Giving Hope to the Future through Education

    LIFE Ideas
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"Fundraising is the gentle art of teaching others the joy of giving."
                                                                                           - Hank Rosso

Fundraising Ideas

We have been BRAINSTORMING a ton of ideas for organizing an Avivara LIFE (
Legendary Independent Fundraising Event).
See if any of the ideas below sound like fun. But remember, these ideas are just starting points to prompt your thinking. The events themselves can be as grand, or as simple as you want to make them. After you have chosen one, we do encourage you to register your event with us. That way it will be an "official" Avivara event where donations made by the participants would be tax-deductible and we will be able to provide you with a variety of resources to help you with your event.

Now, here are rules.

Rule # 1: Have fun! Choose to something that you like to do and then invite friends, family, neighbors co-workers, whomever to join in the fun with you.
Rule # 2: Don't be afraid to ask. We can sometimes think that we are imposing on people by asking them to participate in (and donate to) our events. But what's the worst that can happen. They will say no. Then they will be the ones missing out on the fun and the chance to do something good for the world. (P.S. Research shows that giving makes people happier, so just remind yourself that you are giving people the opportunity to be happy!)

Rule # 3: Please don't do anything that is unsafe, illegal, immoral or offensive. Please review our LIFE Organizer Guidelines/Agreement to learn more about our guidelines for organizing a fundraising event on behalf of Avivara. We also ask that you try and make your events as "green" (environmentally friendly) as possible.

Now, onto the ideas!

Building a Sense of Community

Idea: Neighborhood Barbecue & Potluck
Premise: Share a warm summer night with friends and neighbors. Invite them to a potluck where they will brings salads and desserts and you will supply the hot dogs and hamburgers (for a donation) of course. Cut your costs by getting a local supermarket to supply the meat and buns.

Idea: Yard/Garage Sale
Premise: Clear out the clutter and raise lots of money! Encourage neighbors, family, friends and co-workers to clean out their basements and garages and donate their fabulous finds to your super-sized yard sale.

Idea: Pool Party
Premise: If you have the resources (like a pool and proper supervision if you will be working with children), a pool party can be an awesome fund-raiser for summer. Sell snacks, raffle of prizes, and set up water carnival type games (i.e. ring toss with an inflated ring, cannonball contests, etc.)

Idea: Neighborhood Water Balloon Olympics
Premise: Find a large open space in your neighborhood, like a park or field and organize games using water balloons, such as who can throw a balloon the farthest to a partner without it breaking, batting practice with water balloons, etc. Charge $0.10 per balloon and a small entry fee $1.00 for each competition.

Idea: Concert/Talent Show in the Park
Premise: Have your own local talent show and concert. Many local bands just starting out will play for free and you can have other amateur acts as well (i.e., stupid dog tricks, juggling, etc.) Prizes for the winners. Attendees can pay an entrance fee or so much per vote for their favorite performer(s).

Idea: Community Cleanup
Premise: Look around your community and find an area like a field or park that's in need of a good cleanup. Then ask friends, family and neighbors to seek out sponsors or pledges for each hour they work on cleaning up the area. Cleaning could include weeding, picking up trash, painting over graffiti, etc. 

Idea: Yard Work
Premise: Everyone who owns a home needs yard work done. Take orders from neighbors for a good yard cleaning on one weekend, or sign them up for an entire season of mowing, raking, weeding, whatever. Keep your rates competitive with local landscapers. It is always better to work as a team, with adult supervision if children are involved. This could also include snow-shoveling in the winter.

Idea: Neighborhood Classic Movie Night
Premise: Host a classic movie night in your backyard for friends and neighbors. Rent a classic movie and a projector, hang up a white sheet and you will be set for a night of hoots and hollers. Sell popcorn, Junior Mints, and beverages to increase your donations. Charge $2.00 to attend. Tell them to bring their own chairs or blankets.

Idea: Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt
Premise: Teams from the neighborhood participate in a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Each team of three pays an entry fee and the team to find the most articles first wins a prize.

Idea: Christmas Caroling
Premise: Have your family sing Christmas carols in your neighborhood, and ask for a donation rather than milk and cookies.

Idea: Pumpkin Carving Contest
Premise: Neighbors enter a pumpkin carving contest at Halloween. Participants pay an entrance fee and the winning pumpkins earn 1/3 of the money collected. Categories could include biggest, scariest, most intricate, etc.

Sports, Games, Tournaments & Competitions

Idea: Just for Fun Game
Premise: Sports like softball, soccer, football, and basketball are always lots of fun and a great way to raise funds. Organize games like parents vs. kids, girls vs. boys, teachers vs. students and charge a small fee to join a team and/or charge spectators a donation fee to cheer on their favorite team. Also, think about setting up a small concession stand during the game.

