Fundraising Ideas from the National Fundraising Committee

Thank you for your great work for the funds of AAUW! To assist in your fundraising efforts, we wanted to share a few popular fundraisers from our home states. We hope they inspire you and give you ideas to share with your members. Contact information is provided when possible. Make sure you let us know how things go! Happy Fundraising!

Arts and Antiques | Auctions | Food Sales | Luncheons and Socials | Product Sales | Raffles | Tours and House Walks | Volunteering | Walks | Yard Sales


Other Resources

Arts and Antiques

Antique Appraisal
Milwaukee (WI) Branch

A friend of AAUW offered her antique appraisal skills for free. The event was held at a large well-known downtown hotel in Milwaukee. Members and the public could bring antique items and have them appraised for $10. The branch publicized the event and raised about $600.

E-mail Bonita Clark or call 414.762.4303


Art Fair on the Green
La Crosse (WI) Branch

This is the 53rd year for this juried art fair that is held on the grounds of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The event nets about $20,000 — 10% goes for branch operations and the rest is used for scholarships. This is their largest fundraiser. Last summer there were about 90 artists. There is a $3.00 admission charge and artists are charged $100 for a booth space. The branch also sells beverages. Artists are asked to donate items that are raffled off as another revenue generating activity. The event is the last Saturday and Sunday of July. There is a chair and 11 committees for artists, grounds, publicity, awards, and concessions, etc. Twenty members serve on the committees and many more volunteers are needed during the event for ticket and raffle sales, concessions, and setting up and taking down.

E-mail Pat Staupe or call 608.788.7439



Auction! — Going once, going twice, sold!

  • Wood River members chose an item from their travels, wrap and label them, and give a suggested value. Then the bidding begins!
  • Once a year Carbondale has a silent auction of “slightly used” or new items.
  • Crystal lake Area has a live and silent auction with items donated by members.


Purse Bonanza
Springfield (IL) Branch — 152 Members

The fundraiser called “Purse Bonanza” takes place at a restaurant during their annual December Holiday Tea. Members donated more than 100 gently used purses, which sold for $10. $20 or $30 each ad a vendor donated a new purse made of recycled fabrics, which was auctioned. Preparing for the fundraiser required very little effort — simply collecting and pricing purses. Proceeds were almost $700. Purses that weren’t purchased at the Purse Bonanza were later sold at the AAUW annual garage sale.

E-mail Carolyn Berning


Honor an Educator / Holiday Gift Auction
Baker (OR) Branch

The branch conducts two fundraising events during the program year. They hold Honor an Educator to benefit the Educational Opportunities Fund, and a holiday gift auction with proceeds directed to the Legal Advocacy Fund. At Honor an Educator, branch members share stories and memories about a teacher or professor who had made an impact in their lives, and add a donation in that person’s name. Members who are not able to attend that meeting are encouraged to send in their stories along with a donation.

E-mail Debby Trapp-Roehm



Quilt Auction
Waukegan Area (IL) Branch — 78 members

Every year a talented member quilter donates a quilt that she specifically makes for the AAUW Funds fundraiser. Raffle tickets are sold at her branch, at an AAUW networking luncheon and at combined. Branch meetings culminating at the state convention where additional raffle tickets are sold. The raffle tickets are $5 apiece or 3 for $10. The drawing is at the state convention. Proceeds range from $300 to $500.

E-mail Sally Blyth


Basket Auction
Wisconsin State Convention

Each branch brings one or more baskets filled with items usually centered around a theme. The branch is credited the amount of money the basket garners. Bid sheets are placed by each basket, some have a minimum bid. Members are given the opportunity to bid on the baskets throughout the day. The auction comes to a close when the whistle blows at a specified time. Then the winning bidder picks up the bid sheet and goes to the checkout site to pay for the item. Funds are rotated among different AAUW funds and approximately $2,000 is raised.

E-mail Kim Wellnitz or call 970.443.2964


Food Sales

Nut Sale
La Crosse (WI) Branch

This is an easy way to raise funds with little effort at the Holiday season for baking, giving, and eating. One person orders the nuts from Harrell Nut Company of Camilla, GA and takes orders from AAUW members and friends. Last year they raised over $500.

