Fundraising is a critical process for many non-profit organizations; in the domestic violence field, funds are often used to help an organization fulfill its mission and provide services in the community. As a volunteer, participating in and leading efforts to raise funds can be a fundamental way to support this work.

Fundraising can be fun, and can help raise awareness about the issues, too! There are all types of ways you can raise money for domestic violence. It is best to start with a clear goal of how much money you want to raise. Early planning is key, especially for bigger events; and the bigger the event, the more money you are apt to raise! You should check early on in your planning process to ensure that your event does not conflict with other events that may be going on in your community. And of course, get the word out to everyone, especially the demographics you are most interested in reaching.

Here are some ideas to help get you started, but don’t limit yourself to only these examples!

A simple yet effective way you can make a huge difference is to donate money! Most organizations and shelters fighting domestic violence are non-profits and raise a lot of their money through donations. There are thousands of organizations out there to choose from, and any donations made to non-profits are tax-deductible.  Whether you choose to donate to a local shelter, a state-wide organization, or even national or international organizations, you will be doing a great deed just by giving whatever you can!

Donation drives:
A good way to reach many people is to have a donation drive. Donation ‘boxes’ are set up in different places around your community where people can drop off much-needed items. These items go directly to shelters and to those in need.  You can coordinate with local businesses and schools to place the drop-boxes, and then make sure to pick up the items regularly and stay in contact with the places that are generously lending space for a drop-off location. Some places are even willing to encourage their employees or students to get involved! Items that shelters always need are clothing (even underwear, bras, and socks), shoes, non-perishable food, gift cards for supplies, kids’ toys, bedding and pillows, cell phones, appliances, cook ware, books, magazines, personal hygiene items, furniture, school supplies, formula, baby food, diapers, etc. Get in contact with your local shelter to see what they are in need of the most.

5K Run/Walk:
The 5K is becoming an increasingly popular event. Many organizations use the 5K as a fun way to get people of all ages involved while promoting health. A 5K has the potential to raise some serious money for your organization. It is important to do research beforehand so you know how to go about planning the event. Talk with your local entities first to see if there are any 5Ks going on in your community that already benefit the domestic violence movement. You may choose to join an existing event and help with that, or you can start your own. For more information, see: How to Plan and Execute a 5K.

Yard Sale:
Having a yard sale is a fairly easy, yet effective way to raise money. Ask your community members and people you know to drop off items at a designated location to be sold at the yard sale. Make sure they (and the people attending the yard sale) know that 100% of the funds will go towards funding your local shelter or whichever organization you choose to give the money to. People are more apt to donate if they know their money is going towards a good cause and what specific organization it is going to. At the yard sale, you can also have a table set up accepting donations and providing information about domestic violence services, statistics, ways to help, and more.

You can organize a competitive but fun tournament where all the proceeds go directly to the cause. Some very popular tournaments include golf, basketball, bowling, and poker. There are many more, but these are the ones ‘trending’ right now.

Music Festival:
Getting the arts involved is a great way to reach many demographics. Talk to local artists about performing in 30 minute segments to get a wide range of genres. Most musicians are happy to play for a great cause.

Car Wash:
This is an easy and fun way to raise money and raise public awareness. People pay about $10 these days for an automatic car wash anyway, so why not let that money go towards the common good?

Bake Sale:
Who doesn’t love dessert? Get a few friends together, bake some treats, and sell them at a bake sale. You can also get a lot of people to donate their time by making desserts, so make sure to ask for help!

Donation Letter Drive:
Organize a night where people all meet up with approximately 50 names and addresses each. Send out letters with details about the organization or cause you are benefiting, and also asking for donations. This is an easy way to reach many people.

Additional Resources:
Fundraising Ideas
Non-profit Fundraising
Designing and Implementing a Fund-raiser
Tools for Planning a Fund-raiser/Community Event
Developing Creative Promotions