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No-Cost Ideas

The Fundraiser ideas on this page require no initial financial investment. That means that either "orders" are taken before placing an order with a fund-raising company, or the services or ideas are "free" to start, thus having close to a 100% profit.

Each idea lists several items:

  1. Materials needed to do the fundraiser
  2. The level of difficulty in running this fundraising event
  3. Who the intended audience would primarily be (Where most of the fundraised money would come from)
  4. The approximate profit margin
  5. Any likely "dangers" or "tips" to help assure you of success

Good Will - Good Deed:

"Goodwill industries has a Good Deeds program that will allow your club to become a donation collection site for them. They will pay the club $50.00 for each bin filled. Just contact your local Goodwill and speak to the Good Deeds agent. They will coordinate a date and time. The only thing you need to supply is a W9 tax form and a logo they can use on the flyer that they create for you. Then you just spread the word to have everyone you know bring in their donations on the day of the event. We raised almost $2000.00 in one morning." Joyce Garcia - Albuquerque Central Sentinels pathfinders


The Mysterious Note:

This is an adventure/comedy movie for kids and families produced by Rich Aguilera and the North American Division Stewardship Dept. The movie will be released to the public in February 2019 but between October and February CLUBS will have exclusive access to screen the movie as a fundraising event.  Earn thousands of dollars for your club in one night! Learn more...


Aluminum Can / Plastic Bottle Recycling:
In many states, such as Michigan & California, aluminum soda cans & 2-liter soda bottles can be redeemed for 5 or 10 cents each. Best of all, if your club can find willing people in the neighborhood to let you recycle their cans, you can easily make some serious cash with little difficulty.

Materials Needed:
Large trash cans with a round "can hole" cut in the top. This trash can should be clearly marked "Aluminum Cans Only." Place it in an inconspicuous place at your church or school, but one where parents, church members, and Pathfinders can easily place their cans. Trash bags that fit the trash cans. This will make it easy to take them to the recycling center. Willing Pathfinders that will each check the trash cans each week for a month (create a schedule), and recycle the cans as necessary. This may require a printed schedule that is placed in the Pathfinder newsletter or mailed to Pathfinder parents reminding the Pathfinders of their responsibility.

Level of Difficulty:
Easy. The time it takes to recycle is the only time investment

Primary Audience:
Parents, Church Members, and Neighbors. This fundraiser doesn't require parents to "buy something" to help their kids go to Camporee (a big plus in many parents'' book!). Themselves or friends are already buying the cans and bottles.

Approximate Profit Margin:
98% - One club in Michigan raised over $1000.00 for the a Camporee!

Dangers:
This fundraiser can be ongoing, but unless advertised to the church & Pathfinders, will have diminishing returns. Also, the Pathfinders may need reminded to follow through with their recycling responsibility! These Pathfinders are also responsible for giving the money earned from the recycle to the Club director. Help them remember!


Delivery of Telephone Books:
Materials Needed:
1. As many kids and parents as you can find
2. Loading dollies
3. Larger vehicles like vans and station wagons for delivery
4. Snacks for parents & kids
5. Contractual Agreement with Telephone Book organization(ex. Pacific Bell or Sprint)

Description:
After getting the routes from the Telephone Corporation, arrange kids and parents in teams and give them street maps with their specific routes highlighted, a list of addresses to deliver to and the number of books for each delivery-route. Provide a target time to meet back at the starting point. The kids will go with their driver and deliver the phone books to the addresses in their area.

Level of Difficulty:
Easy - Medium. The leader will need to plan far enough ahead to contact the Phone Corporation. This fundraiser can only be done at the time of year when new books are being made available, often in the Fall. It is also necessary to contact drivers and collect snacks and drinks.

Primary Audience:
The community. This fundraiser is great because it doesn't require financial investment from parents and church members, just some time invested on a weekend! Approximate Profit Margin Near 100% (only snacks and drinks cost significant money.)

Tips:
1. Be sure you are aware of how much money the phone company will pay for each phone book delivered!
2. Pathfinders should never go into a home. They simply need to deposit the books in a safe place outside the residence.
3. Beware of Dogs!
4. Water bottles & snacks will help Pathfinders and parents stay hydrated & healthy!
5. Parents may need gas money. They may donate their gas, but DON'T presume!
6. Celebrate at the end of the day with a party at the church/Pathfinder building


Rake-A-Thon:
Materials Needed:
1. Pathfinders
2. Rakes
3. Garbage Bags
4. Vehicles for Transportation

Descriptions:
Before the leaves are done falling, Pathfinders find sponsors to pay them for each yard they will rake. Some sponsors prefer to give a set donation, saving the extra step of being contacted again for collection, so it might be nice to give the sponsors a choice. For those sponsoring "per yard raked", a good estimate is that each Pathfinder will rake six yards with the help of a few fellow Pathfinders.