E-mail Betty Kruck or call 608.689.2222


Schermer’s Speciality Pecans
Kirkwood-Webster Groves (MO) Branch

Schermer’s offers many fundraising ideas. They carry southern shelled pecans, chocolate, candied and roasted pecans. The pecans are outstanding quality, versatile year round, and nutritious.

E-mail Carol Davis McDonald


Food! Food! Food! — Always a draw!

  • Belleville has an international dinner in a member’s home; guests donate the value of the meal or more.
  • “Celebrate Women” luncheon is held by Carbondale with a university group.
  • Downer’s Grove Area has a “Dining for LAF,” a lunch or dinner where guests make a comparable donation.
  • A fashion show luncheon and auction (items from area merchants) is held by Crystal Lake Area.
  • Monmouth has a Christmas Brunch and Waukegan Area has silent auctions at two yearly luncheons.


Farmer’s Market/Bake Sales — Mmmmmm, delicious!

  • Deerfield Area Branch holds two “bake and book” sales at their local Farmer’s Market.
  • Waukegan Area has two bake sales at the county courthouse.


Luncheons and Socials

Holiday Fashion Show/Luncheon
Fort Myers/Lee County (FL) Branch

This has been an annual event for more than ten years, usually held on the first Saturday in December. The income comes from patrons, and a Chinese auction (i.e., raffle tickets put in bags of desired choices) of donated goods from members and community businesses; and a silent auction for some “big ticket” items such as golf packages, upscale wrist watches and hand painted furniture. A live auction is held with such items as a luncheon with a local author and a ride with a sheriff’s deputy. The cost of the luncheon is reasonable; it is a sit-down hot luncheon. Tickets this year were $35, although if purchased by November 1, they were $32. It encouraged early sales. About $10.00 per ticket over the meal price is cleared. In 2012, the attendance was 170 guests and over $8,200 was netted.

E-mail Ellen Schneider


Wine Tasting/Social
Fort Myers/Lee County (FL) Branch

A wine tasting party is held in late March or early April that is also meant to foster social contact among members and be inclusive of friends and partners. Various locations have been used. Recently, a home décor store with an expansive patio, was used after store hours (5-7:30 pm). Members of the branch brought in the wine and their own hors d’oeuvres. Patrons provided music and other minor expenses. The ticket price was $30. Attendance is approximately 60 people and usually over $1,000 is cleared.

E-mail Ellen Schneider


Trivia with a Twist
St. Charles (MO) Branch

Trivia Nights are common nighttime fundraisers normally attended by both men and women. The “AAUW Ladies Tea Time Trivia” sponsored by the St. Charles (MO) Branch, however, was scheduled for a Saturday afternoon to be attended by women. The ten rounds with ten sets of questions featured famous and infamous women, topics of interest to women, and categories relating to women. The committee decided on the questions and branch members provided homemade sweet treats along with iced tea, coffee, and soda. Some businesses sponsored a few of the rounds. $2,500 was cleared.

E-mail Teri Brecht, Branch President


Fashions and More
Ballwin-Chesterfield (MO) Branch

Some Talbots, Coldwater Creek, and Stein Mart stores offer opportunities for fashion shows. They furnish the outfits and the branch furnishes the models. The usual time is in the morning before the store opens and the store provides drinks and some treats. This gives members and guests a chance to check out the latest fashion trends and to see our own members in the spot light. The branch decides on the ticket price.

E-mail Yvonne Morrison


Non-Event Event
Deerfield Area (IL) Branch — 78 members

Through out the fall and early winter there are articles highlighting the different AAUW Funds in the branch newsletter. Then, around March, the Deerfield Branch and two other branches sponsor a lunch with approximately three recipients of the Educational Opportunities Fund who are our guest speakers. At that time branch members receive an invitation to the “non-event.” This year it was an invitation to the first annual non-walk/non-run event. A letter accompanies the invitation requesting the member to write a check to their favorite AAUW Fund. All checks are sent to one member for tracking the donations before they are sent to the AAUW Development office. Forty members of the Branch contributed $2,670 to a variety of AAUW Funds.

