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Fundraising ideas for East Africa trips

Here are some proven fundraising ideas to raise funds for Africa trips for school groups, youth groups, mission teams, and individual volunteers:

Have a fundraising work plan: Make a list of 100 people you know. Include everyone you can think of: old neighbors, high school sweethearts, former teachers or coaches, your doctor, your dentist, family attorneys, high school and college alumni, vendors, restaurateurs or other professionals you have patronized on a regular basis. List your parents friends, members of civic clubs, religious affiliations, boards or organizations to which you, a friend or family member may belong.

Examine all the possibilities and rate them on a scale from 1 to 5; the “ones” are the people you know well, and the “fives” are your acquaintances. Ask the “ones” and “twos” to furnish the names and addresses of 2 to 5 people they know who might be interested in your volunteer work. Ask them if they will contact their friend first on your behalf, or if they will introduce you.

Form a support group: One of your best support structures is to have the people closest to you act as your fundraising committee. Have them write letters on your behalf and distribute pledge forms to their immediate family and good friends. The best fundraisers have even gone as far as to officially organize something like “The Committee to Send Samantha to Uganda”- which is personal, catchy, and shows you have organized support.

Promise an educational presentation: Promising to speak to groups or show pictures when you return can be great way to secure funding from religious organizations, civic groups, alumni associations and educational institutions. Remember, often the prime motivation for giving is how it makes the giver feel, not how it makes the receiver feel. Hopefully, your supporters will feel good each time they look at your picture or receive an update from you.

Make it convenient for them to give you money: The more flexible you are, the more money you can make. Whatever you do, get a commitment for payment rather than a promise. Ask them to fill out a sponsorship form and then get back to them at a designated time. If they tell you “I’ll send you the check when I get paid,” chances are, you will never see that money.

Telephone campaign: Getting permission to call a friendly membership list can be tricky, but if you are successful in persuading a group to let you call their members this can be an effective fundraising tool, especially if the group shares something with you (alumni, international development, religious, etc.)

Practical ideas to raise funds:

Skip a Movie for Missions: As a creative idea to help others realize how much small contributions count, encourage others to consider what would be spent on a dinner out or a family night at the movies. Instead of going out, ask them if they would be willing to donate the money toward the trip. This might be particularly appealing to families with small children, in which the parents have a burden for missions but feel homebound due to the age of their children.

Movie Night: Set up a big screen in the church parking lot and feature a night as the drive-in movie night. Then advertise to church members and others about this special event. Entrance to the movie will be based solely upon donations that are made per carload. You could also sell refreshments as part of the fund raising.
1. Big screen, movie, projector, sound system
2. Refreshments – popcorn, soda, candy
Coupons for Missions: Ask people to donate the money they have saved with coupons during the week to the trip. The parents of the youth group or other Sunday school classes is a great place to start. Declare a certain week for everyone to donate their money, or perhaps ask some families to donate a month’s worth of coupons.

Parents’ Night Out: Offer one night (or several nights) for parents to let you watch their kids. This is a great way for parents to have a date night, do Christmas shopping, or just escape their usual responsibilities for an evening. It would be best to have a youth group or Sunday school class as a whole cover a night for the parents, in order to watch a group of children at once. All proceeds will go toward the cost of the trip.
1. Make sure you have a place to hold the event
2. Have toys, activities, and snacks available for the children

Christmas Post Office: Set up a table in the entryway or lobby of the church starting a month before Christmas. Church members drop their Christmas greeting cards, which are intended for other church members, in a box. Then have them pay the amount they would have spent on postage toward the trip, or they can give a donation. Then the mail could be delivered after the service.
1. Box or a bag to drop the mail in
2. A big table to sort them on and then set them out on

Support Letters: The infamous support letter is a classic way of not only sharing the purpose of the trip, but also collecting necessary funds. Each team member should compile a list of contacts, whether through work, parents, church, or friends. Be sure to send out the letters far enough in advance, in order that families can plan accordingly for their budget. Also, it is necessary to include who the checks need to be made out to and where to send it.
upon return, a report letter can be mailed to each supporter.
1. Envelopes, stamps, paper
2. Access to typewriter/computer
3. Addresses of families, friends, etc.

Babysit for parents in need of free time: Use your time when the kids are sleeping for reading, study and planning.

Yard work, trimming and mowing lawns is a sure bet. Everyone needs this service. Also think about house cleaning – it’s easy, fun and appreciated.

Brainstorm with friends and try anything that you think may work. Your enthusiasm and motivation will move others to help you. So keep a positive attitude and keep trying. In all of these cases, personal contact and accountability are key to the success of your fundraising efforts.

Garage or car boot sale:  This is a great way to get particular Sunday school groups involved with an area of the church they may not be connected with on a regular basis. Approach the teachers/leaders of adult classes and ask them to donate items toward a garage sale. Then, organize shifts of people to help set up the garage sale items, run the cash register, and help with carrying the items to the designated location.

