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Fundraising is a large part of any youth program, especially in the nonprofit sector. It is important you get creative with your fundraising and find additional ways to generate revenue to make sure you have the necessary funds to keep the program afloat. Here are some additional tips and suggestions to ramp up your camp fundraising:

Have a Plan

The first step to fundraise or try to generate any additional revenue is to have a plan. Outline your goals and how you plan to achieve them.

Just Ask

A lot of times the hardest thing about fundraising is asking someone for money, but sometimes that’s all it takes.

Show the Value

Show your donors and sponsors where the money is going and how it impacts your program. Put together informational packets for them as well as end-of-camp reports. Keep a list of everyone you have asked to donate. Keep track on when you talked to them, what was the result, when you need to follow up, if or what they donated, etc.

Tell Your Story

To really show your value you want to tell your story. Let potential donors and sponsors in to get to know you, your organization and the impact you have on the community. A great story will build trust and make donors feel like they are part of your organization making a difference.

Say Thank You, A Lot

Just as we thank our volunteers, we must thank our sponsors and donors as well. If you have the ability, send them something as well, such as a group picture of the camp they sponsored or framed pictures of your facilities.

Learn More: Best Practices for Thanking Donors

Here are 15 ideas you can use to raise additional revenue for your organization:

Hold an Event: Hold a car wash or set up shop in front of a retail store to solicit donations. Take it to the next level with things like casino nights, dinners, 5K races, tournaments, luncheons or a food truck event. Invite your participants to attend, plus the local community.

Get Creative with Sponsors: Research the company you want to sponsor and get creative with a sponsor based on something that would give them more value. This can bring in the bigger sponsors. You can also look at in-kind sponsors as well who will provide a service for free to save your program the expense.

Get a Photographer or Videographer: Most of us take tons of pictures during camp. You can also look into a professional photographer to do portraits, action shots, or video of the kids and sell those as well, resulting in more revenue for the program.

Sell Multimedia: To take your pictures and video to the next level you can create a customized photo and video reel for each camper or group and put it on a flash drive to sell at the end of camp. You can try to do this in-house or have a company do it and you get a cut of the revenue.

Sell Merchandise: There are several websites out there where you can set up a camp store. They will do all the work for you and you get a percentage of each sale. This will also help market your program if participants are out in the community wearing your apparel and other merchandise.

Sell Goods: Set up a camp store or “canteen” on site at camp where kids can buy things throughout the week. Have the store open at events too when a lot of kids and parents are on site. You can also do things like bake sales or craft expos.

Offer Classes: Use your facilities and your great volunteers to offer classes during the off season. All the skills you teach your campers at camp can be valuable to members of the community as well.

Silent Auctions: Get donations from local businesses and hold a silent auction. This can be a one-time event or throughout camp. You can use a website for the bidding or do it in-person.

Raffles: Similar to above, you can get donated items and raffle them off throughout the year, at an event or on camp days. You can also hold a 50/50 raffle where 50% of proceeds get paid to the winner and your organization keeps the other 50%. This is a great way to raise money for the organization or a specific cause like sending the camp on an end-of-camp trip.

Recycling Program: If you have a recycling facility in your area you can raise money by collecting recyclable goods throughout camp. Turn your recyclables over to the facility at the end of the summer in exchange for cash.

Crowdfund: Use all the tools at your disposal such as websites, social media, and apps to fund an online crowdfunding campaign to rally the local community and beyond to donate to your program.

Learn More: How to Be an Effective Communicator in Your Camp Program

Get More Vendors: If you have a large program with a lot of people at your facilities you can also invite vendors out to set up a table to either sell things or promote something when parents are on-site. You can charge a vendor fee for being on-site to promote their product or service. This can be an add on to your current sponsors or a way to recruit additional businesses to be a part of your program.

Run a Contest: Hold a contest with an entry fee where part of the fee goes to your camp and the remaining can be paid out in cash or prizes. Contests can be an event on-site like an eating contest or by submission like an art contest.

Concessions at Events: Many camps have a food service program. If you have your own food service operation in-house, use this to your advantage and sell food at events taking place at your facilities or contract with other community events in your area to provide food. Concessions can be a great revenue generator for your program.

Phone-a-Thon or Online Tele-Thon: Gather all your staff and volunteers together to do a one-night Phone-a-Thon or set up a livestream and run a Tele-Thon online through YouTube, Facebook, etc.

Having a plan and getting creative with your camp fundraising will make sure you fundraise like a pro and keep the necessary funds coming in to keep your program flourishing for the long haul.

For more resources on camp fundraising, view the Fundraising Guide and visit The Summer Camp Source website.

Jason Schaitz

Jason Schaitz is a parks and recreation director with 15 years of experience managing youth sports, camps and recreation programs. He also created and manages League Source and The Summer Camp Source with the goal of providing free, high-quality resources for any type of youth sports or camp program. Take your leagues and camps to the next level by visiting our websites for free resources and education!

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