Since our founding in 1962, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has relied on individual contributors for the majority of our funds. Fundraising is vital to our mission; it allows us to treat children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases without ever sending our patients’ families a bill. But it’s not always easy — raising funds takes dedication, passion and a strong work ethic.
Some ideas are easy, whereas others take planning. Above all, let your passion for your mission be evident.
Make a budget, and give yourself some wiggle room by ensuring your fundraiser doesn't cost more than what you expect to receive in return, even if you don't make as much as you'd originally planned.
Some initiatives work better than expected; other times, what you intricately planned and thought was a good idea doesn’t turn out how you wanted. Either way, consider it all a learning experience, and most importantly, keep working at it and trying new things. When you find success in your fundraising project, you can find satisfaction in knowing you’ve helped further the mission you care about so much. For St. Jude, it's helping research, treat and defeat childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. What's your mission?
St. Jude hosts many kinds of events across the country, ranging from large formal events to small fundraisers among friends. Organizing an activity or event is a fun way to educate people about your cause.
Educate others about your cause. Offer incentives for attending, like snacks or a free T-shirt. Make a budget, and decide how much is appropriate to ask people in return for participating in your event.
From football watch parties to video game marathons, the possibilities are nearly endless. Pick your theme, and let your friends know you're hoping to spread the word and gain support for your cause.
Is there a place in your neighborhood to host a fitness event, such as a 5K walk or a 10K bike ride? Plan your route, coordinate with local authorities then spread the word on social media or signage. While you're planning, keep participant safety and enjoyment top of mind.
Selling items is a great way to raise money, plus having your logo or name of your cause on the product may give your mission widespread exposure. If your budget is small, you can start with an item like stickers. If you have money to spend, try printing T-shirts or hats.
Be smart about how you spend your budget by making sure the cost will deliver a return, even if you don't sell out of all of your items.
We love it when supporters spread our mission by wearing or using St. Jude merchandise. What makes the most sense for your budget? And what might your potential buyers be interested in purchasing?
Fundraising at your school or college is a smart way to educate and gain support from peers, but it's important to know your audience. For example, funny social media posts might work best for students, but support from administration could require a professional presentation.
Fundraising at your school or college usually requires permission from administration, so be sure to seek approval when appropriate. If your ideas won't work at your school, consider working with school officials to come up with a better fit, or you could try something outside of campus.
Host a school event
Depending on what your school allows you to do, you can get really creative. Get the word out, and make it a fun and informative experience for everyone!
- partner with art or music classes to host a show, and inform participants about your cause
- organize a rally event | St. Jude No More Cancer Rally
- evening or all-night event | St. Jude Up 'Til Dawn
- teen or college gala | St. Jude Teen Gala
- Greek events | Virginia Tech's TKE Week
- trike event for preschoolers | St. Jude Trike-A-Thon
Gain support with incentives
You could work with teachers or administrators to figure out appropriate incentives for your peers and school.
- non-uniform day for students who support your cause
- offer students a prize based on the amount they raise | St. Jude Your Way prizes
- students get a free, non-alcoholic drink at lunch or a game when they support your cause
Partnering with organizations or companies is a way to share your mission at a larger scale, by gaining help from both the organization's members and employees or the company's customers and employees.
When you present your cause and your fundraising idea to a company, do it in a professional and informative way. Because this is a partnership, come prepared to be open-minded if the company has ideas that change your initial plan.
If you find a company or organization willing to support your cause, work with them to decide on a good event. For instance, a church might have differing event ideas than a company.
- casual day for employees who support your cause
- Halloween costume party for members, customers or employees who support your cause
- workplace bake sale
You could find ways to partner with another organization or company. Consider asking if they'll let you put your logo in their store window or post to their social media channel about donating to your cause.
We hope our ideas inspire you to raise money for your own cause! When deciding which ideas work best for you:
- Consider the number of people involved and the resources available to you and your budget.
- Think about who your potential supporters are and how to speak to them.
- Set your goal, whether it's social media followers, monetary donations or partnerships.
- Decide the best tactics for reaching your specific goal.
- Be mindful of your budget — you don't want to end up with a deficit after your fundraising project.
- Most importantly, have fun and spread your mission!