Idea: Bowling Party
Everyone has fun bowling. Work out a deal with a local bowling alley to have a portion of the lanes fee go to Avivara. Invite friends, neighbors, family and co-workers. The best part about this fundraiser is that there is no setup and cleanup required. Another wrinkle on this idea is to do blindfolded bowling just for the laughter! Believe it or not, some people actually play better this way.

Idea: Pool Tournament
Premise: Invite your friends to participate in a pool tournament at a local billiards center. Charge an tournament entrance fee and provide chintzy prizes to the winner(s).

Idea: Golf Tournament
Premise: Invite your friends to a golf tournament. Try to talk the golf course into donating part of the green fees. Charge an entrance fee for the tournament which would be a donation to Avivara. Again chintzy prizes to winner(s) (i.e. lowest score, highest score, longest drive, longest putt, etc.) Another wrinkle to this would be to have a "swindle" tournament where players pay a fee to buy shots during the tournament (kind of like "mulligans" but with a fee attached.)

Idea: Free Throw or "Horse" Tournament
Premise: Borrow a school gym for an afternoon and set up your own free throw and "horse" tournament. Charge an entry fee and provide awards and ribbons to the winners.

Idea: Hoop It Up
Premise: At half time during a football or basketball game offer people the chance to throw a football three times at a target or shoot 3 free throws for $3.00. If a person hits all three in a row, they win a prize.

Idea: Yo-Yo Competition
Premise: Have a yo-yo competition. Charge an entrance fee. Prizes for the best tricks.

Idea: Double-Dutch Jump Rope Competition
Premise: Have a competition. Charge a small team entrance fee. Prizes to the winners.

Idea: Chess or Checkers Tournament
Premise: Just like other tournaments. Find a venue, charge and entrance fee and give chintzy prizes to the winners.

Idea: Hot Dog Eating Competition (or pies, or cookies, or whatever)
Premise: Find a venue, get the hot dogs, pies or cookies donated, charge a fee, give a monetary prize (a percent of the entrance fees) to the winner. 

Idea: Find your own Idol
Premise: Host an Idol contest at a local karaoke bar. Find local celebrities to be judges. Charge an entry fee for contestants and charge $1.00 a vote from the audience.

Idea: A Taste of the Best
Premise: Encourage local cooks and restaurants to enter their best examples of cooking (chili, wings, pies, etc.) Charge a fee for people to sample the entries and vote for the best of each food group. Winners will be announced in local press.

Idea: Host a Super Bowl, March Madness, World Cup or World Series Party
Premise: If you have a large screen TV, invite friends over for beverages, snacks and a lot of cheering to enjoy the "big" game. Ask for a donation for the privilege of watching the game on your large screen TV and enjoying your hospitality.

Guilty Pleasures (adults only, please.)

Idea: Wine or Beer Tasting Party
Premise: Gather friends over for a wine or beer tasting party. Experience and compare a selection of wines or beers. You could also do a "blind" tasting and have your guests identify different "mystery" beverages from a list of clues. Charge a fee of $25.00 to $50.00 to attend depending on the quality of the wines served.

Idea: Host a Happy Hour
Premise: Host a happy hour at a local bar/tavern where a percentage of the proceeds go to Avivara. Make arrangements with the bar/tavern owner to promote their business for a percentage of the proceeds that night.

Idea: Host a Micro-Brewery Tour
Premise: Hire a bus to take your fiends on an evening Pub-Jump. Sample beers from a variety of local micro-breweries. Charge a fee for the bus and ask the breweries to donate percentage of the sales to Avivara.

Idea: Chocolate to Die For
Premise: Invite friends over for a chocolate tasting. Like wine tasting, you would charge a fee to attend, and then share and compare a variety of chocolates (ideally donated from local chocolatiers.) This could include a "blind" tasting competition where guests try to match mystery chocolates to written descriptions.

Idea: Burgers & Beer
Premise: Invite friends and neighbors over to "Build their own Gargantuan Burger" from ingredients you provide. Charge a fee to attend, get donations if possible from your local grocery store. have a well-stocked cooler with a variety of beers.

Idea: Pizza and Beer
Premise: Similar ideas to the Burgers and Beer above, but provide folks with a variety of ingredients to make their own personal pizza. Have them make their own crusts and add toppings. This works really great if you have access to an outdoor pizza oven. Check with your local pizza parlor to see how they might like to get involved as well. Charge a fee and have a well-stocked cooler.

Idea: Poker Party
Premise: Invite friends over for a friendly game of poker or "Texas Hold'em". Set a an amount of chips that need to be bought (i.e. $10.00-$25.00 depending on how rich your friends are) and then have folks agree that all winnings from that evening will be donated to Avivara.


