As a muslim worker, you probably have volunteered for a non-profit organization. A key goal of any of these organizations is fundraising. I’ve listed some tips for fundraising that you should find useful. I’ve implemented or participated in most of the points mentioned.
Online Fundraising Ideas
Have a PayPal account
It is important to have an online account so that people can transfer money to your organization easily, especially if they are not local to your community. Paypal is the easiest way to do this. Go to Paypal.com and click the “Sign Up” button to get started.
Add PayPal button to website
People need a way to donate to your paypal account so you need to add a paypal “donate” button to your website. Here are two links to help you get started.
Create an Email List
You need to have easy access to people in your community and more importantly, people who are willing to donate to you when you need it. That is why it is important to create an email list so that you can easily send a message that you are doing a fundraising drive and you need x amount of dollars.
I recommend using a third party email list provider as that is the most reliable even though it can cost money depending who you use. I use Aweber on this website and I’ve used Mailchimp on one organization’s website. The latter has a free option for the first 2000 emails.
Create a Phone List
This is not an online tip but important nonetheless. Many older people in any community are still not internet-savvy so you need to create a phone list as well.
You can create a master spreadsheet of these phone numbers and get volunteers to call people. I recommend using google docs or another cloud-based solution that will allow you to share the spreadsheet with multiple users and set read/write permissions to each.
This is a great online tool that can be used to visually remind your website visitors how much money you are raising. All you need is a PayPal account. Check it out here: www.ChipIn.com
Affiliate Marketing of Products You Use
If there are some books / products that can benefit your community, you can create a product link on your website and get a commission anytime a person buys a product through that link.
For example, Amazon has an affiliate program and they have the biggest online store in the world. Let’s say you run a muslim girls youth group and you really like the Jannah Jewels Book series, you can create a link to it from the amazon associate website (amazon’s affiliate program) and put that link on your youth’s webpage. Now, anytime anyone buys the book from your link, you can get a commission from it.
3rd Party Non-profit Fundraising Websites
There are websites that also assist in the marketing and fund-gathering of your fundraising campaign. I haven’t used any of these but they are worthy of a look. Check out the two links below for more info:
Product Fundraising Ideas
Create your Calendar
If you are feeling adventurous, you can create a yearly calendar for your organization and sell it. I did this a couple of times for an organization I was helping. I used Adobe Indesign and got a free calendar template. I then added images and Islamic quotes to it and printed it at a print shop in town. Let me know if you are interested in me creating a tutorial on how to do this (message me on facebook or twitter).
Sell Pre-Made Calendars
If you are too busy to create your own, you can also order bulk calendars from calendar companies. They usually give discounts to non-profits especially if they are done for fundraising. Two excellent calendars I can think of are Andalusian Arts and Siratt.
Create an Audio CD of your Local Imam / Leader
This is a no-brainer. Grab an audio recorder and stick it onto your imam when he gives a lecture. Transfer the file onto your computer and use an audio editing program. Audacity is a good free one for the PC or GarageBand on the Mac.
You can then burn it onto a blank CD yourself and sell it to your community. This is the quick and easy way.
Create a Video DVD of your Local Imam / Leader
If I’m talking about audio, you know video will come next! The barrier to entry is so low nowadays to create and produce video, anyone can do it.
Just shoot the video, stick it onto your computer, do some basic editing and burn the DVD. That is the simplified explanation InshAllah, if you want a more detailed explanation, let me know and I will create a tutorial for you.
Create an Eco-Bag
Everybody likes to be green these days, especially Muslims. Actually, if you look at the prophet Muhammad’s life, peace and blessings be upon him, he was definitely a green prophet.
An eco-bag is a bag that can be reused. You can also fill it up with reusable utensils and a cup and plate. If your community has a picnic or barbeque event, you can sell these bags and explain to your fellow muslims the environmental reasons they should use it instead of the damaging styrofoam you typically see.
I’ve included a picture of an eco-bag my wife and I made and sold in the past.
Create Beautiful Posters
Based on my beautiful mosques post, you can see that many muslims like to see beautiful images that remind them of Islam. That is why a poster with a beautiful image along with an inspiring quote can sell well.
Here’s how you make one (simplified version):
- Open up your favorite graphics editor (mine is Photoshop) and create a blank image (11′ x 17′).
- Find a photo that you want to use. You can use your own or find good quality ones online for free or at an affordable price.
- Find a beautiful quote that inspires.
- Put the photo and quote onto your blank image from Step 1.
- Print and laminate it at the store.
If you have a leader in your community who has written articles or essays, consider putting them into a book and selling them. You can then either sell them or use them as gifts to those who give monetary donations.
If you find a book that has a universal appeal to everyone in your community, consider contacting the publisher of that book to buy it in bulk and then sell or gift it.
Event Fundraising Ideas
Hold a fundraising dinner
I’m sure you have gone to one. They are definitely one of the best and quickest ways to raise funds.
Here’s how: Get venue. Get food. Get motivational speaker. Get excited crowd. Fundraise. Done.
Set up a Bazaar
This can be done in conjunction with your fundraising dinner. You can either rent out tables to local vendors to sell their wares or sell your own products (from the Product Fundraising Ideas).
Get a Henna Artist
Hire or enlist the help of a local henna artist and charge each sister to get it done. It would be better to get a talented volunteer so that all proceeds can go to your organization.
Have an Auction
Get local businesses to donate their products and get creative volunteers to put them on nice silver platters and decorate the products and hold the auction.
Have a Silent Auction
Just like the previous point except the products are on display throughout your event and people would put their names and the price they would buy it privately. The advantage from a regular auction is it takes less time and you get muslims who don’t like the “public” nature of auctions to participate as well.
Give Gift Cards / Certificates
When people donate money or participate in an auction, you can give away gift cards to local businesses that donated them.
Hold a Walk-a-Thon Event
No biryani at this event A participant of your walk-a-thon will get others to sponsor them. They walk for a certain distance and the money they raise from their sponsors goes to you.
I did this once with my little sister and it wasn’t fun because she wanted to run the whole way and me being a big brother I had to make sure I kept up. It was 10 kms!
Host a Barbeque Picnic
Find a sunny weekend afternoon and have a BBQ at a local park. Make your money by selling the picnic food (burgers, hotdogs, salad, juice etc) and eco-bags.
I like this type of event because it involves being outdoors and people bring frisbees and the brothers will always create an impromptu soccer match
This is great for families. You can rent out bouncy castles and get volunteers to work at amusement park-type stations and have food and even get vendors to participate or donate. You can fundraise by either charging for the event or get families to donate as they participate.
What tips do you have?
Do you have any good fundraising tips that you want to share? Please add a comment below!
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Posted in Community on June 16, 2012