You can use the money you raise for team projects and events or you can pass them on to related groups and organizations.
See Also: Activism Guide
Good grassroots fundraising is not only a way of raising money, it is a way of raising awareness. (And it also deals with that unspoken question of the uninitiated public, “where do those people get their donations?”)
Grassroots fundraising should involve lots of people as volunteers. Try to get local donations of supplies, advertising, prizes or whatever from local merchants (and of course give them public credit and thanks).
What kinds of things are grassroots fundraisers? Here’s a sample list. But it’s not exhaustive. You can build on these ideas, but better still, come up with your own.
- Potluck suppers with an entrance fee. Fun. Great food. Cheap and you’ll have something for the campaign pot when the dishes are done.
- Bake sales. You can get lots of people involved. Hold it at the local mall, or after church.
- Raffles. Go for donated prizes or make your own.
- Hold a community fair! Have clowns. Kids’ events. Sell things. Include an auction.
- Ask a local bar if you can have an evening of entertainment for a cause. This will appeal to lots of young people.
- Hold an auction. Or hold a flea market of odd junk items. Donate services — a deluxe brunch in someone’s home, or catered to your place, a sailboat outing, babysitting, carpentry, barter for cash for the cause!
- Hold a massive yard sale. Recycle all your stuff and raise funds.
- Hold a church supper. Church halls can be rented for not too much, and they are perfect. Big kitchens, well equipped for a crowd and they feel great for community events.
- Order t-shirts or mugs with your message. Sell them at all your events.
Who to Support
There are many related organizations and projects which could use donations
Your Own Team
Fundraising can be a great way to make any team activity an even more attractive and better event, while you strengthen the bonds within your local community.
- Contact local existent related organizations and ask for funding for your activities. More often than not, they will do what they can to help you.
- Go Enterprise and find all related companies in your area. There are lots of enthusiasts in those companies and they will be more than happy to ask their marketing to help you, so find them first: they are in your mailing lists, forums, wikis and social media related sites (FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Identi.ca)
- You can also borrow premises to hold events from organizations, educational institutions and companies. This is not exactly getting cash, but space and time is worth a lot in a community context!
- Free Software Foundation
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- The Open Rights Group
- End Software Patents
- Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
Hardware donations may also be accepted
- Core Systems
Open Hardware Foundation
- Open Graphics - Open source video card
- Xiph Foundation - Free file formats
Dealing with money
Do we really need a bank account?
How many times has money from other volunteers needed to pass through your personal bank account? If it isn't a major inconvenience to you at this point in time then it's not a problem. If you are starting to feel that you need a better money management strategy, please continue reading.
If you really need a bank account
Minimalist structures often suffice. In Belgium and many other non-US countries, it is possible to open a bank account for an informal organisation without too much of a formal structure in place. You just need to clearly convince the bank of a few things with a small written statement:
- this is a non-profit, not a money laundery
- there is at least some process in place to decide who gets to be in charge of the money
- the people with access to the bank account are not likely to change a lot
In the US you will often need to incorporate with your local state government. In this case we recommend that you complete a registration for a "not for profit" corporation. The costs and currency requirements are often lower. It also sets you up for the infamous IRS 501c3 exemption should you desire.
Transparency earns you trust
You need trust from donors and volunteers, so publish all your monetary transactions to the web:
- anonymise this information only where needed
- both cash & bank, incoming & outgoing transactions
- should you need to keep this private, post information on how interested parties can request/review your documentation
If you plan on using a website for transactions, consider working with your Better Business Bureau or equivalent organization.
- For some donors, it may be fiscally interesting to directly pay a bill for your LoCoTeam. This has the additional advantage of being easier for you to administer.
- If someone wants to make a really big donation:
- Always try to make a verifiable trail. Anything is better than cash.
- Thank them: in person, on your blog, on the team list.
- Draw a very clear line where you want to spend money in the near future.
- Have a prioritized wish-list of things that would require funding to happen.
This page was a featured resource in November 2015.