Veterans should be our most honored citizens, but today over 60,000 vets live on the street and 1.4 million are at risk for homelessness. Veterans’ organizations strive to fix this statistic and create a safe haven for veterans as they struggle to reenter society. They focus on providing vets with basics like housing, medical care, counseling, and loans.
This article provides 11 fundraising ideas for veterans’ organizations to help you help our heroes.
The following fundraising ideas can be done online or in-person and will offer nonprofits the chance to raise money, reach new donors, and build relationships with supporters.
Donor walls are an excellent way to encourage donations. Self-engraved bricks are a unique take on this idea. For a predetermined gift amount, donors can add their name or the name of a soldier they want to honor. Nonprofits can choose to add these bricks to their facility or use them in an art display for visitors to see. Engraved brick fundraisers can be held in the short or long term and are an excellent way for nonprofits to strengthen relationships with their donors.
Pro tip: In a similar way, have a virtual donor wall on your fundraising page for all the donations made to this fundraiser. There you can acknowledge the donors and their donation amounts. A gesture like this would help you build a long-term relationship with your donors. For example, Military Veteran Project’s fundraising page, shown in the image below, has a virtual donor wall. Donors’ comments are also added to it.
Walkathons are another popular fundraiser for veterans’ organizations. By focusing on health and physical stamina, organizations can encourage donors to support veterans in their communities.
Nonprofits can sell tickets to the walkathon and also inspire them to raise funds for the organization with peer-to-peer campaigns. Those that wish to fundraise for the organization can create their own online campaign page and collect pledges and donations from their friends and family. Nonprofits can support them with stories of veterans, past impacts, and updates on how the organization will use the gifts today.
Nonprofits can also choose to sell products to event participants and attendees, and provide sell space for vendors and sponsors to hawk their wares at the event.
Most major chains have campaigns to partner with nonprofits to raise funds. This type of fundraiser is one of the simplest on the list. Veterans’ organizations can connect with local restaurants to start one of these fundraisers.
Both sides decide on a day, and nonprofits are responsible for promoting this day and location to their supporters online. The organization’s donors and volunteers purchase food, and a percentage of the company’s proceeds is sent to the nonprofit.
An envelope fundraiser can work well for veterans’ organizations that have a lot of foot traffic. Nonprofits can create a display of envelopes with specific amounts on a bulletin board in their busiest location. Visitors who walk by can choose an envelope and donate the amount listed. Organizations that do not have many visitors can still host this fundraiser online with an online donation form that offers donors the chance to choose an “envelope” and pay a specific amount.
Pro tip: The best way to encourage people to give larger amounts is by sharing details on how each donation helps a veteran. In-person and online campaigns can give details on how each amount will be used and share testimonials from veterans enjoying these benefits. For example, the below campaign donation form – it has suggested donation amounts to help donors give the right amount.
These events have historically been in-person events that cater to donors with greater giving capacity, but the current pandemic has allowed nonprofits to think outside the box and reach a larger audience.
When holding a gala online, nonprofits can hold online raffles and auctions for the attendees. The best way to get the most from these fundraisers is to advertise the raffle and auction items online before the event with social media and email blasts.
Pro tip: Veterans’ organizations can still sell tickets to some donors by offering a VIP experience and providing food and alcohol delivery. Organizations can encourage these donors to dress up for the event and get the first chance to participate in other fundraising games and activities.
Organizations can also create sponsorship packages for these events. Since online events can reach audiences worldwide, more companies may be interested in connecting with these online attendees. For example, Front Line Coalition’s gala fundraising page sells tickets for sponsorships at various levels. It can also be used by donors to make custom donations.
The United States flag is one of the greatest symbols of patriotism. Veterans’ organizations understand its importance to their beneficiaries and the individuals that give.
For a fee, these veterans’ organizations will hang a flag on the donor’s home or yard several days throughout the year. Most organizations offer this service on holidays. Organizations provide the flag, delivery, and pickup.
Raffles generally give the prize to the winner, but with a reverse raffle, the loser walks away with the pot. This unique take on the raffle can raise a significant amount if done the right way.
Individuals purchase one or more raffle tickets and wait for the game to begin. When organizations start calling out numbers, those holding those tickets are taken out of the game. The individual that hasn’t had their number called in the end wins a percentage of the funds collected or a pre-determined amount.
With reverse raffles, veterans’ organizations can sell higher-priced raffle tickets to their supporters because the payout is more significant. Organizations that are concerned they may lose most attendees before the end can find other ways to entice them to stay. When the raffle reaches the last ten tickets, organizations can ask these individuals if they want to split the pot or keep going. This change can turn the raffle into a fun experience and a chance for more than one winner.
Change fundraisers can be done in person or online. Veterans’ organizations can connect with businesses in the community and ask them to place a jar or bowl at the cash register to gather donations. Some businesses may even choose to offer customers the chance to round up their purchase amount and give the change to an organization. This can be done for people who purchase with cash or credit card. Donors who buy things online can also donate their change with companies like Coin Up.
Christmas, Thanksgiving, and the new year are full of opportunities to give. Veterans’ organizations can benefit from donors’ generosity during this season of holidays. More people are willing to donate during this time and when approached with a cause they support, they tend to give more.
The below crowdfunding campaign by Operation Help a Hero focuses on many fundraising programs, among which the first is Operation Christmas Spirit. It is meant to support service members and their kids with gifts, sponsorships, and toys during the time of Christmas. This campaign is great with its social media shareability, a popup donation form, and donor wall.
In the military, boots are a necessity and a way to honor those who have fallen. Since 1991, and the Gulf War, a combination of rifle, helmet, dog tags, and boots are used as a “battlefield cross” symbolizing loss. With shoe campaigns, veterans’ organizations can find a way to fundraise with this important symbolism. Organizations can ask supporters to donate new and lightly used shoes.
Once your organization has a collection of shoes, you can raise funds in a few different ways. Companies like The Fundraising Company pay nonprofits for their shoe collections. After the organization packs up its collection of shoes, these companies arrange a pickup and weigh the amount. A check is mailed to your veterans’ organization and the shoes are sent to struggling individuals in developing countries.
Alternatively, raise funds from the shoe collection with a garage sale or sell shoes online with a fundraising campaign through images and descriptions. Supporters can buy the shoes and feel good about their purchase.
A virtual fitness challenge is another way veterans’ organizations can raise funds and encourage healthy living. Many donors have a military background and love to participate in physical challenges of any sort. A virtual fitness challenge lets participants sign up for a challenge to do any activity for a certain amount of time.
Participants can also raise funds for the organization from their friends and family. A peer-to-peer fundraising campaign is great. Just invite some of the participants who are also ardent supporters of your cause to fundraise for your campaign and leverage the power of their network to raise more funds.
Veterans’ organizations can develop fundraising campaigns that support the troops and build a community of patriotism and generosity. We hope that these 11 unique yet simple ideas will help you find the best one for your organization.
Donorbox is here to help provide veteran’s organizations with affordable options to raise funds online. Visit our website to learn more about features like text-to-give, crowdfunding campaigns, peer-to-peer campaigns, and our donor management system. If you’d like more fundraising and event ideas, and nonprofit management tips, check out our blog.