Remote and rural locations often have two disadvantages when it comes to fundraising. Firstly, their community (and therefore donor base) can be quite small and secondly, vast distances can make certain events untenable, and postage costs prohibitive. Here are some fundraising ideas suitable for groups in remote locations.
Products you can sell in small communities
Any fundraising products you sell in a small community must have universal appeal in order to maximise your potential for sales.
You can host a Community Cook Book and ask members of the school and local community to provide recipes which are then printed into a keepsake recipe book. Encourage locals to give up family secrets in the name of raising money for your school and promote it as a special piece of local history and memorabilia. The book is formatted and uploaded online and you can add photographs, maps, drawings and other images. The published books would be sent to your school for distribution, but you could always combine this with a special morning tea or cake stall fundraiser (ask contributors to cook their recipes and bring it along to the Book Launch).
For remote communities where fresh fruit and vegetables are expensive or hard to come by, the Living Fundraisers seed kits may be a popular option. There are a variety of kits available including herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables and they can be planted directly in the bags/tins, and if you select just the herb and flower options, they do not require any outdoor garden space.
To learn more about the Living Fundraisers seed kits click here.
Everyone needs socks regardless of whether you are in a remote farming community or high in the mountain ranges. Jolly Soles provides boxes of mixed socks which suitable for everyone from kids to adults in a variety of styles. The sale price is low ($4) while the profit per box is generous ($20). With a long shelf-life, and highly practical, socks are a great fundraiser that is suitable for any community.
To learn more about Jolly Soles click here.
If you still want people to donate money but do not want to sell products, then Giggle Donation Cards might be a suitable choice. Almost like a game of chance, each card has a number of dollar amounts printed on it, and donors select a dot at random and then scratch to reveal the amount they must donate, from 50 cents to $2. You also reveal a joke with each dot, making it a fun way for donors to be involved. Each card will make $55 profit and can be customised to show your school Logo or image of the project you are fundraising for.
To learn more about Giggle Donation Cards click here.
Selling products online
For schools who are very remote or small, there is always the option of fundraisers that are done entirely online. Toy Catalogue companies (there are two in Australia) give back between 10-25% of the value of products bought, meaning $100 worth of toys bought by families could mean up to $25 worth of vouchers that can be redeemed by the school. Purchases can be done online and then the products shipped directly to them, meaning you can raise funds from friends and families well beyond your community, even across Australia.
To find out more about fundraising with toy catalogues click here.
Use an online crowd funding platform to raise money for a particular project
If your school has a defined project they wish to raise money for such as needing to replace the roof on the assembly area, or building a community garden, then using a crowd funding platform can help you bring in donations from much further afield than the local community.
There are a number of platforms available in Australia such as EveryDay Hero and Go Fund Me, where you can build a fundraising page explaining your project and how much you need to raise. The link can then be shared via social media and newsletters to inform people about the project and seek donations. While the project itself may be limited to the local community – the fundraising is done remotely and can attract sponsors from across the country (and the globe).
While there is usually a set fee (around 6.5% of each donation), all the money is handled by the websites, receipts are automatically sent and there is no need to handle cash. At the end of the fundraising period, the money is simply deposited in the school’s bank account.
Click here to read more about crowd sourcing and learn about projects that other Australian schools have completed using online fundraising.
Passive fundraising ideas
Gifts 4 Good is a group of over 400 online shops incorporating everything from Amazon, The Book Depository and Dan Murphys to Intaflora, Adairs and Adultshop. Schools and charity groups can nominate to be a recipient of Gifts 4 Good fundraising so that every time one of their supporters buys something online, money is credited to your fundraising account. When people shop through the Gifts 4 Good website at one of these online stores, they will donate a percentage of the sale (from 1%-8%) to your school.
The sheer number of online shops associated with Gifts4Good means that even a small community will have many shopping options. And since the individual businesses are responsible for shipping purchases, you never need to worry about handling and distribution.
Click here to find out more about passive fundraising with Gifts 4 Good.
There are a number of events that you can run within your school to raise funds, and many of these ideas work well for smaller schools.
You can host a read-a-thon or Fun Run within the school, and ask the students to get people to sponsor them for each book they read or lap they run. You can organise this event yourself, or out-source the organisation to professionals and take advantage of their experience and ability to provide incentive prizes and support packs.
Adding a Side Show Alley to a school fete or at a local famers’ market is a fun way to raise money, easy to set up and hugely popular with the kids.
There are plenty of interesting and original alternatives to the standard ‘free dress day’ fundraiser, and they are simple to arrange and can become a highlight of each term.
Hosting an Expo is a popular event for communities where there are a lot of parents operating their own businesses at home, in particular party plans, which might struggle to find new markets in a small town. By charging each business a fee to attend the evening, and combining it with other fundraising programs such as a cake stall or raffles, visitors to the Expo can experience a range of products in the one place, without the pressure people may feel by attending a party. Ask businesses to either donate some products to go into a hamper which can be raffled, or consider a 10% donation based on sales made during the expo.
A Quiz Night can be a night to remember, and by inviting the entire community it can not only become a profitable fundraiser but a regular feature on the town calendar. Click here for some top tips on running a Quiz Night and you will also find some easy games you can add to the night to raise extra cash such as the 50/50 raffle and the one minute treasure hunt. Ask local businesses to provide prizes to be raffled or auctioned on the night in return for publicity or free tickets to the event.
What successful fundraising have you done in your rural community?
Updated October 2017