Fundraisers are great fun for individuals, organizations, churches and schools. The types of fundraising possibilities are endless.

A little money goes a long way in Guinea Bissau, and as such, you can make a real impact with a donation of even $5 or $10. This is the cost of a latte at that popular coffee shop or giving up eating lunch out for a day or 2 and donating the money instead.

You can always fall back on the standard bake sale, hot dog/lemonade stand or car wash. Or, perhaps you have some fundraising ideas of your own (try asking your child if they have any ideas, you may be surprised at the creativity) .

But, If you can’t think of anything, here are a few new ideas you might want to consider

JAR WARS (or Penny War) I love this idea!!

This is a fundraiser that will have people talking for weeks, if not longer. It’s easy to do and no cash output. The best part is that the losers are the big winners in this type of competition so everyone walks away feeling victorious while never losing sight of the purpose – to raise money for a worthy cause.


1. Decide how long you will be hosting your penny war fundraiser. These types of fundraisers seem to do best when run for a week or less so nobody loses momentum in their competitive streak but you can run it as long as you would like. I’ve heard of the contest running for 9 weeks.

2. Assign one jar per group. If you are not naturally already in groups, such as school classes, create them. This can be as simple as boys vs girls, homerooms, etc. Your imagination is the limit with this one.

3. Attain a plastic canning jar lid for each jar if the lids are not already plastic. This makes cutting a coin slot hole not only easier but safer for those cutting and those who are placing their hands there to donate. Sand it down if needed.

4. Decorate your jar. You will want it to prominently display both the cause and your team but try to keep as much of the jar publicly transparent as possible so everyone can see your contents.

5. Print the rules out so each group member can learn them as well as having one copy to secure to the surface where the jar is being placed so those not in a group understand what they are donating for as well as how their penny war is being played out. Keep the reason for the fundraiser short but heartfelt.

The rules are:

– The most money wins (not necessarily a prize, simply status works here)

– Pennies count as one cent each as you would expect but silver coins and paper money (including checks) count AGAINST that team. This is where the competitive nature comes into play. Teams can then place silver coin and paper money into their competitors jars themselves. (Kids are allowed to place coins and dollars in any jar they want, so they could make a classroom with the most points that day lose points by placing everything but pennies in the jar)

6. Have someone do the math in counting up the money in each jar and publicly announce the winner as well as the amount raised by each team and as a combined effort. Give everyone a round of applause. Make this announcement as a ‘Drum roll please…’ type announcement after spending some time discussing your charity or worthy cause.


Fundraising Variation 1: If you run the fundraiser for longer than a week, points are posted every day and the money collected in the office at the end of the day where student helpers wrap pennies, nickels, dimes and so forth. At the end of the specified period, the class with the most points wins a popcorn/movie party (your choice here). This can be done in elementary schools but for secondary, it works best if the competing classes are all homerooms.

Fundraising Variation 2: You put one jar in a room for each grade. The jars are used to collect monetary contributions. For every $.10 you award one link in a chain. Each link is a strip of paper cut out and then the ends are stapled forming a circle. Each grade must have a separate color, so that when you hang the chains they can see what grade is winning. It is a great way to make money and the competition level is usually real high.

Fundraising Variation 3: Have the whole congregation bring in their spare change and keep track of it somewhere (maybe 5 gallon water jugs in the back of the sanctuary). Think of a way to get people competing for weight (pennies are better) and/or for amount (dimes are better). Allow people to put in bills, but take them to a bank and get change. Have a huge change counting party. (A goal may be 5 pounds of change per youth, or the ministers weight in change).

Fundraising Variation 4: Divide your group into two teams. Give each team a large container and tell them that the group with the most pennies in their container one or two weeks before the event will be declared the winner. The losing team must serve the winners at a special dinner in their honor. The two teams can get pennies from anyone (people in church, school , parents, friends, etc.). You could also do this with nickels, dimes or quarters

All I can say is, whatever you decide to give, whether $5 or $500 or some other amount, give what you feel deep in your heart is right. We are among the richest people in the world just by virtue of being born in America. Spread the wealth and enjoy the process.

If you would like to see more, below is a website with a ton of fundraising ideas. You’re sure to find one you like, and by giving, you will change the world in a big way.


be sure to send us a picture and/or story of yourself or your group’s fundraiser and we will happily post your story on our blog and add your photo to our gallery


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