Fundraising Tips

Fundraising Ideas

We’ve got more ideas than we can count, but here are some of the best. Call a Fundraising Specialist at the AIDS Walk office at 415.615.9255 (WALK) to talk through your fundraising strategy!


Fundraising on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs

1. Post on Facebook and Twitter from Your Fundraising HQ 

Promoting your participation in the AIDS Walk just got easier!  Now you can link your AIDS Walk personal fundraising web page using a Facebook status update or a Twitter tweet.  It’s quick, easy, and effective! Get your online network of friends to join your efforts by encouraging them to register for the AIDS Walk and to update their status with these 3 steps.

Step 1: Log in to your Fundraising HQ 
Step 2: On the welcome page, click on the blue “Facebook” button on the right. 
Step 3: Follow the prompts to link your fundraising with your Facebook page.

2. Use your status update to inspire and fundraise

Inspire your friends to sponsor you by posting HIV/AIDS facts on Twitter or Facebook. Click here for more information about HIV/AIDS. Be sure to include a link to your personal fundraising web page in each status update. Learn how to update your Facebook and Twitter status from your Fundraising HQ.

3. Use our logo

Make your profile picture the AIDS Walk logo.

4. Give thanks & get sponsors at the same time

When somebody sponsors you, thank them publicly by writing on their Facebook wall and by updating your status with the same message of thanks. This not only lets that donor know how grateful you are for their kind donation, but also inspires others to donate!

5. Advertise your events

Use the “Events” application on Facebook to create an invitation for your next AIDS Walk San Francisco fundraiser. Send it out to all of your friends, and make sure you make it an open event so it appears in searches and so guests can send it to their friends.

6. Blog your way to fundraising success

You can use popular blogging websites like and or your Facebook page (on Facebook, you can blog through your “Notes” application). On your blog or in your Facebook note, you can keep an online journal of your fundraising, announce fundraising events, and include web banner links to advertise your involvement! Blogs are great for teams and individual fundraisers!

7. On a Team? Create a Team Fan Page

Fan Page offers an engaging forum for recruiting Team Members, raising funds, tracking team progress, and inspiring people to support your team! You can upload photos, post links to have others join or sponsor your team, and publicize team challenges and events.

8. Retweet

On Twitter, become a follower of AIDS Walk San Francisco and other HIV/AIDS programs and services. Then you can retweet the messages you read with an additional message of your own asking your followers to donate to your fundraising web page. To retweet, simply scroll over the selected update and a “Retweet” button will appear in the lower right-hand corner of the highlighted message. This not only brings awareness to HIV/AIDS issues, but also shows your donors how important fundraising for the AIDS Walk is to you.

9. Fundraise “in person” on YouTube

Most computers now come equipped with a web cam, or you might have access to a digital video camera. If so, record a personal message asking for support for your AIDS Walk San Francisco fundraising efforts and post it on YouTube, Facebook, etc. You can even keep a video diary of your AIDS Walk experience, or thank people who sponsor you by video. 

10. Virtual Walker

Even if you won’t be able to make it to the AIDS Walk, you can still register as a "Virtual" Walker and earn Fundraising Incentive Awards. To participate as a Virtual Walker, simply register, collect online donations, and then, on the day of the event, show your support for the cause by wearing a red ribbon! You’ll walk with us in spirit!

11. Have a Facebook garage sale

Use the “Marketplace” application! Facebook recently came out with a new way to sell your stuff by “Selling for a Cause.” On the Marketplace Facebook homepage, click “Sell for a Cause,” then set the prices of your items. Click “Post” and then add the AIDS Walk Facebook cause. Then start selling! Advertise it and let everyone know the proceeds go to AIDS Walk San Francisco.

Ideas of the Month 
12. Pie Smash:  How about a pie smash where a company executive is the target?  Make it a department fundraising challenge: the department that raises the most funds during the week gets this once in a lifetime opportunity to smash their boss in the face with a cream pie (Lightly! Of course!).  If your boss is nice enough to participate, ask if they are willing to match the funds raised by the winning department.  You’ll reach your fundraising goal in no time!  And you’ll laugh a lot as well! 
13. Garage Sale:  Have your garage sale early this year! Find a volunteer willing to loan garage space or use your work site after hours. Two or three weeks before the sale, team members bring in sale items which volunteers price and sell on the day of the event.  Remember to advertise throughout the neighborhood!

14. Who’s the Baby Photo Contest: Have team members bring in a favorite baby picture with their names written on the back!  Pictures are numbered and posted on a bulletin board. Participants purchase a chance to match co-workers with baby pictures. Give each participant a numbered sheet with blanks to write their guesses. Have them put their own name at the top and turn in. Person with the greatest number correct wins a prize!  
15. Raffle off a Parking Spot: Ask a member of the executive team to donate their prime parking space.  Sell raffle tickets for the space.  The winner gets to park there for a year!  
16. Fourth of July BBQ: Host a red, white and blue themed BBQ in your backyard!  Invite people over for burgers, hot dogs and apple pie.  They can sponsor you for a plate.  Before the event, ask for donations from local stores and restaurants to put into a silent auction that guests can bid on throughout the day. 