Basically all "a-thons" work the same way. You and friends or family organize an event where you ask participants to seek sponsors to pledge a certain amount of money for the distance or time spent engaged in the "a-thon." Different types of a-thons could include:
Spin-a-thon (Spinning is riding a stationary bike)
Clean-a-thon (like a street or section of a highway)
Plant a Tree-a-thon (help with a local reforestation project and raise money for Avivara at the same time)
Make up your own-a-thon

Have I Got a Deal for You (i.e. products & services)

Idea: Holiday Flowers
Premise: Contact your local florist and ask for a special deal to sell flowers at your work on Valentine's Day. Take orders in advance and deliver the flowers on that special day.

Idea: Morning Doughnut Sales
Premise: Contact your local doughnut shop and buy doughnuts to sell at work or school. Net proceeds go to Avivara. One school earned $2,000 last year with this idea doing it just one day a week.

Idea Pizza for Lunch
Premise: Buy large pizzas from your local pizza parlor. Sell slices at lunch. All profits to Avivara. (Note: this works really well in schools since kids love a break from their regular hot lunches. One school makes $1500 a month using this idea.)

Idea: Lemonade Stand
Premise: Who can resist a cool drink on a hot summer day. Low investment, high return. Just check with your local city officials and health department to make sure you aren't breaking any laws.

Idea: Pancake Breakfast
Premise: This requires a venue with a kitchen and seating (a church or local school perhaps?) and a crew to prepare the breakfast. Easy and fun event for churches and schools that want to support Avivara. Charge between $3.00-$5.00 per person.

Idea: Ethnic Dinner (Italian, Chinese, Guatemalan, Mexican, Filipino, etc.)
Premise: Offer an ethnic dinner potluck. Another great event for schools/churches with a sizable ethnic community. Charge between $5.00-$8.00 per person.

Idea: Gift Wrap Table in a Local Shopping Mall
Premise: Arrange with a local shopping mall to set up a gift wrap center. Net proceeds to go to Avivara.

Idea: The Tried and True Car Wash
Premise: Hold a car-wash at a local service station. If they will let you, operate a concession stand with canned beverages and snacks as well.

Idea: Parents Night Out/Babysitting Services
Premise: Offer to babysit for those overworked parents who really need a night out. Include dinner, movies and activities for the kids. Babysitting fees are contributed to Avivara

Idea: Fashion Boutique Rummage Sale
Premise: Collect from friends, neighbors and family once used prom dresses, bridesmaid gowns, party dresses and tuxedos that no longer fit and have a special "Fashion Boutique Sale. Sell these retro fashion items for $20-$50, make a bundle and never again have to see that bright pink bridesmaid dress!

Idea: Cleanup Crews
Premise: Often times clubs and organizations can earn money by cleaning up sports venues after events. Check with your local college or professional sports venue.

Idea: Rent-a-Helper
Premise: Let neighbors know that you are available to help them tasks that need an extra hand (moving, cleaning out the garage, landscaping, etc.) Charge a reasonable fee for your services which is donated to Avivara.

Idea: Consumer Testing
Premise: Some manufacturing firms or market research companies pay money to groups that can guarantee  a certain number of participants in a day long product evaluation session. Try contacting the public relations departments of local companies if they are open to paying your group for being "guinea pigs" for a day.

Idea: White Elephant Christmas Gifts Sale
Premise: You know that CD you never listen to, that coffee mug with the picture of Elton John, or those shocking comedy socks. Have all your co-workers bring those items to work and sell them in a White Elephant Christmas Sale. They will be perfect gifts for the person has already has everything. All proceeds go to Avivara.

Idea: Equipment Swap Meet
Premise: We all have tools and equipment that we no longer use (that rock polisher, darkroom gear, skiing gear, rock-climbing equipment, etc.) Set up a Swap meet where those things are exchanged and or sold. Charge a fee for table, or ask for a percentage of all sales.

Idea: An Extra Day of Vacation
Premise: Convince your employer (or other local company) to allow one worker an extra paid vacation day. Have the employees pay for the chance to win the extra day off in a raffle.

Idea: Host a Clinic  
Premise: Ask a local chef, coach, sports star, wine expert, stockbroker, etc. to offer a one-day clinic. The fee charged for the clinic would go to Avivara.

Idea: Guatemalan Bracelets or Craft Items
Premise: Avivara maintains an inventory in the United States of hand-crafted bracelets and craft items (purses, fabrics, pillow covers, table coverings, wall hangings, etc.) If you would be interested in selling these items at a church, school or home-based event, contact us for more information.

In Lieu of....
This group of events will involve letting go of some things you might have wanted for yourself.