E-mail Marla Kim Benziger


Women of Achievement Benefit Luncheon
Greater Naples (FL) Branch

Outstanding women from the community are selected to be recognized for their philanthropy and volunteerism. Funds are raised through ticket sales which includes an added donation, sponsorships, individual donations and a silent auction at the event. Attendees are not only branch members but the family, friends and business associates of the 8 to 10 honorees. The net profit is approximately $14,000.

E-mail Ellen Granger


Card Party/Games and Luncheon
St. Augustine (FL) Branch

This fundraiser is held on Valentine’s Day. Choose a venue and work with a caterer for the lunch. There is an open bar and simple hors d’oeuvres are available. Reservations can be for tables of four to play cards or games, or reservations also can be taken for tables of 6, 8, or 10 for those who want to come for just lunch. Larger tables also may be provided after lunch is served for those wanting to play poker or bunco. All those coming are asked to provide their own cards and games. There is a nice selection of silent auction items, raffle items and a 50/50 raffle. There is also a money tree valued at $100, which brings in a little under $250. The branch nets approximately $4,000.

E-mail Debbie Brinsfield


Learn and Lunch Events
AAUW Ballwin-Chesterfield (MO) Branch

As you search for new and interesting fundraisers, it is a good idea to look at your own community and see what is available to tour or visit. Our branch just finished a very successful tour of the newly renovated Central Library in downtown St. Louis. Many people were interested in seeing the new building, but very few had gotten around to doing it. Our branch committee arranged a date and time for a staff member to be our guide, coordinated carpooling to the Library, set a cost of $10 per person to attend, and contacted a restaurant near the Library for lunch after the tour. 60 people attended! The cost of lunch was not included in the initial charge. We had an opportunity to learn about the building, to be with people we know, to discuss what we learned at lunch — and raise $600.

Other sites recently visited include: Daniel Boone home; History Library; backstage tour at the Muny Opera; a chocolate store and a specialty food store. Set a cost, find a neat place for lunch and GO! The best part is to feel good about what you’ve done. The funds raised will help make the world a better place for women and girls.

E-mail Yvonne Morrison or call 636.391.6026


Dinner and White Elephants
Bismark (ND) Branch
North Dakota

Members hold a December dinner with White Elephant gifts. During the event, when one individual buys the gift, another can pay more to buy it from the first purchaser. All funds from the dinner and “purchases” are for AAUW.

Call Lavetta Syverson, AAUW North Dakota State Funds Chair, 701.746.7306


Salad Luncheon in Downtown Business District
Scottsbluff (NE) Branch

A salad luncheon was held in the downtown business district, so business people could attend. Tickets sold.

Call Alice Hemingway, AAUW Nebraska State Funds Chair, 308.783.2345


Presidents’ Day Card and Game Party
Scottsbluff (NE) Branch

Held from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., tickets are $6.00, each and they underwrite $500 scholarships to community college and bachelor degree programs. Held at a conveniently located retirement center, people bring whatever game they want to play. Usually a couple tables of bridge and canasta are set up. Other games have included “Banana” word game and UNO. Light refreshments are served and members bring white elephant gifts for door prizes. Last year, in addition to ticket sales, a couple donated $1000.

Call Alice Hemingway, AAUW Nebraska State Funds Chair, 308.783.2345


Authors Luncheon
Twin Rivers/New Bern (NC) Branch
North Carolina

A lot of local authors reside in the area of this branch, and while many self-publish they are always looking for venues to promote and sell their books. Ten local authors (different ones each year) are invited to come to sign and sell their books and enjoy lunch with attendees at a local restaurant. In the past, the authors have included a woman who had been an AAUW fellow and wrote books for children. Another author was Kristen Harris, author of Band of Sisters, a book about women in the military that got national recognition. Members sell tickets starting in December for the January event, and tickets are sold at The Next Chapter Bookstore. The local newspaper provides good publicity before the luncheon and great coverage after the event. Tickets are $25 per person. Proceeds from the luncheon are approximately $700.

