Cows for Cash
March 10, 2018 2:54 AM   Subscribe

A friend's drag/burlesque troupe once teamed up with a taste test organisation to run some meat-testing sessions in return for funding from that org. It was the first time many of us had heard of this option and we found it pretty novel and creative. What are some other unusual or unique ways that you know of for raising money, especially for creative pursuits?
posted by divabat to Work & Money (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I once set up a booth at a neighborhood block party offering to draw people's spirit animals for a donation to Defenders of Wildlife. It went over very well, and I think people were amused by the random whimsy. The one caveat: my old neighborhood was pretty arty and left-handed, so that kind of thing was generally appreciated.
posted by batbat at 3:11 AM on March 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

Bingo. The direction of a tourist org ran bingo games to support it.
posted by theora55 at 5:18 AM on March 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

A local law firm donates money to groups that can pull together 20 people to participate in focus groups, which they use to test out perceptions of their approaches to a case (so they can get a sense of how a jury may respond).

Lawn flamingo flocking.

A school sports team pairs up with an SAT prep business; a series of prep sessions is run with the profit going to the team.
posted by metasarah at 5:48 AM on March 10, 2018

A meat draw, also known as a meat raffle.
posted by nathaole at 6:03 AM on March 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

When I was in high school, student clubs would get paid to deliver phone books. Apparently, this is still a thing for community groups.
posted by whitewall at 7:08 AM on March 10, 2018

Scavenger hunt. Booya. Polar dive. (Cut a hole in the ice on a lake and jump in.)
posted by Autumnheart at 7:45 AM on March 10, 2018

We have ice out raffle type things here, speaking of cows. You put a wooden cutout of a cow (or other heavy thing, this is what our group does) somewhere out on a frozen lake and people basically bet on what day/time the thing will fall into the lake. You pay a small amount for your bet. Winner gets 50% or maybe they get a copy of the town history. I don't know, i play every year and never win! There is a similar though different "Choose where the cow will shit" raffle. Divide a field into 360 squares. You can "buy" a square. Win 50% when the cow shits in your square.
posted by jessamyn at 8:58 AM on March 10, 2018 [3 favorites]

Jell-O Wrestling* was a big success back in high school.

*Bikini-clad women optional.
posted by Dr. Wu at 10:05 AM on March 10, 2018

A local city's rec center has pottery classes and once a year they have a Chili Bowl. They lay out tables full of pottery bowls that students have made and glazed (I'm guessing they provide the materials). You choose one and then go to other tables to get chili (regular or vegetarian), salad, drink and dessert. I think we paid $11 for the privilege. They didn't fill up the pottery bowls just gave us plastic ones, which I found oddly disappointing, but I imagine arranging to clean them for you to take home would have been daunting. We did use them to save places at a table though. I think they were raising money for kids that can't afford the rec center programs. They also had a display of other pottery items for sale where 1/2 of proceeds went to the artist and 1/2 to the program. I am thrilled with my little bowl and have been using it to eat popcorn out of all week.
posted by BoscosMom at 10:40 AM on March 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’ve heard of organizations making up elaborate invitations for parties that sound absolutely ghastly, then saying that if you make a donation, you don’t have to go. The fun is in creating the most awful-sounding event possible.
posted by FencingGal at 11:00 AM on March 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

I read a book of short stories recently in which the author’s note on one of them said it’d been written as the prize in a story auction: the winning bidder was able to tell the author elements she wanted to see represented in the story.

A variation could be paying a certain amount to have a character named after you in an upcoming work.
posted by lakeroon at 11:09 AM on March 10, 2018

Shredding day. Just ask for donations.
posted by bendy at 5:39 PM on March 10, 2018

Roller coaster marathon: participants raise funds in order to enter. Then, they continuously ride a coaster or coasters for a set time period, or there's a contest to see who can continuously ride a coaster the longest, with short hourly breaks.

Carousel riding marathon.

Other "continuous activity contest" marathons: one quaint one I've heard of from The Past is a rocking chair rocking marathon!

"No-Show" fundraiser: advertise a "non-event," mimicking traditional fundraiser invitations. Solicit donations in lieu of selling tickets.

Rubber duck races.
posted by Carouselle at 5:50 PM on March 10, 2018

I've seen at dog- and pet-related events: not just the ubiquitous kissing booths, but also paid photo opportunities with adopted rescue dogs, and dogs wearing vests with pockets for donations.

There have been smaller-scale takes on Freerice, in which people answer trivia questions on a website and advertisers sponsor a donation for each correct answer.
posted by Carouselle at 5:56 PM on March 10, 2018

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