10 Unique Police Department Fundraiser Ideas

Police stations are facing criticism across the country. Whether it’s because of arrest videos or the Black Lives Matter movement, police are faced with bad publicity and diminishing support in many communities. This is only one of the reasons fundraising for your police station may be more difficult. Instead of relying on the old tried…

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10 Unique Police Department Fundraiser Ideas

police department fundraiser

Police stations are facing criticism across the country. Whether it’s because of arrest videos or the Black Lives Matter movement, police are faced with bad publicity and diminishing support in many communities.

This is only one of the reasons fundraising for your police station may be more difficult. Instead of relying on the old tried and true methods, your station may need to start thinking outside the box. We have listed 10 different police department fundraisers for your police station to try this year.

  1. Gala Event
  2. Online Campaign
  3. Tip-a-Cop
  4. Donate Your Change
  5. Create a Calendar
  6. Cop Show
  7. Bailout
  8. Dog-friendly Events
  9. Complete with a Cop
  10. Police vs. Firefighter Soccer Game

10 Police Department Fundraiser Ideas


1. Gala Event

Now that more people are vaccinated and businesses are opening up again, it may be time to plan your police station’s next annual gala. A gala is a go-to fundraiser for nonprofits of all sizes. Your police station can throw this event and give people the chance to dress up and finally get out of their homes again.

If you have never held one of these events before, it is not as hard as you may think. Your police station shouldn’t have any problem finding caterers, decorators, entertainers, and more to help create a spectacular event. When planning your gala, you also can create a theme and stick with it throughout the event. Try to keep this theme in mind when planning for your keynote speaker and video that shows attendees the work your station did over the past year.

When you begin your appeal for donations at the end of the night, add an option other than cash and check with a text-to-give campaign.

With Donorbox, it’s easier than you think. All you have to do is create a campaign on Donorbox, select from the 2 available text-to-give plans, and enable text-to-give on the dashboard. You’ll get your unique campaign ID. You can share the same with your donors along with the designated texting number. Your donors can send the campaign ID to that number to initiate the process. They’ll receive a mobile-friendly donation page link where they can easily make a donation. The next time they want to repeat the same donation, it’s even quicker and easier – no more filling out forms and inputting details (as shown below)! Our repeat donation feature ensures that.


2. Online Campaign

With more people donating online than ever before, an online campaign may be the best way to raise funds for your station. Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer campaigns are both great options to raise funds with the help of your supporters. Learn more about the difference between the two here.

As people start to question why we need the police, your department can counter this message by sharing stories on why your officers joined the force and the good you do in the community. You can even ask some of your past successes to share why they are grateful to your department.

After finding a few police and community members willing to share their stories, start a crowdfunding or peer-to-peer campaign online. Include a request for donations to cover the supplies and training your department needs. Be sure to share pictures and as many details as possible.

Share these stories on your social media pages and through emails. Ask your police members and their families to share this campaign with their communities too.

As your online campaign goes on, you should be updating the campaign page with new information. To share how close you are to your fundraising goal, you can add a donation thermometer to your online campaign page, emails, and social media posts. Here’s an example of a great crowdfunding online campaign being run by Wingren Study Centre to raise funds for helping families in need.

police-department-fundraisers

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3. Tip-a-Cop

If you are looking for an easy fundraising idea that can also strengthen your community partnerships, the tip-a-cop fundraiser may be the perfect event.

Use your current connections with local restaurants to find a location and plan a night where your police force does all the serving. Spend the night making friends and collecting tips for your station.


4. Donate Your Change

Another way people can show their support is by giving their change. A recurring donation that comes out of your bank account may be too much for some community members, but giving your spare change when making a purchase is a feasible option for just about everyone.

You can work with local shops to collect change for your police department fundraiser when they make a purchase. Or just leave a jar with all the shops in the area to collect change.

A lot of people no longer use cash at all, so to get their support, you can sign up with companies like Coin Up, Helpfreely, and Benefit. These online companies collect change for nonprofits whenever the supporter shops in specific online stores. Benefit also collects change when people shop in-person at major shops like Target, Walmart, and Starbucks.


5. Create a Calendar

A little fun goes a long way. Many people only see a cop as a forceful presence. While that is sometimes necessary, your officers are members of the community and should be able to have a little fun.

