1. Be an early bird
Always be sure to get the worm by planning early. This will give you time to price compare and hunt down special offers. Look for gifts with purchase, clip coupons, and don't be shy to ask your favorite retailers or service providers to match lower prices you may have come across elsewhere.
2. Be budget savvy
It's never easy work, but in order to make the most of your fundraising dollar you have to make the effort to create and adhere to a detailed budget. Ensure every purchase respects your limits and immediately subtract any little surprises that come up (like donuts and coffee for your team) so that you know exactly where you stand financially.
3. Be a penny pincher
On a similar note, be sure to stay on the alert for stray, additional expenses that have the tendency to sneak up where you least expect them. When sourcing out fundraising products, for example, look for those that come with free shipping (think lollipops or scratchcards) or better yet, require no payment up front (cookie dough, Smencils and other order taker programs).
4. Be (super-duper) practical
Make a side by side list of wants vs. absolute needs. If you know for a fact you can't go without it, add it to your 'needs' column. If it would make things go a little bit smoother but is more of a frill, add it to your 'nice to have' column and only acquire it if and when all your true needs are secured under budget.
5. Be donation-minded
Raffles, auctions and incentive prizing are part and parcel of any fundraising effort. An easy way to save some serious money is to dig for donations. Inquire with local businesses to see if they might exchange goods in exchange for some advertising opportunities and/or hit up friends and relatives for items, services, or even volunteer time in lieu of giving you their cash.
Have another frugal fundraising tip? Please share it with us in the comments below.