The Best Ways to Raise Money for Charity

Updated April 17, 2017

Maximise the money you raise for charity by hosting events that require minimal spending money up front and are easy to organise. These activities depend on volunteers to help with planning and execution and building partnerships within your community. Some suggestions:

Yard Sales

Ask your organisation's volunteers, friends or family members if you can use their yard or garage. Call on this same group to donate clothing, housewares, electronics and jewellery to sell at the event. Give your donors receipts for their items for tax purposes. To serve refreshments the day of the event, solicit food and coffee donations from local businesses. Host a sign- and flyer-making event in advance and post these materials around the neighbourhood several days before the yard sale. Add your event to church bulletins or local newspapers where they offer free calendar listings.

Recycling Drives

Start by selecting a recycling centre that will redeem your aluminium cans, plastic goods or paper products. Ask the business about any requirements, such as whether you will need to crush the bottles and cans or bundle the papers in stacks. Check to see if they will pick up the recyclables or if a representative can attend the event. If the centre does not provide transportation for the recyclables, ask a volunteer with a truck to help you. The best places to host recycling drives are school or church parking lots---anywhere there is ample space for traffic and storage.


Write a request-for-donation letter that explains who you are and where the proceeds will go. Include your Tax ID number if you have one. Send the letter to local businesses that can offer prizes, such as a trip for two, dinner at a local restaurant, a set of golf clubs or tickets to a sporting event. List these sponsors in all of your marketing and publicity materials. Buy a roll of raffle tickets at your local office supply store or have them custom-made for £22 to £32 for 500 to 1,000 tickets.

Car Washes

The ideal location for your car wash is on a busy street with easy access to a faucet. If your event is in the car park of a business, such as a restaurant, it will invite customers to the eatery. This is an incentive for businesses to allow you to use their car park. The materials you will need: hoses, car-wash soap, buckets, step stools and chamois rags. For safety purposes, have drinking water and sunscreen available for your volunteers.

Silent Auctions

Use your request-for-donation letter to send to businesses in exchange for pre-publicity and a sponsor listing alongside an item. Host your silent auction in conjunction with a pre-arranged event, or make it a separate activity at a library, museum or community centre. Ask the library staff or curator if space can be donated or rented for a small fee to showcase your items. You will need one to two volunteers to oversee the event.

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About the Author

Judy Asman is a former leisure columnist and restaurant reviewer for Southern California magazines and guidebooks. She is the editor of "The Astute Recorder," which focuses on food and leisure with a historic twist. After graduating with a bachelor's in mass media studies from The University of San Francisco, she later earned a master's in journalism and public affairs from American University, Washington, D.C.