E-mail Mary Peterson or Ann Corby


High Tea with a Famous Woman
Ballwin-Chesterfield (MO) Branch

Come and indulge in a delicious Tea Lunch with famous women. Each table is decorated to represent a famous woman and contains information about that person. A committee plans and prepares the tea treats. The beautiful decorations and place settings are provided by branch members. How much profit made depends on the cost of the tickets and the number of tables.

E-mail Barb Schillhahn, Branch Co-Vice President of Membership


Product Sales

Local Fair Trade Store Collaboration
Ames (IA) Branch

The branch hosts an evening at the local Fair Trade Store, providing refreshments and hospitality. The store then gives the Branch 10-15% of the sales profits for the evening.

E-mail Jane Edwards


Computer Mouse Pad and Poster
AAUW Iowa Branch

AAUW Iowa is making a computer mouse pad of digitally submitted art pieces from branch members showcasing subject matter about Iowa or about the women of Iowa. They are also making it into a poster which will be sold to members at the Spring Conference.

E-mail Janet Heinicke


Book Sale
Pierre (SD) Branch
South Dakota

Pierre holds an annual book sale which generates $3,500-$4,000 for scholarships and AAUW national Funds.

Call Gloria Smith-Rockhold, AAUW South Dakota State President, 605.945.2327


Annual Book Sale
Grand Forks (ND) Branch
North Dakota

This annual book sale raises upward of $5,000. It is a social event as well as book sale. Tickets are sold and other vendors supply food and drinks. They have 32 members and 8 are capable of carrying boxes of books. They’ve enlisted the aid of college students to carry books. It is a labor intensive venture, requiring a place to receive and store books, set up and organize them, publicize and clerk the sale.

Call Lavetta Syverson, AAUW North Dakota State Funds Chair, 701.746.7306


Dillard (Dept Store) Coupon Booklets
Papillion (NE)Branch

For $5 purchase, buyer gets $400 of discounted coupons. The organization (AAUW) selling the coupon booklet gets the full $5 for each one sold.

Call Marilyn Bambac, AAUW Nebraska State President, 402.292.6245


Used Book Sales — Who says no one reads books anymore?

Books sales were held within the branches or reached out to the community.

  • Elmhurst Area and Lombard Area have had book sales in their communities for over 50 years and 45 years respectfully.
  • Wheaton-Glen Ellyn, Chicago Loop Branch, Downers Grove Area and Salt Creek have community book sales too.
  • Belleville and Carbondale sell books at their meetings and Downers Grove Area has a raffle on selected books that they have collected.


Working with Local Businesses — Hook up with a local business!

  • Jerseyville, Alton and Wood River will be selling tickets for the dress rehearsal of a local amateur drama company. For an up-front fee each branch gets 200 tickets and keeps the ticket fee.
  • Monmouth sells Rada products (knives, kitchenware, etc.).
  • Decatur sells Berger (local store) Community Day Booklets.
  • Lombard Area participates in Carson’s Community days.
  • Hinsdale Area works with “Eye for Style” and Chico’s for a percentage of sales at special events.
  • Members at Downers Grove Area enjoy a lunch or dinner at a restaurant and receive a percentage of the money spent.
  • Wheaton-Glen Ellyn and Deerfield Area wrap holiday gifts at Barnes and Noble and receive donations from the customers.


Plant Sales — Yes, spring is here!

  • Hinsdale Area conducts a spring bulb sale and Schaumburg Area sells annuals and hanging baskets.
  • Salt Creek Area provides workers at a local nursery and receives a percentage of the sale on those days and at another nursery, they distribute coupons for a percentage of the sales.
  • Carbondale sells “paperwhites” in containers during the holidays.


Poinsettias and Holiday Greenery Sale
Washington (IA) Branch

Poinsettias from a local florist and holiday greenery from a nursery in the Northwest are sold.

E-mail Marde McConnell


Dutch Bulb Sales
Webster City (IA) Branch

The branch sells Dutch bulbs through the Flower Power project. The catalog includes a selection of 35 varieties of bulbs and they come with a money back guarantee. The branch keeps one half of the selling price, so it is a very successful fundraising project. The branch members sell the fall bulbs, and there is also a spring catalog.