This year, come up with a silly idea for a calendar. You can try calendars that are sexy, pet-friendly, or involve silly costumes. Sell them in local stores and enjoy the smiles on peoples’ faces.

When you send out your end-of-year campaign letters and emails, remember to include the calendar as an option to give. Add it to your solicitation envelopes and online donation form.


6. Cop Show

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Your department can take this Shakespeare quote to heart and throw a cop talent show.

It isn’t fun unless everyone takes part, so make sure everyone is involved in one way or another. Ask your police department to think of creative ways they can show off their talents. If this becomes a regularly scheduled event, you can change it up every once in a while with a Murder Mystery Show where all police members play a role. Make sure to have fun with this idea, add holiday cheer during Christmas and Thanksgiving,  and take the chance to get the audience involved when you can.

You can promote this event in the local news and online. Make sure you spend enough time before the event to get the community excited about the event. Sell tickets to the show and include food and drinks to make it an evening of celebration.

Example: The Police Activities League of Southwest Washington is an initiative to change the world through various inspirational activities between kids and cops. They arrange for events and opportunities with schools to increase trust and understanding of the police community. For such events, they once set up an online campaign on Donorbox to raise some funds. The recurring donation form on this page is apt for their needs. It also suggests some amounts that can be beneficial for the community.

If you’re just starting out and want a hassle-free donation page/form for your cop show fundraiser, this can be it! Remember to add all the important details about your police department and tax deductibility if any.

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7. Bailout

This fundraising idea is an obvious play on getting bailed out of jail. Your police department can set up a “jail cell” in the middle of a park or shopping center. Make sure there is a lot of foot traffic so you can get enough interaction.

Ask people to donate to bail out those jailed or pay a little to keep them in jail. You can jail local celebrities and politicians to get people involved in the game. You can even give people the option to jail their friends to make the day more interesting.

Pro tip: To keep the game moving, decide on who you are going to jail and how long you will keep them before the day of the event.


8. Dog-friendly Events

The cost of training a K-9 unit can be a costly addition to your police unit. It can cost over $20,000 to start a K-9 unit. Additional costs to the unit will come with adoption fees, vet visits, food, and training for the police officers involved.

Many dog-lovers in the community would love to support this addition to your department, but they will not know how expensive the unit is unless you tell them. Once you have informed them of the costs, you can give them a fun way to support your K-9 unit.

police fundraising ideas

Dog-friendly events are always popular. You can do a simple exhibit to show off the K-9s involved. At this police department fundraiser, you can ask for donations or sell tickets and merchandise like t-shirts and hats.

Another option for a dog-friendly event is a paw-a-thon for people and their leashed friends. Collect a fee for participation.


9. Compete with a Cop

Competitions with police officers will always be popular. Create an obstacle course on your station’s lot and promote the chance to compete with the cops. You may be surprised how many men and women want the opportunity to show their stuff.

Charge each competitor a fee to participate in the event, and if your obstacle course competition brings a crowd, you can charge tickets to watch the show. Other fundraising options at this event can be selling your annual calendar, t-shirts, and hats.

You can add to the fun at this event by giving people the option to compete against a police officer. Include prizes at the end of the competition to the winners and for everyone who attends.


10. Police vs. Firefighter Soccer Game

There is a fun rivalry between the police and firefighters in most communities. Both departments can have a little fun and raise needed funds by sharing this rivalry with the community.

police department fundraiser

Plan a soccer game or tournament to challenge the two departments. Encourage members of both departments to bring a crowd. Share the date and time of your games online and with the local press. Charge tickets and sell concessions to make it a fun event for all.

Pro tip: Another way to get the community involved is by asking local high-school or college soccer players to referee the games.


Final Thoughts

A police department is an essential part of any community. By showing the personal side of your officers, you can reshape the image of your police department and encourage a better relationship between you and the community.

Fundraising ideas are changing thanks to technology and donors’ lifestyle changes. Your department will need to find new and fun ways to fundraise to continue to draw in donations. If you are looking for more unique fundraising ideas, visit our blog. To learn more about Donorbox’s online fundraising platform, learn about our features and pricing.

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Kristine Ensor is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience working with local and international nonprofits. As a nonprofit professional she has specialized in fundraising, marketing, event planning, volunteer management, and board development.

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