How to make a fundraiser countdown

Updated February 21, 2017

A countdown marker is a must to promote fundraising efforts. It lets people know how much money has been raised and how much more is needed. The "thermometer" style is a classic format for a countdown graphic. It is easy to make and people will be able to quickly see how much has been raised and how much more has to be collected to meet the goal. Put the countdown thermometer in a place where it can be seen easily by many. Hang it inside a main entrance or lobby area or right outside the front door. This way you can encourage the entire community to get involved and make contributions to help you reach your fundraising goal.

Set the goal for the fundraiser countdown. It can be a simple amount of money, the total number of pizzas or cupcakes a group needs to sell to raise money for a class trip, or a date by which all prom tickets must be sold.

Use a thermometer-style format so your group has a tall element that's easy for people to see that allows you to proudly display the progress that's being made toward reaching your goal.

Write a theme for the countdown thermometer such as "One Thousand Bucks for Barks in Blairsville" to raise money for an animal shelter, or "Five Hundred Pizzas in Fifty Days" to raise money to hire a band for prom.

Assign someone on the fundraising committee to design a clever vertical graphic element to vary the traditional thermometer theme. Use ideas that go along with your theme, such as a replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to sell pizzas or the neck of a guitar to raise money to hire a band for the prom.

Make the background board for the thermometer with plywood or foam core board. Use a height of 6 to 8 feet as a minimum, with a width of 2 feet so people can see the board from a distance. Attach two boards together if needed to attain the proper dimensions.

Paint the board white, and once it is dry, use a pencil to trace the outline of the thermometer on the wood or foam core. Make horizontal hash marks with black paint at equally spaced intervals on the thermometer. Use four marks per foot and let each mark represent £16 toward the a goal of £520 to hire a band, for example.

Use red paint to indicate how much money has been raised. Set a regular day and time to update the countdown thermometer each week, such as 4 p.m. every Friday, and invite people to come and watch the new total being painted on the thermometer.

Give the honour of marking the weekly total on the countdown thermometer to various members on the fundraising organising committee. Give the paintbrush and can of paint to the person who raised the most money each week and tell them where to paint the red mark on the countdown thermometer.

Add a digital countdown thermometer to your web site or blog so that members, subscribers and people in the community can track the progress of fundraising efforts. Go on the Internet to download a free thermometer template and put it on the front page of your site.


Use the weekly painting of the week's total as an opportunity to thank committee members for their hard work. Also use the time to give a brief speech about how the money will be used, such as how many children will be helped at a hospital or how many new books you will be able to buy for the library or distribute to needy children.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood
  • Foam Core
  • Black Paint
  • Red Paint
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About the Author

Cheryl Munson has been writing since 1990, with experience as a writer and creative director in the advertising industry. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a focus on advertising from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.