Fundraising Guide and Tools


The Valparaiso Family YMCA

We believe a sense of humor is key.  As important as our cause is, you and your potential donors should have fun.  The following suggestions come from our pledge-getters.  Their ideas are tried and true.  If one doesn’t work for you another will.  But no one knows your contacts better than you do.  Don’t be afraid to improvise.  Please remember that you’re not pleading for money or asking for a favor.  You’re helping people, and giving others the opportunity to do the same.

You won’t believe how many people you know. What about contacting:

  • Your holiday card, wedding or shower list
  • Your school friends and/or your child’s school friends
  • Co-workers
  • Members in your clubs, organizations, place of worship
  • Neighbors
  • Places where you do business – Check out your contact list...  What about your attorney, accountant, dentist, doctor, florist, insurance agent, veterinarian

You can reach your potential donors individually, through an event, or through a local business.

  • In person, contact family, friends, family members, co-workers, clubs, organizations, businesses.
  • Host a party or other event.  Charge a small fee or have a donation basket in a prominent spot.
  • Contact the local companies you do business with.  Many will support you and your efforts. 


  • Have a yard sale.
  • Use social media sites to let others know about your goal.
  • On your birthday, ask your family and friends to donate to the Valparaiso Family YMCA instead of getting you a gift.
  • Post a message at work, your place of worship, or workout facility asking for pledges.
  • Place a message in the bulletins or newsletters of the organizations to which you belong.
  • Ask 10 friends to get 10 donations for your fundraising efforts.  Reward the friend who raises the most money with a home-cooked meal or dinner out.
  • Use a day off to run errands for people and charge for your services.
  • Ask a business that delivers if they need help with deliveries and get paid for your time.  This is also a great team project.
  • Ask your donors if their companies have a matching gift program to match their contributions.
  • Ask your contacts to forward your emails to their friends and family members. 
  • If you can’t sing, ask for donations from friends to sing at a local Karaoke Night near you.  While you Karaoke, encourage people to make donations to stop you from singing.


  • Create an Office Piggy Bank for everyone to donate spare change.
  • Ask your boss.
  • Ask your boss to match the total you or your team raises.
  • Email the clubs and organizations you belong to.
  • Hold a silent auction during work hours.  Solicit area businesses for prizes (movie passes, spa, restaurant and car wash gift certificates, etc.).
  • Cook or do yard work for the highest bidder.
  • Get an article in your company, club, place of worship or your neighborhood newsletter about your efforts to help the YMCA and ask for contributions.


  • Pick one or two corporate sponsors that can make a large donation to your efforts.
  • Identify local businesses where you do business.  Ask for $50 donations to list their name on the back of a t-shirt that you or your team will wear.  These businesses can be listed under “We’ve Got Your Back”.
  • Ask an area restaurant to host lunch or dinner benefit days/nights and donate a percentage of their sales that day to you or your team.
  • Ask a hair salon or beauty school to donate funds to you from each haircut on a designated day.  Ask them and the Y to promote the project through email blasts, posters, coupons at the cash register.