Obtain names from Pathfinder families, your pastor, your Adventist Community Services, local doctors, hospice organizations...anyone who may be in contact with elderly or ill persons who cannot rake their own yards this year. You can also use this time as outreach and rake a few yards for individuals who cannot afford it but need the work to be done. This helps to create a balance in the mindset of our Pathfinders, teaching them that it is not just about the money, but the service we offer to others.

Then, once the leaves have fallen, set aside some afternoons and rake yards until you are done. Ask parents and church members to help take a car load of kids to two yards per afternoon to provide transportation and supervision. Sundays are a good day to get some done as well. Make sure each Pathfinders rake six yards to keep your word to your sponsors.

Approximate Profit Margin:
Near 100%

Tip:
The most crucial step for success with a rake-a-thon is getting sponsors. You need to allow about three weeks. The Pathfinders really need to be encouraged in this and taught how. Pull out the church directory and split up names for each member to call. Then have their parents help them with family, neighbors, and extended family far away. Use Facebook, email, whatever tools for communication you have at your disposal. Also, don't skip the prizes. Prizes really motivates the go-getters. Figure on the prize being worth 15% of what the individual Pathfinder earns. You don't always have to purchase the prizes; sometimes businesses will donate them. And a gift card to a popular store seems to be a popular prize. Special group activities for those who have earned a minimum amount are fun, but don't seem as effective as individual prizes.


Rent-a-Pathfinder:
Materials Needed:
None. All tools and materials are provided by the homeowner. Any size of Pathfinder club could do this one!

Description:
People at the church sign up for activities that they would like a Pathfinder to do. For example: mowing, trimming, weeding, window washing, laundry, dish washing, house straightening, etc. The Pathfinder leader drops off 2 or more kids, WITH a supervising adult, at each "signed up for" project, then picks them up when the work is done or 4 hours later. Suggest donations of $10-$20 per hour, but allow each homeowner to donate whatever they wish!

Level of Difficulty:
Medium. This is easy to set up just have sign up sheets at church, in the newsletter and in the bulletin. A map to each homeowners house is also a helpful element with this fundraiser! Also, be sure there are enough authorized adults and transportation for each project.

Primary Audience:
Church members

Approximate Profit Margin:
Near 100%

Tips:
1.NEVER leave a Pathfinder at a home alone. Have 2 or more Pathfinders AND an authorized adult for each group of rented-kids. Safety first!
2. Collect checks and cash when you pick up each group. Don't let homeowners "get it to you later." The best way to handle this is make all payment methods clear when they sign up initially.
3. Instruct Pathfinders on courtesy, as well as the basics of the tasks they are going to be doing. Many Pathfinders may not know how to wash a window or weed!


Little Caesar Pizza Kit Fundraise:
www.pizzakit.com
Materials Needed:
1. Fundraiser Kit from Little Caesars' Pizza Kit
1.888.452.5487

Description:
Sell yummy and practical Pizza Kits (frozen crust, with cheese and sauce in individual packets), with a profit margin on each kit. The prices are reasonable and orders are taken before ordering. Make sure you know if there is a minimum order number or not.

Level of Difficulty:
Medium

Primary Audience:
Parents & Church members

Approximate Profit Margin:
30%

Tips:
Encourage parents to sell these easy kits at work! This fundraiser would work best with a mid size to large Pathfinder club, or in conjunction with the Adventurer Club.


Annual Plant Sale:
Materials Needed:
1. A nursery that will deliver plants to the church
2. A room to store the plants until they are picked up
3. Tabs to identify plant orders.

Description:
Everyone needs flowers and other annuals in their yards or windows! Take orders for plants about 6 weeks before "planting time." Be sure to give the Pathfinders basic information about each kind of annual that the club is selling, maybe even with small pictures in a "booklet. The nursery should be able to give you "wholesale" price, and you can sell at "retail." All orders should be prepaid! An extra fee could be added for "home delivery."

Level of Difficulty:
Medium

Primary Audience:
Parents, Neighbors, Church members

Approximate Profit Margin
6-20%


Walk/Bike-a-Thon:
Materials Needed
1. Sign-up sheets and willing Pathfinders/staff
2. Bikes, skates, or whatever the "-a-thon" is all about
3. Water/snacks

Description:
This ageless sponsored event requires that each participant have family, neighbors, and friends sponsor them for each lap or mile that they walk or run.

Level of Difficulty:
Medium

Primary Audience:
Friends

Approximate Profit Margin:
80-100%

Tips:
1. Give kids 2-3 weeks to get their sponsor sheets filled out. Have them suggest donations of $.10 - $1.00 per mile.
2. Be sure and protect the sponsors by offering a"flat rate" and/or "cap" so that an individual who was planning on giving about $20 doesn't feel hurt when given a bill for $60! We want to keep our sponsors happy!


