Managing a homeowners association requires strong communication skills, a solid understanding of community management best practices, and the right technological resources. However, to foster a sense of community, your homeowners association also needs a bit of fun.
Community fundraisers are an opportunity to bring your homeowners association’s members together to socialize and raise funds for your organization. While many organizations have shifted their activities online, your homeowners association can still run fun and easy fundraisers without forcing your members to leave their homes.
To help inspire your homeowners association, theteam at ShopRaise has put together this guide of five engaging, easy community fundraisers. ShopRaise specializes in fundraising programs that make giving as convenient as possible for both supporters and organizations.
- Online Shopping Fundraisers
- Community Potlucks
- Fields Days
- Sporting Events
1. Online Shopping Fundraisers
Online shopping fundraisers allow your supporters to contribute to your organization through online purchases. Essentially, supporters who participate in your online shopping fundraiser make online purchases as they normally would. Then, a percentage of their purchases is donated by the retailer to your organization, at no additional cost to you or your supporters.
What You’ll Need
Online shopping fundraisers are one of the easiest fundraising campaigns you can host. Your homeowners association will just need to follow a simple three-step process to start earning revenue:
- Partner with an online shopping fundraising program. Research potential programs and choose a provider that is partnered with businesses your supporters already shop at, such as major department stores, popular restaurants, or chains popular in your region.
- Instruct supporters how to download your browser extension and app. Chances are that many of your organization’s members have never participated in an online shopping fundraiser before. Make sure your marketing emails (provided by your online shopping program!) contain detailed instructions about how the program works and provide links to download your program’s app and browser extension.
- Continue marketing your online shopping fundraiser. While most parts of your online shopping fundraiser can be run automatically, you will need to promote your fundraiser to remind supporters to sign up and make purchases through your app.
Before you adjust your budget to revolve around your online shopping fundraiser, keep in mind that revenue from these fundraisers accumulates over time and requires a degree of patience. You may have a few supporters who will quickly generate a lot of revenue, but most will slowly contribute to your organization as they complete their regular shopping.
2. Community Potlucks
Community potlucks encourage guests to show off their creativity and culinary skills by bringing a dish to a shared community meal. Guests can sign up to bring a specific item or be given free rein to bring whatever they would like. Then, at the event, attendees pay an entrance fee and are invited to try their neighbors’ dishes and socialize at their leisure.
What You’ll Need
Community potlucks save on supply costs by letting guests handle the catering. Your organization will need to provide an event space that will likely include a large table or buffet line and serving tools such as disposable plates and utensils.
Additionally, keep in mind if any of your community members have allergies or dietary restrictions. To accommodate all guests, consider setting up separate tables for items that meet their needs, such as gluten-free, vegan, or peanut-free dishes. Also, don’t overlook the importance of sanitation, especially during flu season. Assign a few dedicated servers to minimize contact with shared surfaces, make handwashing stations accessible for guests, and encourage people waiting in line to stay an appropriate distance from one another.
3. Field Days
Field days are usually associated with schools, but they can be run by any organization looking to bring its members together for a day of fun athletic activities. The events you include can vary, but a few popular ones are:
- Egg toss
- Dizzy bat race
- Ladder toss
Consider the members of your community and tailor your field day events to them. For example, if you have a lot of families with young children, you might want to create several obstacle courses for different age groups.
What You’ll Need
Field days require some basic supplies such as sporting equipment and decorative materials to create finish lines, course markers, and other miscellaneous items. You’ll also need a wide open space and a way to check guests in at the start of your event. Additionally, since most sporting events come with some level of risk, you may need guests to sign a waiver or release form.
4. Sporting Events
As 99Pledges’ sports fundraising guide demonstrates, sporting event fundraisers include a wide range of activities, from walk-a-thons and youth sports to any activity that could accommodate a concession stand. Here are a few particularly easy ways you can raise money at your sporting event:
- Text-to-give. Text-to-give allows your guests to donate straight from their phones. You can encourage your guests to all give at once during your event by announcing your text-to-give number and asking for a donation. Seeing guests around them pull out their phones to give can persuade supporters who were on the fence about donating to contribute as well.
- Coupon books. Help your attendees support your organization and shop for a cause by partnering with local businesses to create coupon books. These coupons will drive sales at local businesses and provide your supporters with a way to save.
- Raffles. Raffles are a great way to convince your guests to stick around until the end of your event. At the beginning of your sporting event, encourage guests to purchase a raffle ticket for a desirable prize, then announce the winner at the end of the event. Just be sure to check your region’s gambling regulations to see if you need a license to run your raffle.
All of these fundraising methods can be applied to a variety of sporting events, such as team sports, tournaments, or whatever other activities your homeowners association is interested in hosting. Just make sure to take the appropriate health and safety measures to keep your community safe.
What You’ll Need
Certain donating methods such as text-to-give require a software solution, while a coupon book necessitates having multiple corporate sponsors. Research your specific fundraising method to make a list of the exact tools you’ll need to collect donations.
Your sporting event will also need some basic supplies, volunteers, and an organized schedule. For example, your walk-a-thon participants will just need a large track on the day of the event, but before the event, they’ll need a check-in process and way to record pledges.
Like potlucks, cookouts are events that bring your whole community together to bond over good food. However, unlike potlucks where attendees prepare their contributions in advance, cookouts invite participants to prepare their chosen meals at the event.
Some cookout fundraisers add an element of competition, allowing guests to rate their favorite chefs by donating to their specific fund (which then goes to your organization). Others collect participant fees, ticket sales, and donations throughout the event while focusing on gathering the community together instead of who has the best food.
What You’ll Need
Cookouts require a bit more setup than the other fundraisers on this list. While some homeowners associations may opt to reduce costs and planning obstacles by encouraging attendees to bring their own supplies, others will need to account for equipment and other concerns, such as:
- Grills and cooking supplies. Whether it’s barbecue, chili, spaghetti, or whatever food your community gets excited about, you’ll need proper supplies for making and distributing food. Rent grills, if necessary, and make sure you have plenty of disposable paper plates for all of your guests.
- A venue. Choose a venue with a large outdoor space to allow cooks to prepare their food. Plus, outside locations with lots of space allows attendees to spread out, which might be necessary for health and safety measures (and to avoid violating community guidelines).
- Safety standards. Similar to sporting events, you’ll need to be conscious of safety concerns when setting up your cookout. While all of your participants should be experienced cooks, accidents can happen, so make sure you have a few fire extinguishers on hand just in case.
Before your cookout, have cooks register well in advance so you can provide the necessary materials for them, and encourage them to pitch in and bring their own supplies as well to make your fundraiser a success.
Fundraising in your community should be fun for your supporters and your staff. Choose activities that everyone can get involved in without being an ordeal to organize. After researching your options, invest in the right software solutions to make your planning process even easier.