E-mail Cynthia Weiss



Monthly Raffle
Tillamook (OR) Branch

The branch holds a raffle each month with a different national AAUW Fund selected as the recipient of their fundraising efforts. Members donate items and raffle tickets are sold for $1 each at the monthly business meeting. Along with the photo of the last winners, they run this statement each month in their branch newsletter: “AAUW causes and missions cost money. If we all contribute, we can accomplish great things. Can you contribute $25 to a cause that you believe in? We’ll take it! No contribution is too small. You don’t have to be a member to donate to our research, advocacy and educational programs.”

E-mail Susan Pierce


Tours and House Walks

Tours and Talks Program
Greater Naples (FL) Branch

This fundraiser entails making monthly visits to local museums, small businesses, schools and various selected sites in the community to learn what each is about. Each participant pays a small fee of approximately $10.00.

E-mail Ellen Granger


Historical Bus Tour
Washington (IA) Branch

Every year or every other year, the Branch pay a local historian to serve as the guide for an historical tour of their area and charter a bus. Their tour guide has a fabulous reputation, so they have lots of repeat attendees.

E-mail Marde McConnell


Home and Garden Tour
Blaire (NE) Branch

Working with other community organizations, a home and garden tour is held annually. Tickets are sold.

Call Marilyn Abariotes, AAUW Blair (NE) Branch President, 402.426.3459


Home Tour with a Theme
Sheboygan (WI) Branch

Homes are selected with a theme based on a time period, architectural firm, or other historical significance. Many homes are on the national register of historic places or are local landmark sites. This event is hosted every other year in the fall and has been going on for about 20 years. Homes are selected about a year before the event so the home owner can prepare. The event is for one day and 6-8 homes or businesses are featured. The ticket price is $12 and they net about $15,000. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. No other group in Sheboygan does a home tour so this is their branch’s niche. The tour is touted for its educational value and an extensive brochure on the homes is included in the ticket price. A couple of members are dedicated to planning the event, but it takes a host of volunteers on the day — about 6-8 people per house all day long.

E-mail Mary Jo McBrearty or call 920.458.5648


Sightseeing and Play-going Bus Tours
Monona (WI) Branch

They offer bus tours to branch members and their friends and charge $10-12 more than it costs. This is an easy and fun way to raise funds. They rent a 55-person bus so they raise about $500/trip.

E-mail Mary Boyd or call 608.222.7673


Hinsdale-Oakbrook Area (IL) Branch — 99 members

This year will mark the 60th year for their house walk. Planning takes one year for this one-day event. First, five houses are chosen in the community. The owners of the homes open both floors of their homes to attendees. Each house has a head hostess and there is a member assigned to every room. There are two working shifts. In their community, they have a reception at their Community House that runs all day and they serve light food. Also, tickets are sold at that time at $35 per ticket. Early tickets can be purchased at $30. At one of the homes they have a “”French Market.” Local vendors can sell merchandise at the Market for a fee to the event. Local business can be sponsors at $1,000, $500 or $250 and put advertising signs on the lawns of the homes. They carry a separate insurance policy and maintain a separate treasurer and account from the branch account. They raise about $20,000 dollars.

E-mail Linda Dishman


Dreamers and Doers House Walk and Tea Party
Geneva Lakes (WI) Branch

Six historic homes were shown by historic interpreters representing important women of the area. The members researched their characters for months. The tea was hosted at a major hall where there were two seatings of 125 each. Finger sandwiches for the tea were catered and branch members supplied their special china and silver place settings, centerpieces, and bars. The tickets were $25 and the event raised $3,000. This event led to further educational programs at the local library, schools, and a museum where there is now a permanent exhibit on the historical women of the Lake Geneva area.

E-mail Sarah O’Reilly or call 262.248.7858



Computer Tutors
Ballwin-Chesterfield (MO) Branch

Every branch has some members with computer skills. These talented members can go into a member’s home and help the member on her own computer for a nominal charge.

