Are you looking for ideas for how your OSG group can fund raise for equipment or a special activity? Your group can choose to just raise dues or ask parents to donate what you need. However, sometimes you need more funds than parents can cover. What’s a scout leader to do?
Because Outdoor Service Guides doesn’t have any national sales, our groups are on their own to figure out what the best fund raiser is for them. But we do have some guidelines. In OSG, scouts can sell things they make themselves or their services. They can reuse or repurpose items, too. We do not participate in sales that involve partnering with large corporations or companies. Fund raising can be many things but it is even better if your scouts are working on their scouting skills and sharing those with your community!
Brain storm with your scout group what your scouts can do! Need some ideas? Below are several ideas that OSG groups have done in the past.
The OSG Infographic for FundRaising can be printed to use to discuss these ideas with your group leaders or all the guides in your group.
Host a Dinner
Have your guides plan and cook a meal. Sell tickets or accept donations to raise funds. Popular meals include pancakes or spaghetti. You can also host a s’mores night where scouts make perfectly cooked marshmallows for all. Parents or local stores may be willing to donate ingredients for your event.
This event works well if you have access to a kitchen where you can prepare the meal. However, as scouts, we know how to cook with camp stoves, so be flexible with your planning! A fun picnic may be a great way to get your group outside for this event. Just remember to bring plates, napkins, and utensils. Plan ahead who will collect the tickets or cash. Consider setting up a drink stand to sell those, too.
Sell Home made Items
Do your guides like to make things? Timberwolves and pathfinders can make items ahead of time and sell items at a local event or see if a local business will give you space to set up a table for the day. There are many things you can do! Have a bake sale and sell treats made by your group. Create key chains, holiday items or paracord bracelets to sell. Consider making items for pets, like paracord pet leashes or cat toys. Try making candles or soap. The important part is that your guides make what they sell.
ORGANIZE A HIKE-A-THON
This one is easy to organize, and doesn’t have any upfront costs. Your group accepts pledges based on how far your guides hike or how many guides participate in a hike. Plan a date and take your group hiking! Once the event is over, make sure your scouts have a certificate to show how far they hiked. They can show that to their pledges to help them collect. It is also wise to have guides accept flat rate donations before and after this event.
Set Up a Talent Show
Are your guides entertainers? Performing songs and skits is a fun tradition and can provide the means for a fun fund raiser. Encourage everyone to participate and show off what they can do. Sell tickets to attend the event and during it, your scouts can also sell popcorn or other snacks to earn more. Be sure to have try-outs to make sure everyone has a family friendly talent. Encourage parents and siblings to show off their talents, too. Having a great emcee can make this event much more fun for everyone! So have auditions and let your group choose a great emcee, or practice this skill during campfires so that multiple guides have experience and can help introduce performers.
Hold a silent Auction
This is a low stress event that many groups have found can work even when social distancing. Collect donations of items like camping gear, pocket knives, original art work, or even offers to cook dinner for someone or sing them a song. You can set this up on-line, or have an in person event to bid on everything to raise funds for your group. If you choose to do an in person event, you may wish to combine it with the dinner option above.
If you offer the auction online, be sure to add information on shipping costs if you will have participants outside your area. If not shipping, plan ahead for how you will handle pick up of the items.
Make Your Fund Raiser Fun
The best fund raiser is one your group is excited about. So, if your pathfinders really want to host a car wash, dog wash or bike repair event, go for it! Talk to your members and their families and debate ideas. Remember to consider the cost of holding your event, so you don’t end up loosing money. You may be able to get donations from local businesses if you ask. Check about local ordinances and make sure your event won’t require a business license or if it does, be sure to get one. Hosting a great fund raiser can be as complicated or simple as you choose.
Whatever you are doing, remember to make part of the event sharing your group’s story. Who are you? Why are you fund raising? What do you plan to do with the money? All those things will help your participants feel connected to your group and encourage them to help you in your efforts. Fund raising isn’t easy, but it can help you fund some amazing adventures!