Advertise this in bulletins and announcements in Sunday school, in order for people to not only donate items, but also to purchase things. Local ice cream shops or grocery stores could be approached as well, because they might be willing to donate snacks and refreshments. All of the money will be donated toward the cost of the mission trip.
1. Collect the items that will be sold
2. Tables to set the items on
3. Stickers / price tags
4. Signs/ posters throughout community

Ten pin Bowling challenge: Rally each team member to participate in a night at the lanes. Two to three weeks before the actual event happens, each participant should ask others either to donate a specific amount, or to pledge a certain amount of money per pin. This is a great opportunity to get local businesses involved as well. This would be a wonderful time to ask the church or businesses to match the overall amount that was raised by the team. Not only does this type of event raise needed support, but is also a wonderful way to unite the team through a fun and relaxed atmosphere.
1. Pledge sheets
2. Reservations at a local bowling alley
3. Business contacts

Egg Sellers: Individuals of the team should purchase a given number of dozens of eggs. By going door to door through neighbourhoods, sell each egg for one dollar. Explain the purpose of the trip and offer them an egg, in which the proceeds would go toward the overall expense. This could also lead to discussions about Jesus Christ, and perhaps some could hear the Gospel for the first time. It could also act as a way of educating others about how the local church can serve in ways beyond their own community.
1. Dozens of eggs
2. Something to collect the money in

Bake Sale/Auction: Have women in the church volunteer to bake various dishes and then have a designated night to auction them. You could even have them set up on a table before Sunday classes and then allow everyone to secretly bid. Whoever puts in the highest bid, receives the baked goods.
1. List of women and their recipes
2. Table to set them up on (if they’re going to bid)

Sponsored town clean: Organize through the council to clean parts of the town. This could even be done for Churches if you ask to take the team to work for them for a pay.

Supermarket bag packing: Talk to Tesco, Asda, etc. about going in for a couple of hours and packing people’s bags. As your team does that, they get the chance to tell people what they are going to do in Uganda. Try to see if you can get an MP or someone like that to come along to give the event some weight.

African Night: This can be done with music and some African food. Anyone who comes has to pay an entrance fee, donation and also for the food.

Talent show evening or ‘stars in their eyes’: Invite people from the Church with their friends and family to attend. Ask as many people even those not going on the trip to take part. Do a song, dance, poem – make it a fun church evening.

Cardboard city night: Get people going on the trip and anyone else interested in joining in to come and spend a night out in small cardboard houses built by those taking part. This can be done at the church or on a farm somewhere nearby. The people staying out for the night have to be sponsored to do it. It also helps to create awareness about the work you are going to do, working with people that do not have much and often sleep like that.

‘Face your fears’ challenge: Plan to take the team, their family and anyone else who wants to help to a zoo, forest, rock climbing gym, etc. and people have to be sponsored to do things they are most scared of,  i.e. pick up snakes, touch a spider, climb a high wall.

Fashion show: Ask any shop in town to donate clothes, which people can wear for the evening. You can borrow the clothes for the evening and take them back to the shop afterward. Get men, women and children to come and do a catwalk. Have some clothes or other items to auction and raise some money too.

Do a sponsored walk or sponsored bike ride or even a commando challenge: To make these fundraising events work, try to encourage even people who are not going on the trip to take part because that way you get bigger numbers hence more support and money.

Car wash: Ask people from the church or community to bring their cars to be washed. You can even ask Taxi companies to bring their cars and set a fee to wash them. Sell car wash coupons ahead of time. Some will buy just to support and not show up and others will show up along with any you happen to draw in from advertising. Doing it this way raised more money for us than just doing a regular car wash. 

Safari Supper: Ask members of the church or community to help prepare a 3-course meal for people who buy the coupons.
One member could plan the starter and people will go to that home to eat it, they then to go another home for the main course and after that move on to the next home for the pudding. In this way you serve 3 meals in 3 homes.

Games evening: There are lots of possibilities for Games Evenings. You can make one particular game the focus of the evening – like a dominoes competition. Or you can have several different games, which everyone has to try in turn.

Quiz nights can be very popular: Whatever the games, don’t forget that selling refreshments is always a good way of raising funds – and helps to make for a lively social gathering that people want to join in again.

The Better Bones Lunch Bunch: Encourage everyone in your office to bring a brown bag, bone-healthy lunch to work one day a week for a month, then donate the money they would have spent that day on lunch to your effort. (You could also do this in your home. Instead of meeting friends out for lunch or dinner invite them to bring a brown bag meal to your home, and then donate what you would have spent).

Business Partnerships: Ask a popular local restaurant to donate £1 or $1.00 for every meal sold during a specific month. You may also want to ask a popular local store or salon/spa to donate a percentage of one day’s revenue during a particular month.

Community Events: Other kinds of community events could be a special event/activity at your local gym. Golf and tennis tournaments are also popular events that bring together people to support a cause. Contact the manager of your local gym, golf or tennis club to find out how to organize such an activity

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