Free Fund Raising Idea, At No Charge Even!

So, one day however long ago I had two fund raising ideas.

Before you say anything, I am not random, and I will challenge anyone who says so to a spaghetti slurp off!

Anyhow. I came up with some fund raising ideas that I thought were kind of cool, and potentially thematic to the organizations that might use them.

First, my food shelf fund raiser. It was inspired by a mix of Iron Chef and an online cooking show that receives entirely too little attention called Stump the Chef.

Lakes Chef Battle for charity


Cost: $5 ticket, plus a food shelf donation. Can be anything you would reasonably donate to a food shelf, requesting variation. Food shelf

Event description:

Solo: One chef chooses three or more tickets from among the attendees. Those attendees bring their donation to the forefront. The chef must make a meal from those ingredients. The holders of the chosen tickets are judges. Special tickets should be available for purchase by those without a donated item, and free to those who come to the food shelf for assistance.

Battle: Same as solo, except two or more judges compete against one another.


Tickets: Color coded tickets are assigned to attendees according to their type of donation so the chef does not end up with three of the same item. The chef chooses one of each color for variety.

Color 1: Protein or centerpiece. This will be the main ingredient in the dish. It should not be a strange ingredient.

Color 2: Fruit or Vegetable (maybe starch).

Color 3: Wild card/curve ball. This color represents the most challenging or unique foods to incorporate into a recipe, like spam. These foods should not be too weird for donation to a food shelf.

Color 4: Possibly separate starch products into a fourth category.

Color 5: These tickets go to those who are not donating a food item.


Method: The chefs either bring or are provided with tools, utensils, herbs, spices and additional ingredients that could reasonably be found in a normal household. They use this to create a recipe, which is then shared with the chosen ticket holders to judge. The dish can be judged either the simple way, with a thumbs up/thumbs down, or within a 10 point scale. In a battle, judges will judge the chef that did not cook their donated food. Ties are broken by either a crowd vote, or a snack prepared either for the judges, or for all ticket holders, while supplies last (first come first served). All attendees choose their favorite from the snacks.


Proceeds: The donations not used in the challenge and the proceeds from ticket prices go toward a food shelf.



Battle of the shelves: One food shelf within a chosen geographic area is picked from a jar that includes other food shelves that have agreed to the challenge. That food shelf is able to choose a “champion” chef and then challenge another participating food shelf in battle. In a battle, the proceeds and donations could either all go to the food shelf with the winning champion, or the donations go to the loser, and the proceeds go to the winner (money goes further than donations).

Champions can be virtually anyone who agrees to the challenge. This can include successful cooks from area restaurants, volunteers with the shelf, or someone else who knows their way around a kitchen.


Time Limit: To guarantee that ticketholders do not lose interest, a time limit could be set for the event. 30 minutes to 1 hour should be reasonable.


Mini Kitchen: Chefs must prepare their foods using small kitchen appliances rather than typical ranges and stoves. Hot plate, microwave, convection ovens would be the main tools, though others would be accepted too. Because there is likely no place in the lakes area with room for a large audience and multiple regular sized cooking spaces, this might be useful for assembling a sort of modular kitchen within an auditorium or other open space.


Iron Chef: The entire structure could be changed. It currently is inspired by “Stump the Chef”, a cooking show found online. Instead, it could be modeled after “Iron Chef” found on Food Network.



  1. As mentioned above, it may be difficult to find a space with two full kitchens and seating for an audience. The Warehouse in Pine River has a suitable cooking space for one chef, and a small audience, but a larger audience would need more room.
  2. This event would almost certainly benefit from a time limit to keep people interested, but what time limit is too long?
Next is my idea for a library fundraiser. It would, of course, require a lot of leg work, but I think it would be very successful if someone put the time into it.

Autographed book auction


Funds are raised through a silent auction for autographed books. Proceeds would go to a book related group such as a library or school.


Singles: Books by relatively popular authors could be sold individually and expected to bring in a slightly higher price than less known authors.


Bundles: Books can be bundled according to author, subject, genre or various other categories. This would be a good way of auctioning off books by local or less known authors.



The best and most valuable/popular book in a bundle must be autographed, but the other books might not be.



  1. Collecting enough books to make this event profitable would take considerable time on behalf of multiple people.
  2. Books cost money, especially when autographed. This event would need to be almost exclusively done using donated autographed books. This might make it more difficult, though there would likely be plenty of authors willing to contribute.
  3. Autographs are often faked, there may be no way to guarantee the books at this auction were signed by the author as opposed to an author’s assistant. However, where there is a certificate of authenticity or some proof involved, that would be included in the auction and increase value of an item.
Now someone should get one of these running so I can attend and benefit without having to put the work into it.

4 Responses

  1. outsidethenewsroom

    I haven’t, but I do know library volunteers are already have a lot on their plates. I’m not sure if our local book depository would be able to fit it in.

  2. I will immediately grab your rss feed as I can’t find your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service.

    Do you have any? Please let me realize in order that I may subscribe.

    1. outsidethenewsroom

      Sorry, I’m fairly new to blogging, so I don’t think I have anything here for that. I’ll try to look into it.

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