When you look around your neighborhood or community, do you notice a glaring need that you’d like to address? Do you wonder if, provided the resources, you could improve the lives of those around you? Whether through a community garden, an arts program, a fundraiser for a local charity or another project, you have the power to initiate meaningful change through unique fundraising ideas for your community. Crowdfunding allows you to access the money necessary to get your work started. Fundraisers bring your community together and allow you to forge deeper bonds with those who want to help, all while improving your shared space. Here are some fundraising ideas to help you get started in your community.
Six Great Ways to Support the Community:
- Hold a kick-off barbecue in a local park
Spread the word about your fundraiser to your community by holding an event the night it launches. Through invitations you can give neighbors a sneak peak at your plans, as well as an opportunity to get involved as early on in the process as possible. On the night of your launch, chat with guests and get as much feedback as you can. Seek out individuals whose specialized knowledge could benefit your campaign, and celebrate, raise awareness, and recruit potential collaborators all in one evening.
- Create volunteer days for outdoor projects
For outdoor projects such as building a garden, clearing a hiking trail, or improving existing infrastructure, create volunteer days in which the community comes together to do some heavy lifting. Add some music, and suddenly a day of weeding turns into an afternoon party. Document the event on your page and post it on social media to showcase your community’s effort and enthusiasm. To avoid injury, though, make sure the work is suited to the age groups of the volunteers, maybe designating kid-safe tasks to the younger set.
- Organize a give-back social event – Plan a community social event that centers around giving back. Be it a blood drive for a fundraiser to expand health resources, a kids clothing drive for one that focuses on childrens’ issues, or a day of tree-planting for a campaign related to the environment, coming together as a community demonstrates sincere commitment to a cause. Not only does the activity strengthen ties within your neighborhood, it also creates connections with other groups who share your values. Since crowdfunding is all about teamwork and social connections, these events can only help your campaign.
- Rally kids in the community for support
Recruit industrious kids in your neighborhood to hold lemonade stands for your fundraiser, and encourage them to spread the word about your project. Hold bake sales, raffles and any other forms of fundraising that appeal to you, but use these events as opportunities to explain what you’re working on and why. Feature the link to your YouCaring campaign prominently, and solicit social media shares.
- Help a neighbor
Not all community fundraisers go toward developing infrastructure or creating a program. Many aren’t even “projects” in the traditional sense, but rather fundraisers created solely to accommodate the needs of a neighbor in a bind. Community fundraisers for individuals can help the recipient through a crisis or financial downturn, for example by providing enough money to make rent. These fundraisers are popular in areas where property values have risen quickly and unexpectedly, displacing individuals or small businesses that may have been a pillar of the community.
- Get social
Take advantage of your unique crowdfunding resources by promoting your community fundraiser online with a social media hashtag. Feature posts from people who will benefit from your project, and encourage widespread shares and likes from within the community. Because this project will serve a wide group of people, you have a unique opportunity to engage with a broader net of online contacts. Those who can’t donate can help the fundraising process by communicating it to those who might be able to.
YouCaring Community in Action
- B&H Dairy Restaurant, a landmark New York City deli that has operated in the same location since 1938, ran into unexpected trouble in March. The owners were required to make unforeseen upgrades to their facilities after an explosion and fire destroyed half their block and killed several people. Although B&H wasn’t touched by the fire, city officials demanded that owners Fawzy and Ola make changes that would cost them nearly $30,000 before it could reopen. The expenses seemed insurmountable to the couple, and a just few months ago, closure seemed inevitable. But due to a successful YouCaring campaign and publicity in outlets including the New York Times, the deli will finally reopen this week.
- Soul Fire Farm is bringing produce to the people. The Petersburgh, N.Y, farm grew from a small family property into a national leader in the food justice movement after only three seasons. The community grows sustainable, organic food and delivers it to people living in food deserts. So far they’ve delivered 3,980 bushels of food, 73 percent in neighborhoods that wouldn’t otherwise have access to it, and developed farm and food justice programming to under-served communities. As part of an expansion effort, they held a fundraiser on YouCaring that received just shy of $58,000 in donations.
Community fundraisers provide a special opportunity to reawaken the spirit of neighborly cooperation, providing recipients the tools to lending help a hand and positively impact their community. In the process of conducting a crowdfunding campaign, users develop friendships, strengthen bonds, and reach out to donors who they may have never even met before.
Take the first step toward making a difference in your community. Start your own free YouCaring fundraiser.