17. Patriotic Dress Up Day: Have a dress-up competition at your office!  Employees come to work in their craziest red, white, and blue costumes, or as their favorite founding father. People pay an entry-fee to join, and the best costume gets all the money raised put towards their fundraising goal!

18. Shave the boss’s head:  Have your CEO agree to shave off his or her hair if the team reaches their fundraising goal.  Show progress posters with the slow removal of hair, as the employees get closer to the goal. Host a celebration party after the goal is met when the shaving takes place.  
19. Carbo-Loading Party: The night before the AIDS Walk, make lots of pasta and invite people over to carbo-load for the 10k walk.  They can sponsor you for a plate of pasta! This is a great opportunity to get excited for the AIDS Walk, and get donations from your hungry friends. 
The deadline for fundraising is Friday, Aug 16 which leaves plenty of time to have one last fundraiser!        
20. Picnic Potluck at the Park: Head over to your favorite park for a team potluck!  Team members bring their best dish.  Invite friends and family and pre-sell tickets to the pot luck.  You can invite other park-goers to come over and buy a plate! 
21. Ice Cream Social:  Set up tables with different kinds of ice cream and toppings.  Have team members serve customers.  Charge a set price per bowl or put up a donation jar where people can leave whatever amount they want. Many people come back for seconds and add donations when they do! 
22. Bowling Tournament: Organize with your local bowling alley to hold a charity bowling tournament!  Invite your family and friends, and organize them into teams.  All participants pay an entry fee to compete.  Winning team gets a prize!

Plan a Fundraising Event 
23. Remember Matching Gifts 
Many employers will match the charitable donations made by their employees. Use the matching gift search function to look for the name of your own employer and for the company names of each of your sponsors' employers. You may be able to double every donation you get from your fundraiser! 

24. Designate Your own AIDS Walk Awareness Day 
Post these HIV/AIDS Statistics "Sponsor Me" Flyers (coming soon). Give out red ribbons to each person who donates.

25. Include Event Info in Your Email Signature 
Include a link to your AIDS Walk web page in your signature. Each time you send a message, the recipient will be provided with a reminder to sponsor you.

26. Post an AIDS Walk Poster or Sign 
Put up a sign by the elevator, coffee maker, copy machine, vending machine, break room, or bathroom letting everyone know that you are having a fundraiser for the AIDS Walk and that you would be grateful for their donation. Get started now: Download a mini-poster for your desk (coming soon). 

27. Recycle 
Collect and recycle aluminum cans. Put a container out at your event and let everyone know that recycling helps the AIDS Walk. Don't forget to collect cans at home and ask your neighbors for theirs as well.

28. Collect Loose Change 
Everybody has a stash of loose change in a cup or jar just sitting around. At your event, ask everyone to donate theirs toward your goal. You will be surprised how quickly it adds up.

29. Use Incentives. Get Creative! 
From a free dinner to tickets to a football game, entice people to come to your event and donate with prizes they can't resist! 
30. Raffle it Off! 
Use your connections to get prizes donated for a raffle.  You can ask businesses that you frequent (restaurants, spas, hair salons) to donate.  Sell tickets at $2 each or 10 tickets for $15. People won't be able to say no to that bargain!  
31. Organize a 50/50 Raffle 
Anyone can organize this type of raffle, it's easy and the prize is CASH!  Let everyone know that half the proceeds from tickets sales will go to your AIDS Walk fundraising total and half will go to the lucky winner.  Your only expense is the raffle tickets.

32. Ask Your Boss 
This will provide a real incentive for your team to raise as much as they can!  If matching the total amount raised by the team is not an option, ask if he/she would be willing to match what the team raises at your next fundraising event.  Or ask them to donate $25 for every person who registers on the team.  Just ask! 
33. Ask Your Payroll Department 
Spread the word about your AIDS Walk team fundraiser by including promotional flyers with every paycheck.  The flyers should include information on how to register as part of the team and how to donate.

34. Auction Your Skills 
Are you a trained massage therapist?  Can you organize a closet like no one else?  What about cleaning house or re-vamping someone's resume?  You can even be the "designated driver" for your friends for a night out on the town.  Let people know that you are willing to trade your services for an AIDS Walk donation.  Set your price high - it's for a good cause!

35. Silent Auction 
Another great way to raise money using donated items is to hold a silent auction. Reach out to everyone you know and ask for product donations, gift certificates, etc. You can make attractive gift baskets out of smaller items. Display the prizes in a high traffic area with a bidding sheet in front of each item. Your co-workers will silently write down what they are willing to donate for each.

36. "Denim Days" or "Dress Down Days" at Work 
Ask management if you can plan Denim Days to benefit your team at work. Charge people $5 to wear jeans to work on Fridays or any other specified day. This is a quick and easy way to raise big bucks. Everyone wants to be casual at work; help people be comfortable on the job and contribute to a great cause.