E-mail Joyce Katz, Branch Technology Chair


Fort Myers/Lee County (FL) Branch and Greater Naples (FL) Branch

Taking advantage of a statewide fundraising opportunity, these two branches participate in their respective counties, by each adopting a local precinct. Ten to 12 members are trained in advance and then work on election day at the polls. Even though it is a long day, there is great camaraderie with shared food and making new friends. The members are paid individually for the training and service on the day, and sign their checks over to the branch. Money raised is more than $1600 for each election.

E-mail Ellen Schneider or Ressa Benen


Busing Tables for Tips
Pierre (SD) Branch
South Dakota

Twice a year the branch members bus tables for “tips” at the Pizza Ranch and Perkins restaurants. They gather about $300/night for about 3 hours of work. The owner also contributes for their work. AAUW is one of several community organizations who participate in this type of fundraising. Generally, 6-8 members take part in the work.

Call Gloria Smith-Rockhold, AAUW South Dakota President, 605.945.2327



Eleanor Roosevelt Walk
AAUW Missouri and Ballwin-Chesterfield (MO) Branch

Since 2001, when AAUW introduced the idea of a walk/run to raise money for the Eleanor Roosevelt Fund, AAUW Missouri and the Ballwin-Chesterfield Branch continue with this fun and easy idea. (Other states and branches also hold walks on a regular basis.) AAUW MO sponsors a walk every other year at the state convention. Walkers pay $25 to walk and secure pledges from neighbors, friends, branch members, and other attendees at the convention. Special recognition is given to the top money raising walker. This year, Illinois and Missouri had a joint convention in St. Louis. Illinois walkers wore blue for Cubs and Missouri walkers wore red for Cardinals, as they walked around Busch Stadium. Missouri challenged Illinois for the highest contributing state.

E-mail Toni Thornton


Eleanor Roosevelt Birthday Walk
Ballwin-Chesterfield (MO) Branch

Every October, in celebration of Eleanor Roosevelt’s (ERF) birthday (October 11), members of the Ballwin-Chesterfield Branch are invited to participate in the ER Walk. The walk is held in a different location, usually a park, each year. The registration fee is $25, payable directly to AAUW Funds, which is tax deductible. Walkers are encouraged to give an additional gift of $75 to total $100 to receive the AAUW Eleanor Roosevelt Fund pin. Walkers are also asked to find sponsors. This past year there were 33 walkers and 71 sponsors. The twelve walks sponsored by the branch, have resulted in close to $27,500 donated to the Eleanor Roosevelt Fund.

E-mail Rosann Swaringim


Yard Sales

Garage/Yard Sales
Elgin Area (IL) Branch — 83 members

The branch holds a garage sale two times a year at a members home whose home is at a prime location. At the spring sale members also donate perennials from their gardens for sale at the garage sale. Members and friends of members donate to the event. Collection of items starts about two weeks before the sale and pricing the items and set-up is just a couple of days before the sale. They make about $1,000 at each sale.

E-mail Elizabeth Hoeft


Yard/Garage Sales — An event for recycling!

  • Belleville holds a spring yard sale.
  • Elgin Area holds spring and fall garage sales. At the spring sale, members donated perennials from their gardens to sell at the garage sale.


More Ideas! Be creative!

  • A Fox Valley Garden walk is held by Elgin Area.
  • Hinsdale Area is having their 59th Annual Home Tour that features five homes. It includes paid ads, sponsors and tickets.
  • A long history of a successful style show is held by Pekin Area.
  • Schaumburg Area has a Bunco Blast.
  • Trivia Night and Silent Auction is sponsored by Wood River.
  • Ottawa, Schaumberg Area and Deerfield Area compiled cookbooks.
  • Springfield has a “Purse Bonanza” where members contribute gently used purses, which are priced at $10, $20, or $30 and sold at their holiday tea. A donated new purse is auctioned.
  • Waukegan Area sells raffle tickets for a hand-made quilt.
  • A Jerseyville member fills a “Traveling Basket”. Then at a branch meeting there is a silent auction for its contents. Next, the basket goes to another member to be filled for the next meeting.
  • Deerfield Area and Crystal Lake Area hold a “Phantom Party,” a non-event that invites members to write a check to AAUW Funds instead of attending an event.

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