With the month of May comes not one, but two big holiday fundraising opportunities: Mother’s Day and Memorial Day.

holiday fundraising opportunities
What mother would turn up her nose to a tin of gourmet chocolates and fresh flowers?

Flowers and chocolates are both widely associated with Mother’s Day. Carnations and daisies are particularly popular, as are roses, lilies, tulips, irises and gladioli. If selling flowers, decide whether to sell pre-orders of bouquets for delivery or pickup just before the holiday or to sell individual flowers on Mother’s Day itself. Work with a florist in your community who is willing to help you put together some lovely flowers or stunning bouquets at a discount in exchange for recognition at your event.

As for chocolates … well, few are the moms who will turn up their nose at a box of gourmet chocolates! And the mouthwatering treat comes in more forms than just small squares in a box. Hold a bake sale right before Mother’s Day and sell variations on a chocolate theme: brownies, chocolate-chip cookies and so on. Be sure to include a variety of other flavors, such as lemon, red velvet and vanilla. With a bake sale, you will likely find a number of volunteer bakers eager to show off their baking skills while lending your organization a hand.

You may decide that it makes sense for your organization to offer both flowers and goodies for sale at a larger fundraising event. Consider holding a craft show if you have access to a gymnasium or other large space – this would provide people with an opportunity to browse among quality handcrafted items and pick out a special gift for Mom to go along with the bouquet and sweets. Ask crafters to donate one or two of their products (or put together a festive, decorated basket) for a raffle drawing; also, see if local businesses that may not have purchased table space at the show are willing to donate gift certificates or coupons for the raffle. Sell sequentially numbered tickets at the door for as little as $1, collect the tickets in a bucket, basket or even a coffee can, and then set aside time during your event to pick and announce the winning ticket numbers.

Memorial Day is both a solemn occasion–a day set aside to celebrate the service of all military veterans, and a joyful event that informally marks the beginning of the summer season. You can decide which way to go if your organization chooses to hold a Memorial Day fundraiser.

Most communities hold a parade, a festival or a similar type of event on Memorial Day weekend. Your organization can be as much a part of the action as your creativity and budget allow. Consider offering small or full-size American flags for sale prior to the holiday or during a local event – these flags can be purchased online from party supply stores, which may give a discount on bulk orders if asked.

On a larger scale, if you have access to suitable cooking equipment and adequate space you could hold a breakfast event before the parade starts using supplies donated by a local grocer (be sure to check with your municipality and obtain any necessary permits beforehand).

The warmer temperatures and generally pleasant weather of late May help fuel spring-cleaning events – another fun way to raise funds for your organization. Solicit members of your community to donate sellable items in good condition for your group to sell over the holiday weekend. Price the articles at full price on the first day and then offer deep discounts on the second day to help prevent leftover items. You could hold a drawing to raffle off any eye-catching, popular items.

Good luck and have fun with your May fundraisers!

Lucinda Rowlands
Lucinda Rowlands

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