sales returned to the organization that hosts the event. Check your area Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League or US Soccer team for possibilities.
85. Tax Return Drive
Talk with a local tax preparer about the possibility of hosting a “give back” event at their office during tax season. Prepare flyers and a display that encourages their customers to donate a portion of their tax returns to FAST. They will benefit at the end of next tax season when they can write-off their donation.
86. Smell the Roses
Are there about a half-dozen gorgeous flower gardens and yards in your community worth stopping to admire? Check with the local university extension or county master gardeners’ clubs to enlist their help and attention. Co-host a special garden tour and master gardener talks with a club that will support giving all the admission for the tour to FAST.
87. Day on the Farm
Is there a working or hobby farm in your community that will allow you to host a simple picnic and give tours through the barns and property? A farm day, with all proceeds going to FAST, would be fun. Pair it with a Hoe Down. Invite people to wear western attire (e.g., cowboy hats, kerchiefs, overalls). Hold a square dance. Attendees would pay to attend the event. Increase the money you raise by selling lemonade, raffle tickets, pony rides and other activities.
88. Hoe Down
Host a square dance or bluegrass concert at a local park or farm.
89. Independence Day Event
Tie your fundraising efforts to the Fourth of July, stressing that a cure would help give your loved ones independence. Host your own buggy and bike parade, or participate in your community’s July Fourth parade. Make a float, and hand out information that steers parade-goers to your CAN page.
90. Carry the News
Become a morning newspaper carrier, and donate your proceeds to FAST.
91. Origami Angel Flight
Partner with a school, church, library or other organization and have a challenge to create and display enough origami angels to raise a specific dollar goal that you have set. Teach people how to make an origami angel for $1, and encourage them to have it become part of the Angel Flight. Display the flight as it continues toward your goal.
92. Curse Jar
Set up a jar in your workplace, and place a set fine per curse word. Have your coworkers self-report, or make it fun and catch each other in the act while raising money for FAST.
93. Alumni Campaign
Approach the alumni director of your high school or college – or your sorority or fraternity. Ask them to feature a story about Angelman syndrome in their next newsletter, and include a way that people can donate toward the cause.
94. Civic Organization Presentation
There is a Rotary International Club, Kiwanis Club, Optimist, Lions or other similar civic organization in your community. Ask if you could make a presentation about Angelman syndrome and the research that is currently occurring. Ask their foundations to make a contribution to FAST.
95. Ask a Friend to Ask a Friend
Select 10 friends and host them for tea, appetizers, and drinks or brunch. Talk with them about AS. Then, give them 10 letters you have written, appealing to the reader to help raise money for research. Ask them to give those letters to 10 of their friends, making a chain of potential donors.
96. Jam Session
Round up a couple of musicians, and ask them to spread the word about a jam session at a local venue. Ask the musicians to donate their talents toward the cause, and charge a donation admission to the event.
97. Dog Wash
Set up a dog wash in your backyard, at a local pet supply store or a veterinarian’s office. Advertise in the neighborhood, at the supply stores and vet offices. Ask for a set donation for each doggie wash.
98. Pumpkin Sale
Area farms always seem to have an abundance of pumpkins in the fall. See if you can get a local provider to donate a bunch of pumpkins for your sale, and then sell them at your school, church or other possible location. Pair this with selling fall concessions, such as caramel apples or apple cider.
99. Easter Egg Hunt
Rally friends and family to fill a bunch of plastic Easter eggs, and host a community Easter Egg hunt for a donated admission.
Host bingo games once a month at a local hall. Be sure to get the proper licenses that your state or community might require.
101. Karaoke Night
Host a karaoke night at a local bar, restaurant or your house. Attendees can donate to sing a song. Spice things up a little and have people donate to get their friends on (or off) stage! For example, Danielle donates $5 to nominate Bryan to sing. Bryan doesn’t want to sing, so he has to donate $10 to get off the stage and avoid singing.
Select any of these activities, or create your own fundraiser and help us cross the finish line FASTer. You will be amazed by what you can accomplish. Need more inspiration? Check out some of our success stories.
Do you have other creative ways to fundraise for FAST that aren’t listed here? We’d love to hear about them! Email your ideas to us at BeInspired@CureAngelman.org.