- Start a Neighborhood Association
- Develop a Neighborhood Identity Sign
- Throw a Block Party
- Organize a Neighborhood Cleanup
- Report Code Violations
- Establish a Neighborhood Tool Library
- Start an Alert Neighbors Program
- Prepare for an Emergency
- Install a Storm Shelter
- Plant and Care for Trees
- Install Rain Barrels
- Plant a Rain Garden
- Request Mixed-Use Zoning Along BRT Route
Many projects can be done at little no cost, especially if your neighbors are handy and have extra supplies laying around, but sometimes, projects will require fundraising activities, donated supplies, or extra volunteer labor to become a reality. Work with your Neighborhood Association to come up with fundraising ideas that would: be engaging, interesting, and relevant a large percentage of your neighbors: keep costs low so more funds go to your project; fits the time and work commitments of your volunteers; and has a chance to bring neighbors closer together.
Organizing a Fundraiser
Once your Association has selected a project, recruit volunteers for a fundraising team.
Create a list of tasks, brainstorm different fundraising events/methods (see right for some examples), and have your team members sign up for specific roles, preferably ones that are related to the volunteers’ skills.
Establish goals and make a plan.
When setting a fundraising goal, be sure to consider the kinds of expenses you will have to complete your ultimate project and to conduct the fundraising. It’s often helpful to set target dates as a motivator, and it’s a good idea to write down your goals. Make them specific, but be realistic about possible constraints. Also consider how many people in your neighborhood need to participate, and create a plan for how to get as many participants as you can.
Create a timeline.
Start with the date of your event or end of your project in mind and work backwards. Come up with clear deadlines of when things will need to get done to stay on track.
Keep the focus of every meeting and conversation on why you are trying to raise money, and be open to different ideas on how to get there. By keeping the focus on what you want to achieve, you can avoid group disputes that detract from the mission.
Work together, celebrate together.
Make sure everyone knows that their hard work is appreciated, and make sure you celebrate your successes together. If you have a celebration, grand reveal, or ribbon-cutting ceremony, make sure to invite everyone who has contributed time, money, services, or merchandise to make it happen. If it’s a formal event, recognize the more significant donors and offer them a chance to say a few words.
Remember to send thank-you notes to volunteers, donors, businesses, and anyone who helps your group achieve its goals. “Thank you” goes a long way, and gives you an opportunity to tell or show them what was accomplished with their contributions. This simple gesture also improves the chances they will donate toward future projects.
- Organize a neighborhood sale or auction.
The sale could be themed (a book sale, bake sale, or craft sales), a collective yard sale on the same day, or even listing more valuable items on websites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace.
- Ask for donations from nearby businesses.
If you receive donated merchandise (for instance, a Hasty Bake grill) or services (like dog grooming), you can auction it, offer it as a prize, or if your Association is a registered tax-exempt entity, include it in a raffle. If you receive enough donations, you can package them together into a themed basket for an auction or raffle.
- Eat out for a cause.
Ask a local restaurant to donate a small percentage of their sales for a certain day or week. It’s a fairly easy way to collect money for your cause while supporting a local business. Make sure to spread the word to your neighbors and friends
- If your group is very organized, you can also arrange for a restaurant “crawl” wherein participants pay a flat fee to sample food and drinks from a variety of restaurants. This takes much more coordination between volunteers and multiple restaurants, but can create a fun environment and raise more money.
- Create a neighborhood cookbook.
Collect your neighbors’ favorite recipes, have a graphic designer or layout-savvy neighbor compile them into a book, and sell the cookbook back to your neighbors. You could even sell digital copies.
- Put your neighbors’ skills up for auction.
Whether it’s house painting, yard work, construction, house cleaning, or dog grooming, your neighbors would likely volunteer their time to raise money for neighborhood projects. Ask for volunteers to list their skills, and have people bid on the services.
- Host a progressive/walking dinner in which each course of a meal takes place at a different house in your neighborhood. Ask your neighborhood’s best cooks to volunteer and host a portion of the dinner. You can charge by the course or for the entire dinner experience.
- Organize a neighborhood concert, talent show, or movie night.
Look for a place to hold the event, like a neighborhood park, school auditorium, or community center. Sell tickets to the event, and offer refreshments, food, or desserts for sale.
- Host a porch decorating, gardening, or holiday decorating competition.
Charge a small entrance fee for competitors, and allow neighbors to vote for their favorites by using each dollar as a vote.
- Organize a neighborhood walk/run/fitness challenge.
Bringing neighbors together to exercise is a great way to build a sense of community, improve health, and you can turn it into a fundraiser for neighborhood projects. Charge an entrance fee and set aside a small amount to be awarded to the winner. Keep the remainder of the funds for your projects.
- Organize a holiday home tour or parade of homes.
Recruit people who want to show off their holiday decorations or homes, pick a date, and provide a map of participating homes to attendees. You can also sell light refreshments or provide entertainment at each home.
State Farm Neighborhood Assist Grants
Grant awards up to $25,000 available each year
Home Depot Community Impact Grants
Grant awards up to $5,000 are available to 501(c)(3) designated organizations and tax-exempt public service agencies.
Bank of America Grants
Target Grants & Donation Requests
Contact your local Target store for donation requests.
The Walmart Foundation provides local community grants of $250 to $5,000. Apply online or visit your local store.
Costco Warehouse Donations
Corporate Matching Grants
Many employers will match donations given by their employees to registered non-profit organizations. Check with your employer to see if they offer a matching program.
Fresh Paint Days Program
Community groups receive free paint and a stipend to improve buildings. Visit keepoklahomabeautiful.com for info.
Great American Cleanup
Registered participants receive free supplies for their event. Visit keepoklahomabeautiful.com.
If you plan to use any part of a public street for the party, you must use safety barricades.
You may need to apply for a special event permit. Keep in mind, special event permit applications must be submitted at least 90 days in advance. Visit the above website for details, fees, and instructions.
Tulsa Parks – Rentals, Reservations, and Special Events
For information on how to host a block party, visit the project page or contact the City’s Working in Neighborhoods Department.
Working in Neighborhoods