Whether it’s for a quality workout, childcare, or swim lessons, YMCAs serve a big purpose for hundreds and thousands of people in communities across the US.
But YMCA’s aren’t just a gym. They’re part of an organization focused on “building healthy spirit, mind, and body for all” which can include anything from nutrition classes to preschool and so much more.
Contrary to popular belief, membership fees and grant support aren’t enough to keep most YMCA programming and operations going year after year.
Whether you’re a fundraiser for a local YMCA or a similar member-based organization, you know how hard it is to raise money from your own members and our CauseVox team understands your struggles. To help, we’ve compiled a list of 7 effective YMCA fundraising ideas that you can use to raise money from your nonprofit’s members.
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1. Run A Peer-To-Peer Fundraiser
There’s no time like the present to run a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign. Why? Because they are the perfect way to engage your members to help raise money for your organization.
Online peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns use individuals we call personal fundraisers to fundraise for you. These individuals create their own fundraising web pages where they can share stories about their experience with your organization and then ask friends and family to donate.
We’ve seen many member-based causes use CauseVox to power their peer-to-peer fundraisers, including the Carlisle Family YMCA in Carlisle, PA. In 2015, this YMCA raised over 96,000 through 22 different individuals acting as personal fundraisers.
To get started with your own peer-to-peer fundraiser, schedule a free, no obligation one-on-one demo with our team.
2. Host A Game Tournament
One of the best things about the YMCA system (and other similar organizations) is their ability to reach a diverse audience of members. At the Y, it’s not just about getting physically healthy, it’s about creating strong communities.
As a fundraiser for a member-based organization, you may have organized one too many marathons or relay races in your time. If you think you’ve overdone your tried-and-true fundraisers, consider hosting a game tournament.
ENGAGE, a CauseVox user, joined their love of board games with a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign and tripled their original goal! Yes, tripled!
Participants created personal fundraising pages and shared them with their networks through email and social media in order to raise money on their own before the tournament.
Don’t underestimate the power of online fundraising and social sharing when you’re planning an in-person fundraising event.
3. Use Your Resources
Social good organizations like the YMCA generally have a number of great resources that can help shape everyday fundraisers, including pools, gyms, and tracks. So, think outside the box to plan a fundraiser that will excite your members such as a “dive-in” movie night or a basketball tournament.
Hands-on, family friendly events will bring people out, engage them in your mission, and raise money to support it. Remember to promote your event on social media and use CauseVox to collect online donations before, during, and after the event.
4. Hold A Gala
Make it a night to remember for your members by hosting a gala or soiree. It needn’t be extravagant, but make it worthwhile for attendees.
Use your own space (if possible) to cut down on costs, and work with a local restaurant or caterer to plan a menu that will knock everyone’s socks off. And don’t forget live entertainment! You want people to leave wondering when the next event will be.
To simplify the registration process, use CauseVox to support the online event. By creating customizable donation tiers on your fundraising website, your attendees can easily select the number of tickets they’re interested in purchasing and even give a little extra if they’re feeling generous.
5. Host A Unique Learning Event
Many YMCA’s have a member-base that spans generations, socioeconomic statuses, genders, ethnicities, etc. But for some members, making an outright donation may not be in their budget. You can still capture the attention of these individuals by offering classes or other unique learning opportunities for those who may not otherwise be able to give.
For example, you may want to provide ethnic cooking classes, nutritional assistance, or even literacy classes.
6. Organize An Online Auction
Online auctions are a great, effective way for your YMCA to raise money from your members.
After collecting items for bid, upload photos, descriptions and bid amounts on CauseVox. Then, use the blog feature to keep bidders updated on the item’s status. Or, combine your online auction with a crowdfunding campaign to capture donations for those uninterested in participating in the auction.
Here’s an example of a combined online fundraiser and auction:
Don’t forget to use your social media accounts to rally your members and increase the reach of your auction. Hot-ticket items can (and should) be promoted throughout the drive to ensure maximum dollar!
7. Choose An Impact And Run Wit It
Your members care about your community and want to see it thrive, so choose an impact area that will make a difference and “run with it!”
For example, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte has water safety awareness/drowning prevention program that is funded through direct donations to that cause. For $50, 2 children are taught water safety. Throughout the summer, the YMCA holds a fundraiser specifically to raise money for this impact.
What are the needs in your own community? Determine what your YMCA can do to better lives of members and their neighbors (make sure it aligns with your mission!) and rally everyone around it.
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Keep in mind that donors like to give a number of ways, so make it easy for them to give both in-person and online by creating a crowdfunding site and keeping an active link on your website and social media profiles.
YMCAs and other similar member-based organizations create strong, healthy, happy communities. They aren’t just a place to hop on the treadmill. Instead, YMCAs touch the lives of people from all walks of life.
Your members see value in your organization, which is why they’ve joined in the first place. However, they need to be reminded that the work you do requires significant support beyond membership fees.
Give them the opportunity to get involved in online campaigns, as personal fundraisers, through an auction, tournament, or another event. Reach your members where they are, give them something of value, and you’ll notice a steady fundraising income throughout the year.
To learn about other YMCA fundraising ideas, check out the following resources: