How to make a paper goal thermometer

Written by jennifer barrow
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How to make a paper goal thermometer
A paper thermometer chart can help spur contributions to your charity drive. (dollars chart image by Brent Walker from

For pledge drives and other forms of charity fundraising, the paper thermometer is a classic way to track progress toward a financial goal. The thermometer image can motivate donors with a concrete visual image showing how much closer their contributions bring the organisation to its fundraising needs. Especially as the funding gets closer to the top, the thermometer offers would-be donors an extra incentive to help your charity reach the finish line. Making a paper goal thermometer is relatively simple.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Large piece of poster board
  • Markers
  • Coloured construction paper
  • Glue

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  1. 1

    Find a piece of heavy white poster board big enough to be seen from far away. Depending on where you'll be using the thermometer, that could mean anywhere from a few feet tall to billboard size.

  2. 2

    Draw an outline of a thermometer on the poster board, with a bulb at the bottom and a narrow bar extending upward to a rounded top.

  3. 3

    Draw evenly spaced lines across the bar to represent increments of money raised. The amount each increment represents will vary depending on your fundraising goal: for £650, you might want to use increments of £65; for £6,500, increments of £650.

  4. 4

    Prop up the poster board on an easel or mount it on the wall wherever you are campaigning for funds. Make sure to put the thermometer somewhere that is easily visible.

  5. 5

    Colour in the thermometer, typically in red, as you receive funding. You can use marker to fill in the increments, or you can glue strips of red construction paper to the poster board.

Tips and warnings

  • A simple thermometer design can be effective, but you could also tailor the image to your organisation by filling it in with pictures relevant to the campaign: for example, toys if you are raising money to buy toys for children.
  • Make sure the design is neat and the funding goal is clearly legible.

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