IGive.com Online Shopping: 
www.igive.com
Materials Needed:
1. Computer & Internet Connection
2. Email addresses of family & friends
3. Eager Internet savvy Pathfinders & Staff

Description:
I Give.com offers the opportunity for a church or Pathfinder Club to set up a "Cause" account, and when "registered members" shop online at such places as Amazon.com, Travelocity, Expedia, Barnes & Nobles, Dell.com and over 410 other online stores, a certain percentage of their purchase is credited to the"cause." In this case your Pathfinder Club. IT DOESN'T COST YOUR FRIENDS ANYTHING!

Level of Difficulty :
Easy

Primary Audience:
Family, Friends and Church Members

Approximate Profit Margin:
0.5% - 20% of the purchase price of online merchandise.

Tips:
1. To be successful, you MUST have as many people as possible signed up and actively shopping online. That's not too hard these days, especially during the holidays and back to school seasons. With such a wide variety of participating stores, most people can "contribute" $50-100 per year with no personal cost.
2. This fundraiser requires "net savy" participants.


Krispy Kreme:
www.krispykreme.com

Materials Needed:
1. Pathfinders eager to raise money

Description:
Krispy Kreme offers a variety of ways to fundraise through the selling of their products. Find out more on their website listed above!

Primary Audience:
Everyone!

Approximate Profit Margin:
100%

Level of Difficulty:
Easy


Stadium Cleanup:
Materials Needed:
None(well, maybe a little elbow grease)

Description:
Earn money on a Sunday morning by picking up trash after a Saturday night game. Many stadiums support local groups such as Pathfinders by paying them to clean the stadium after a game. Check with your local stadium to see how your club can get involved. This is a great way to raise money without having to advertise or sell a product.

Approximate Profit Margin:
100%

Level of Difficulty: 
Hard.This one requires a lot of hard work so remember to reward your Pathfinders and Parents with ice cream or cookies after the job is done.


Business Donation Auction:
Materials Needed:
1. Auction items donated from local businesses
2. Auctioneer
3. Meeting Hall for Auction
4. Thank You letters sent to local businesses

Description:
Go to surrounding businesses in your community and to people in the church that have businesses and ask for donations. They can be a gift certificate or any object such as an end table, lamp, couch or any other nice item. These items need to be new. Ask for the retail price, which allows the auctioneer to get the best price per each item. If you can get an auctioneer to donate his/her time, that will be even better. As each item is held up for bid, the auctioneer can then give a little bit of information about the item and the company that donated it. In a sense, this can be a form of advertising for the company who donated the item. This can be the trade-off when you bargain with companies to donate.

Approximate Profit Margin:
100%

Level of Difficulty:
Medium. It takes some organization and some well planned "pitches" for the businesses. Wearing your staff uniform and taking a Pathfinder with you increases your chances of getting a useful item(s) for sale at the auction.


Little Debbie Fundraiser  (Contributed by Bill Wood - NAD Camp Ministries Director)
 
www.littledebbie.com/www/docs/7/fundraising
 
McKee Foods has a program where groups have earned anywhere from $1,000 to over $7,000 selling Big Packs of popular Little Debbie snacks. With 14 varieties of snacks priced at $3.99, exactly what you already pay at the Supermarket, your customers will be getting a great product at a great price and your club will be earning cash for your trip. It’s as simple as taking orders, collecting the cash, and delivering the product.


Spring Cleaning Time

www.funds2orgs.com

Clubs collect "gently worn" shoes. Event runs for 90 days. Company provides bags and rubber bands. Clubs rubber band the pairs of shoes together and place in labeled bags. Bags are stored until time to pick them up.  Collect 200+ bags to avoid freight charges. Once collected shoes are shipped to local location [California: Port of Los Angeles] and then shipped to third world countries. Companies in these countries use the shoes to teach a trade to the people. They will clean and prep the shoes for resale. They will do minor repairs. They take all types of shoes and styles. Payment is based on weight. Collect 300 bags [75000 pairs of shoes] and earn up to $3000 at $0.40 per pound. Obviously clubs need their tax exempt number to achieve this.

Cost: time and energy.

Eventually they want to do the same using different items like purses, but they are not prepared for this right now. Simple and relatively easy.

Contact: Tom Henderson
Chief Fundraising Strategist
www.funds2orgs.com
tom@funds2orgs.com
office 312.350.3293 ext. 201
fax 407.915.3896


*These ideas and tips are given to assist clubs in fundraising and in no way guarantee success for your fundraising event. The Center for Youth Evangelism takes no responsibility for the success or failure of your fundraising events & results, or endorses any product or organization, but we always love to hear about what is working for you!

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