Budget-friendly fundraising ideas for your nonprofit station

Date Published
07/29/2016

While most of your nonprofit broadcasting station’s money is raised through your listener’s donations, you may wonder about alternative ways to raise funding. There are a few benefits to holding events for your listeners. In addition to raising money for the station, you also give your listeners a look into the station and broadcasters, potentially drawing in a new listener base. Here are a few affordable fundraising ideas for your nonprofit station that listeners will love:

“Discuss rental options with a local art house theater.”

Host a film festival
Film festivals are events that the public responds very well to, especially if you try to channel a Cannes-like vibe by rolling out the red carpet and suggesting that attendees dress in formal wear. If your broadcasting station is a religious one, consider showing religious films or even inviting aspiring directors or cinematographers to screen their own. Not only will hosting this event bring some attention to the station, but you can also help listeners looking to break out into the film world get a foot in the door. Discuss rental options with a local art house theater. Independently-owned establishments may be willing to offer a nonprofit a rental at a discounted price, or trade a rental for some advertisement on-air.

Have a concert
Local bands often appreciate the opportunity to get their name and music out into the world. Round up some local musicians and hold a charity concert for your listeners. Charge an entry fee to get into the show, or even make it a competition where the winning band or musician gets 50 percent of the profits. This option will also get each band to publicize the event more, as the more people who attend, the more prize money there will be to be won. Make this a highly publicized event on your station, and consider broadcasting live from the event and giving the winning band or musician some airtime afterward.

Have a carnival
Carnivals and casino nights are popular fundraising options for many churches and religious organizations, so why not carry that over to your religious broadcasting station? Carnivals are a great option because they’re entertainment for the whole family. Many parents may be unable to attend other types of fundraising events, but something that incorporates children allows them to let the little ones to tag along and have fun as well. Some companies that rent out carnival equipment and rides supply games, prizes, and even clowns. While holding a carnival can be pretty pricey up front, it’s sure to yield a high return.

Carnivals are fun for the whole family.Carnivals are fun for the whole family.

Organize a race
Running and jogging is a hugely popular past time, so why not take advantage of that? Races, walks and runs are easy to organize and tend to have a high turnout, since so many people enjoy getting the exercise anyway. Many of your local listeners would be happy to take the opportunity to run a race while donating to their favorite station, but this is also a chance to appeal to runners who may be unfamiliar with your broadcast. A race would both raise money for your station and promote it to people who may otherwise have never known to listen. Talk to local businesses about sponsoring your race. According to Race Entry, organizations are likely to sponsor races held by nonprofits that they’re connected to. Consider targeting businesses that have similar views as your station, especially if you’re a religious broadcaster.

What to take into account when organizing an event
While the purpose of holding a fundraising event is to raise money for the station, it’s going to cost a little bit of money to begin with. It’s important to balance the numbers to ensure that you’ll end up turning a profit, rather than ending up in the hole by holding an event that ends up costing more than you make. Budget how much you’d like to spend on venue rental, promotion, food and beverage and other miscellaneous costs like equipment rentals other supplies, and try not to go over. Let everyone you’re working with to plan and promote the event know that your station is nonprofit as many of these businesses have special discounts set aside for nonprofits.

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