11 Ways to Hold a Healthy Fundraiser
It’s hard to say no to a fundraiser, and even more difficult when fundraisers involve chocolate, cookies, hot dogs and doughnuts.
These aren’t wise choices — whether you’re watching what you eat to lose weight or are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle — but they become almost irresistible when they’re being sold for a good cause.
Whether you’re hosting a fundraiser for a charity you support or one for your child’s school or extracurricular activity, take a healthy approach to your fundraiser with these ideas:
- Host a chili cook-off. Organize a vegetarian chili cook-off for a lunchtime fundraiser. Entries must include a variety of beans — a great source of fiber and nutrients – and a host of veggies and spices for a healthy twist on a classic favorite. Ask for a small donation from taste testers, and let the cooking competition begin.
- Build-your-own salad bar. This fundraiser idea works best in an office situation, but by offering greens, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean protein, fruit and a few low-calorie, low-fat dressings, participants can support a good cause (by offering a small donation) and build a healthy salad they’ll be sure to love.
- Organize a penny war. Looking for a way to avoid food completely? Compete with colleagues or challenge other departments to a penny war. Fill your individual or group jars with pennies, which earn “positive” points, and put nickels, dimes, quarters and dollar bills into the opposing jars, which earn “negative” points equal to their value. At the end, total the number of points for a winner and donate all proceeds to the charity.
- Hold a Greek yogurt parfait bar. Remember those delicious ice cream bars? Instead of ice cream, provide small bowls of high-protein Greek vanilla yogurt and an array of toppings for a healthy (yet still delicious) alternative. Topping ideas include fresh fruit like melon or berries, granola, nuts, unsweetened coconut flakes, cinnamon, flax seeds and chia seeds.
- Manage a fruit sale. Whether in a break room or public place, selling fresh fruit – apples, bananas, pears, oranges and kiwis –are easy, on-the-go choices. And, given the chance to donate to a good cause, most people are willing to part with a few dollars. Looking for a more profitable way to fund raise? Make fruit baskets to sell for a larger donation.
- Organize a fitness class. Who says you can’t get moving for a good cause? Even if you aren’t the one teaching the class, hosting a class – like Zumba®, yoga, boot camp, self-defense or some other fitness class – is a great way to raise money. Have participants pay for their class and sell bottled water at the event.
- Throw a healthy party. Host a fun and healthy party with smoothies, fresh vegetables and hummus, or even spritzers infused with lemon, lime or mint. Need a theme? A beach party complete with fresh, tropical fruit salads and festive music is a great way to get the fundraiser (and party) started. Sell tickets in advance or ask for a minimum donation.
- Plan a poker walk. Give participants a map of a walking route and have playing cards at five stations. At the end of the walk, the best hand according to poker rules wins half the pot. Donate the other half to your cause. Sweeten the deal with additional prizes for the lowest hand or mark select cards with a secret symbol for a healthy prize.
- Host a healthier bake sale. Instead of traditional bake sales that include cookies, pies and other unhealthy (although delicious) treats, host a bake sale where bakers have to use substitutions to decrease calories, add fiber and more. Ask donors to attach the modified recipes to their items. Looking for healthy competition? Host a bake-off amongst participants, and award a prize to the winner.
- Auction healthy meals. Auction off healthy boxed lunches or dinners. Make things interesting by keeping a few of the boxes hidden so that no one knows what’s up for bid. Consider selling tickets to the auction to support a good cause and serving healthy appetizers before bidding begins.
- Provide spa-like relief. Raising money and awareness for a good cause while receiving a massage? Sounds like a win-win. Whether you’re hosting a fundraiser at the office or at another venue, bringing in a massage therapist is a guilt-free fundraising option. Sell chairs or time slots to make it worthwhile.
Be creative and try fundraisers that motivate your group to support a good cause, join together for some fun, and maintain – or even jumpstart – healthy lifestyles.