Fundraising Ideas

Perhaps your organisation wants to digitise your history, but cannot justify the added expense in this year’s budget. Of course, many committees will see this work as something that can be put off ‘for a while’, except that becomes years and years, and eventually, it is forgotten about again. Or perhaps your organisation is run solely by volunteers, and operates on a shoestring budget that simply could never take on something like this. Of course, we can always do the work in stages, digitising small portions of the larger project at a time, which might assist in financing the project over a number of budgets. Alternatively, we have collected a few ideas that could assist in fundraising, which may even raise more money than is required, leaving you with the profits.

Not all of these may be relevant to your organisation, however many could be used in conjunction with other events, meaning little/no set-up or minimal effort on your part.


Applying for a local, state or national grant via your organisation.
The Hobsons Bay 2020 Community Grants Program is due to launch soon, with workshops being offered to assist in writing grants.

Hobsons Bay offers a Quick Response Grant service, which launches after the Community Grants Program has closed.

Alternatively, there are also Grants available from the following:

Victorian State Government
National Library of Australia
Public Records of Victoria
GrantGuru (Search Engine)

Your local library should hold more information on any local grants that will be available for your organisation.

As well as actually funding the digitisation process, there will be some portions of the work that DAB cannot do. Transcribing the handwritten portions of your documents. This may be only a small portion of your material, or it could make up the bulk of it. We have yet to find software that can reliably recognise handwriting to any real accuracy, especially the often ornate and decorative writings contained in older documents.


This option could be more long-term, and could continue to raise money after the digitisation is complete. Crowdfunding is relatively new to the scene, and has had some amazing success stories. Depending on the type of organisation you represent, these options have differing fees and conditions, withdrawal limits or charges etc so be sure to check them out.

There are many sites that will assist in this side of things. A few options are

Once the campaign is set up, advertise it on social media, in the newsletter, via sponsors or even advertising at other events. Word of Mouth amongst the organisation’s networks will soon spread word of the campaign, and this could raise the money required over a matter of weeks or months.

Parish collection

Obviously this is one that could work for Churches or associated schools. A collection from the parishioners could not only raise money for the service, but also spark some interest amongst the congregation in the project itself. It could get them thinking about the history of the church or school, perhaps even shining a light on other restoration work that might also be required. Perhaps there is a small group of people that could also assist in sorting the documents or photos, even transcribing the handwritten portions or assisting with the names of people in the photographs. Gathering the information that is not there is just as important to the story of your history.

Raffle of autographed team jersey

Is your sporting club holding an end of year function? Perhaps a fundraising ball or event that is already planned? Offering a framed, signed team jersey for auction could raise a substantial amount, especially if you consider having the past players sign it as a “Dream Team” jersey. Club Sponsors would show interest in this, hanging it with pride at their place of work and advertising the club as they do so. Perhaps there is the option for a National Team jersey, if enough of your players have represented the district, state or nation. A National jersey with signatures could also be sponsored by members to hang in the clubrooms, showing those who come after them how well the former members have performed.

Silent auction of donated goods

Perhaps at your next club function, a silent auction can be held? It would not interrupt the running of the function itself, as it would be silent (so no calling and raising paddles, breaking the night up into a bidding war). Sponsors or club members could donate items to auction, and others bid on it, with a set time for final bids.

Ask the Members!

What is it that they would like to see restored the most (help to prioritise what is digitised first). The members might suggest a few photos that require work, but have been stowed away in a cupboard and forgotten about, or perhaps the early paper records would be priority? It doesn’t have to be a big task if you don’t want it to be. Small chunks of digitisation can be done at a time, leaving less to do next time.

Local Community Assistance

This could come in the form of offering to paint street numbers in the community (charging $15 per house is a reasonable amount). Overheads are very low (Stencils for the numbers, White reflective spray paint, black spray paint). It gets the club members out into the community, performs a community service that also helps the emergency services, and raises money for the club. This has the opportunity to raise money throughout the year, and has potential to raise club awareness and even membership in the community.

Sale of Final Images

This option could assist in prioritising what is digitised, in that people show their interest in purchasing the photos (printed copies of the originals) before they are digitised. The person would receive a restored version of the photograph, ready for them to frame. Of course, the club could also offer framing as an option. Perhaps it was their first team photo? or even their grandfather’s team photo.

Alternatively, members could ‘sponsor’ a photo, paying for its restoration, or even sponsoring for matching frames for the entire collection (Many clubs have a mismatched set of frames, purchased over the years!) This would make them all look like they belong together, smarten up the clubroom walls and renew the club’s pride in their history.


Make it fun! – Have members of your organisation transcribe a page or two at a time. The most pages transcribed accurately gets a prize/voucher. For primary schools, this could be the parents, or even the older students if the writing is not too complex. For high schools, this could be completed the students, and even form part of the curriculum. Students could choose a person from their page, transcribe the entire page, and then research the person, discovering more about the people that formed the school community many years earlier.

A team of 10 people could knock most transcribing tasks out over a few months or so. Alternatively, if each parent was asked to do one page in a year, it could be done in one year.

Members of a club would probably find this interesting to some degree, especially the older members, who may have deeper connections with the club community and possibly have even known those in the pages, or at least their families. Members would also know the terminology used, so would contain less errors in their results.

A target of 80% accuracy would be a realistic benchmark, as aiming for 95-100% accuracy will not be realistically achievable due to human error. Corrections can always be made later as people research the specifics.

Other Ideas?

If you have any other ideas that might assist other organisations in their fundraising, please contact me and we will update this list accordingly.