Idea: Birthday Presents
Premise: Host a birthday party but in lieu of presents, ask people to make a donation to Avivara equal to what they would paid for a birthday present. This has been done by many young people who have a strong sense of social justice.

Idea: Wedding Presents
Premise: For those of you getting married who already have well-established households (and too much stuff already) ask for donations to Avivara in lieu of wedding presents.

Idea: Retirement Gifts
Premise: Do you really want a plaque and a watch? Ask your company to give a donation to Avivara instead.

Idea: Give Up One Latte, Dessert, or Alcoholic Beverage a Week
Premise: Estimate what you spend on one of these "extras" each week and then put aside what you would have paid for one of them into a "piggybank" for Avivara. You'll be surprised at how quickly this adds up.

Designed Especially for the Internet Savvy Couch Potato
You've walked. You've attended the dinners. You've even thrown out your hip in a bowling tournament. YOU ARE READY FOR A LITTLE R&R! So grab a cup of coffee, find your favorite Lazy-Boy Recliner and hook yourself up to the Internet.

Idea: Connect with all your friends on Facebook and encourage them to "Like" the Avivara Page on Facebook. (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Avivara/102787088585)
Premise: This helps keep more people aware of all the things Avivara is doing to support education in Guatemala.

Idea: Write an email to all your friends encouraging them to sign up to receive the Avivara Monthly Newsetter, The Blackboard. (http://www.avivara.org/theblackboardnewsletter.html)
Premise: This also keeps folks informed about Avivara's activities.

Idea: Encourage your friends and co-workers to sign up to use Goodsearch.com and identify Avivara as the charity they would like to support when using this service.
Premise: By using this search engine and purchasing goods and services from a number of well-known online retailers (Amazon, Lands End, etc.) online through their link, Avivara earns easy money.  

Idea: Set Up an Online Auction
Premise: This might require a little more work, but ask your friends and neighbors to donate collectibles that can be auctioned off on eBay with the proceeds going to Avivara.

Wild, Wacky and Just a Little Outside the Box
Below are some of our favorites, mostly because of their humor and creativity. They won't be for everyone, but if you have the inclination to get involved in something a little different, they might be just the event for you.

Idea: Cowpattie Bingo
Premise: Find a large fenced field and create a grid with string with at least 50 spots or more. Number the squares and charge people to sign up for a particular square. Then lead a cow to the middle of the grid. When the cow "does his/her thing" the numbered square with the cowpattie wins.

Idea: Anti-Fashion Fashion Show
Premise: Dig through your closet for the worst ideas in fashion history. Combine polyester, paisley and punk to create the most hideous fashion outfit possible. Invite friends to the show, charge an entrance fee to walk the catwalk. Everybody votes and in this case, worst wins.

Idea: Polar Bear Plunge
Premise: Many communities have a Polar Bear Plunge on January 1st. Collect pledges from family, friends and coworkers, i.e., so much for each minute you can stay in the frigid waters. Convince others to join you in this madness as well.

Idea: Demolish Something
Premise: Find a building or structure that is about to be demolished in your local area. Ask the demolishing contractor if you can sell raffle tickets to win a chance to "push the button."

Idea: Fire Truck Pull
Premise: Ask the local fire station if they will let you borrow one of their trucks. Teams then sign up to pull the truck across a parking lot. Teams pay an entry fee and the team that pulls the truck a specified distance in the shortest amount of time wins a prize and "bragging rights."

Idea: Canoe Jousting
Premise: Canoes don't exactly evoke the image of a charging steed, but they do bring "brave knights" within striking distance of one another. While the "jouster" tries to keep his or her balance atop a mid-canoe platform, two paddlers in each canoe maneuver the boats around. Last jouster standing is the winner.

Idea: Investing in the Future
Premise: Ask friends to set aside a small amount of money ($10-25) and then challenge them to find ways to double or triple that money in three months. For example, they could buy seedlings, grow plants and sell them. Or buy a snow shovel to clear driveways or sidewalks. At the end of three months, they get to keep their original investment and give all the "dividends" to Avivara. 

Idea: Goblin Insurance
Premise: Prior to Halloween sell "Goblin Insurance." You can charge between $5-15 per "policy." What you agree to do is clean up any toilet-papering, egg-throwing, or window-soaping that might happen to a residence or business on Halloween. (You do not agree to repair vandalized items - such as broken windows or blown-up mailboxes, however.)
Idea: 50's Sock Hop
Premise: Find a gym and a DJ and hold your own sock hop (Or if it is warm summer night, have a "Slab Dance" on an empty tennis court.) Have a dance and best-dressed for the decade contest. Prizes to the winners, entry fees to Avivara. 

Fundraising Ideas
Do you have any good LIFE ideas?

Contact us if you have an idea you think would be good to add to our list. We will make sure to give you credit for coming up with the idea

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