Let’s be honest, asking people for money is difficult. Really, really difficult.
What’s even worse? Asking grumpy people for money.
Donors are much more receptive to asks when they are in good moods. Whodathunkit?
So take advantage of the happiest season of the year — summer!
Summer is a great time to engage with donors. The sun is shining, the weather is good, and daylight lasts forever.
It is a season that beckons people outside, so heed the call.
Use these suggestions to capitalize on the summer season and get your community outside and donating!
#1 HOST A BLOCK PARTY
A block party is a one-stop shop for summer fun. The endless summer nights provide the perfect backdrop for a community gathering that benefits your cause!
Block Parties are what you make them so the vibe and atmosphere will be up to you.
Consider organizing some extra fundraising events to incorporate into the block party and maximize your donations.
I would suggest getting some competition brewing with a watermelon eating contest and a cook-off.
Watermelon is the perfect summer fruit, refreshing and healthy. Donors won’t feel guilty about stuffing their faces with watermelon.
Messy enough to provide a visual badge of honor for those who compete, your contest will be a highlight of the block party.
For those who find the competitive eating world unappealing give them the option of competitive cooking. A cook-off is a great complement to any block party.
Pick a summer classic, like apple pies, burgers, or chili, and get people cooking!
You can have party guests vote using a secret ballot or appoint a judging panel. Just have fun with it!
Look into getting a local chef or cooking supply shop to donate cooking lessons or a gift card to the winner.
Keep the party going late into the night and let your cause reap the financial rewards.
#2 HOST A POOL PARTY
Is a block party not cool enough for you in those hot summer months? Make it a pool party instead. Problem solved!
Pool parties are pretty straight forward. Have pool? Will party.
Just make sure you have your safety bases covered with licensed lifeguards.
Your pool party can be as extravagant as your heart desires. Set up carnival like games near the pool. Have a party-wide round of Marco Polo. Sell snacks from a concessions stand.
#3 ORGANIZE A WATER BALLOON FIGHT
Kids will join in for the fun of it and adults will join in for the nostalgia-fun of it. Establish a designated fight-zone, register competitors, and sell water balloons.
You could even make it a tournament with teams competing for a coveted prize…glory!
#4 COORDINATE A CAR WASH
Car washes are a fundraising standby for a reason. They’re a great way to raise money with little event cost.
They are also an excellent opportunity to expand awareness of your organization.
Make sure your car wash has plenty of signage stating what the proceeds are going towards. You might even want to print off some flyers or brochures to give those who participate additional info on your cause.
#5 HOST A FISH FRY OR BARBEQUE
For this event you’ll have a crew of volunteers and staff manning the grill or fryers. Set up a method of ordering (online, via the phone, in person) and provide made-to-order food.
Your establishment can be take-out style or you can set up some outdoor seating.
Get kitschy if you go the eat-in route, and don’t forget the quintessential summer items like picnic tablecloths and funky plates.
#6 RUN A WALK-A-THON, BIKE-A-THON, OR SWIM-A-THON
Pick whichever of the three you think your community will be most interested and you’ll be off to the races.
Charge a small registration fee and have your participants gather sponsorships for distance walked, biked, or swam.
#7 HOST A WINE TASTING
Find an outdoor venue, get wine donated from local shops, and invite your supporters who are 21+ to pay a minor fee to participate.
People will jump at the chance to sample wine while feeling charitable.
#8 CATER A DINER OR HOST A GALA OUTDOORS
Take advantage of the beautiful weather and bring your higher-end events outside. For example, you could host a garden ball at your community’s botanical gardens.
#9 RUN A SUMMER GOLF TOURNAMENT
Golf tournaments can be very lucrative. Partner with a local golf course and solicit your corporate sponsors and donors to buy spots in the tournament. Make a whole day of it! Start with breakfast and finish with a dinner and silent auction.
#10 ORGANIZE AN OUTDOOR CONCERT
Outdoor concerts are summer staples. It doesn’t matter who the main attraction is, whether its Beyoncé or your cousin Al’s neighborhood band.
A benefit concert is all about having fun and raising money.
#11 COORDINATE A SUMMER FILM SERIES
Reserve a venue, like a park space, for 4 or 5 separate nights. Then pick out a movie for each reserved day that an entire family can enjoy.
Title your series, something like “June Movie Mondays,” and start rolling.
Make sure to advertise and let people know what the ticket sales are accomplishing. You could even sell theater concessions to create an authentic movie-going experience.
For more great information, check out our list of summer camp fundraising ideas!
Once you’ve executed a great summer fundraiser, make sure your organization is fully prepared to keep those hard earned donors.
Donors have more time and energy to get involved in their communities during their summers. Cement your nonprofit’s community presence by making a big fundraising push this summer. Go forth and conquer the season!