by Ann Ronning, Fundraising Manager, Heart Foundation ACT

coins surrounding and apple

In nearly every office, the box of fundraising chocolates lurks in the tea room waiting to tempt passers-by into an unhealthy binge. "It's for a good cause," it whispers softly, trying to justify the extra kilojoules from added fats and sugar.

Often these seemingly innocent bars of choccy are actually being sold to raise funds for healthy organisations like sporting clubs and children’s activities. And while many people understand that promoting healthy initiatives with unhealthy sales is contradictory, it can seem daunting to try raising funds another way.

Fortunately some organisations, clubs and social groups are creating new and innovative ways to raise the vital funds they need without resorting to selling junk food and sugary drinks. Here are five healthy ideas for your next fundraiser.

1. The 'one-off' ask

Ask members or parents to donate one specific amount that will cover the cost of new equipment or expenses for the year. People are often relieved that they don’t need to solicit friends, colleagues and neighbours with several fundraisers throughout the year. A one-off donation also makes budgeting easier because you’ll know early on if you are going to meet your fundraising goals.

2. One-of-a-kind products

Here is a chance to get creative with your group. Try making a calendar of drawings or photos, ask members to write stories or collect healthy recipes to make a cookbook from local businesses. To make this a winning idea, seek help from a graphic designer among your members and ask for a discount from a local printer or copy shop.

3. Hold a parade

Everyone loves a parade! The themes for parades are endless: floats, fashion parades, or hotted-up bikes are good ideas. Set a fee for entrants, provide donated prizes for winning entries and ask your audience for a gold coin donation. Parades can be held on a public oval (seek council permission), local hall or school to avoid the need for traffic management when using streets.

4. Get physical

Walkathons and fun runs are very popular fundraising events and keep everyone active. New to the scene are obstacle challenges which offer quirky activities like bounding through kiddie pools of bubbles, water gun soakings and crawling through mud. They are low costs and you can raise funds through entry fees, gold coin donations and lap sponsorships. In the past lap sponsorship required collecting cash but now you can set up a peer to peer fundraising page on a number of online platforms like GoFundMe and EverydayHero. This also means distant relatives can pitch in with online donations.

5. Go viral

The success of the Ice Bucket Challenge demonstrates that value of having a compelling issue paired with a safe but fun challenge. Utilising social media to generate peer pressure to be involved generates donations. Create a challenge that can be shared with your community to inspire online donations. Some suggestions for shareable tasks are to encourage 100 star jumps, jump rope, creating a one minute story with a theme or slap stick activities like pushing a pie in the face. Whoever completes the challenge tags friends to join in and encourages a donation.

Fundraising can be fun and healthy. These are just a few ideas to get you started. If you have any great healthy fundraising ideas, share them here so others can benefit.