37. Kissing Booth 
With the right volunteers, you can raise a lot of money and spread the love. J

38. Guest Bartending 
Ask your local bar if they’ll allow you to be a guest bartender for a night, or even for a few hours on a Saturday afternoon. Send out an Evite, inviting everyone you know to join you there for a drink, and ask them to invite everyone they know. Create a sign to place on the bar or a flyer that reads, "All tips collected tonight will go directly to Joe Walker, who's walking 10 kilometers to raise money for people struggling with HIV/AIDS." When people see the sign, they may be willing to dig a little deeper in their pocket!

39. Office potluck  
Ask everyone to cook and donate an item for a theme luncheon in the office. Take a vote on the theme, and then ask everyone who partakes in the lunch to donate $5 to the AIDS Walk.

40. Dinner with Friends 
Ask your favorite restaurant to help you fundraise. Is there a local restaurant that you frequent? Are you friendly with any restaurateurs?  Ask the owners if they will donate a portion of one evening’s proceeds to your AIDS Walk fundraising total.  Then make flyers with the information, create an Evite, and invite everyone you know to dine there on that evening. You’ll bring in more business to the restaurant and more money to your AIDS Walk fundraising total.

41. Bake Sale  
Simply make some of your very best cookies, cupcakes, or pies.  Have your co-workers and friends get involved, especially those that can't sponsor you financially.  Advertise the sale and then watch the profits come in.

42. Karaoke Night  
Sell tickets for an evening of awful singing at a local bar or at home. Nominate people to sing, and allow them to get out of singing by making a donation, or ask people to donate money to stop their friends from singing, or have a singing contest. Charge an entry fee and have proceeds from the ticket sales go to your AIDS Walk fundraising total.

43. AIDS Walk Sports Challenge  
Choose any sport from basketball to dodge ball!  Charge $5 to participate or $25 to form a team! Charge a donation at the door to watch the game.  Secure donated goods and sell them at your concession stand with proceeds going toward your AIDS Walk fundraising total. You can make this a faculty vs. student tournament and the losing team has to do something over-the-top, if they dare!

44. Benefit Concerts/Gigs  
If you know a rock band, barn dance caller, jazz group, DJ, comedian, or string quartet, ask them if they will do a benefit evening for the AIDS Walk at a local club or coffeehouse.

Tips from Team Leaders

45. Start a Friendly Competition 
"We started up a friendly competition to see which MAC counter could get the most people registered. I also talked about participating at the Walk at every managers' meeting and at every employee training." - Raymond, MAC Cosmetics

46. Use Your Company's Employee Website 
"We managed to get a story about our team on our company's intranet site. This generated a number of new members for the team." - Danny, Kaiser Permanente

47. Distribute Promotional Cards through Paychecks 
“Attach an AIDS Walk Registration Card stamped with your team number onto employees’ paychecks many weeks in advance. Put a sign-up sheet in the break room with pictures from last year’s Walk.” - Kim, Hard Rock Café

48. Give Team T-Shirts as an Incentive 
"I have unique, good quality shirts designed for the first 30 Team Members that sign up; Team Members are proud to wear them long after the Walk and are telling others where they got them (so now the shirts have become a recruiting tool for next year). My secret weapon is getting people with dogs to sign up and register their dogs, who wind up raising more money than people sometimes (and yes, they get shirts too if they want them)." - Brian, Brian Scott Productions

49. Host a Kick-Off Event 
"We had sign-up sheets at a company-sponsored coffee and bagel AIDS Walk Kick-Off breakfast." - Renee, Rose Brand

50. Donate to Registered Employees 
"Our firm provides a nice incentive: they give a donation to the first 50 registered walkers." - Edgar, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

51. Get Executives Involved 
"We all know that the CEO and President will be walking with the team, so the sales associates know they'll be out there hoofing it with the leader of the company, and that he has been doing this for over 10 years." - Charlynn, Kenneth Cole Productions (New York)

52. Reach Out to Previous Donors 
"Ask previous donors to take an active role and become a Team Member." - Vanae, Rock Your Awareness

53. Recognize and Reward Participating Students 
"I'm a high school teacher and our school requires community service. We gave 8 hours to students who "walked the Walk" and we awarded additional community service hours for money raised. Each year after the event we read a list of the students who participated on the PA." - Bridget, Taft High School

54. Entice Potential Team Members with Food 
"Food is always a great way to recruit. At my social gatherings, I would recruit. I had a wine tasting party at which flyers and sign-up sheets were located throughout the room." - Rick, Mazzetti & Associates

55. Provide Easy Online Registration Opportunities 
"We advertise with signs and set up tables in our cafeteria with laptops so employees can register online during lunch. We try to keep people motivated by sending emails and encouraging them to be Star Walkers." - Sam, Pfizer 
Download our Tools (coming soon!)