Maybe your HOA needs to build up its reserves, pay for maintenance costs, or raise money for a new amenity—no matter the case, homeowners would prefer anything to increasing their monthly HOA dues.
Fundraising for your HOA can help reach a financial goal while having fun and providing an outlet for neighbors to foster community.
The possibilities for fundraising campaigns are endless, and they may rely on the dynamics of your neighborhood. These five fundraisers have seen proven success, and they’re easy to pull off with the right tools.
Chili Cookoffs, Potlucks, and Other Culinary Events
No matter where you live, community is synonymous with food. Especially in the fall and spring seasons when the weather is nice, you’re sure to draw a crowd.
Competitive events like chili cook offs let your HOA charge chili chefs to register for the competition and charge attendees to taste the chili.
- These events can draw both chefs and attendees from outside of your HOA. Attracting outside revenue lessens the burden on your homeowners.
- Your HOA homeowners could volunteer to work the event and sell other concessions like beverages or t-shirts.
- Give attendees a certain number of tickets upon entry, with each ticket granting one sample of chili. If an attendee wants more tickets, you can sell them more in a bundle or individually.
- If your event is a hit, you can easily repeat it the next year, whether your HOA is still raising money or not.
These events are extremely versatile. Depending on their budget, some HOAs go all out and bring in a band and other outside vendors, with whom they split the proceeds.
If you want to keep it in the neighborhood, simply throw a potluck. Attendees bring a dish and pay a small fee, or attend with no dish and pay a slightly higher fee.
Rent Out Your Amenities
Your clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, and other amenities can make you a significant amount of cash. Hosting courses and camps is another way to bring cash into your HOA, rather than getting it from your members.
- Check with your local schools and ask if they need space to host tennis camps or other summer club activities.
- Look in your local newspaper to see what events are happening in your area. Find a few recurring events and offer to host their next event at your clubhouse for a fee.
- Community adult learning programs like continuing education and financial literacy courses always need a meeting place.
- Rent out your facilities for events like class reunions and birthday parties, and advertise this availability in the newspaper and on social media.
Reach out to your homeowners and let them know this effort is underway. They can use their individual networks to source many of these opportunities.
Poker, Bingo, and Bunco Nights
Some of your HOA members probably belong to a bunco or poker group already — if not several. Card playing nights are low-key and low-maintenance, and they can bring a high volume of income into your HOA.
- Ask homeowners if they participate in a regular card game, and if their group would be interested in playing at your clubhouse or other common area.
- Not only can you charge an entry fee, but you can take a portion of the pot for the neighborhood.
- A good meal and a card game makes for a great evening. Have a volunteer from your HOA man the grill, and include a burger or a steak (or a brew) with the entry fee.
- For a bigger payout, you can host a bingo night. Bingo nights are family-friendly and low maintenance, and they provide the same opportunity for concessions and traffic from outside your HOA.
Gambling laws differ from state to state, so check the laws in your area, and make sure you register attendees to your card games. Spread the word on your HOA’s website or newsletter, too.
Host a Festival or Happy Hour
Neighborhood street festivals are gaining popularity as local painters, potters, craftsmen, and eateries set up booths along the street to sell their wares. Many townships hold “First Friday” events, where every first Friday of the month, vendors sell food and wine while residents mingle and decompress.
- Social media is a great place to find local artists who may be eager to pay a fee to set up their booth in conjunction with others from the artistic community.
- Vendors like food trucks and mobile popsicle stands can join in on the funds and contribute a slice of their proceeds to the neighborhood.
- You can add on extras if you like, like a bake sale or a silent auction to ring even more income out of your event.
- Recurring events like this get better with time. Once people hear about how great the last one was, they’ll make sure to stop by for the next one. With one-time events, your HOA has to start from scratch with another event if the first event didn’t put them over the finish line of their goal.
Your city or town is rife with small sub-groups of people with common interests, holding events and meetings. Each one is an opportunity to allow your HOA to engage with the broader community all while making progress toward your financial goals
Sell Ad Space in Your Newsletter
HOA residents are likely to have substantial disposable income—after all, HOAs are more common where houses are more expensive. On top of HOA dues, homes in an HOA tend to be about 4% more expensive than similar homes not in an HOA.
CPAs, attorneys, banks, and other similar businesses know this, and they’re willing to pay for advertising to land your homeowners as new customers. Your HOA materials are the perfect forum to connect with potential clients, and it offers a stream of passive income for your HOA.
- Sell ad space in your newsletter or website, and drop the images in using the builder in your HOA accounting software.
- If a professional wants to set up a meet-and-greet or question-and-answer session to rub shoulders with homeowners, allow them to rent your clubhouse.
The key here is finding advertisers who are relevant to your homeowners’ needs. Keep your ears open to what they’re talking about in the clubhouse or at the pool, and seek out services that speak to their concerns.
These are just a few of many stellar ideas that your HOA could easily pick up and run with. However you decide to raise funds for your HOA, keep in mind that recurring events offer continued value, while one-off events, like a 5k may not.
Of course, recurring events require recurring effort, but poker nights, amenity rentals, and newsletter advertising are low-hanging fruit that will put money in your account week after week with minimal work on your part.
And don’t forget that the best fundraisers bring outside money into your HOA. Between dues and volunteering with the HOA, your homeowners are giving the HOA a lot as it is. Fundraisers that encourage outside participation can take a load off your HOA members, so all they have to do is have fun.
Author: Riley Manning
Riley Manning has a background in journalism and advertising. As Director of Operations for Content Workshop, he helps produce innovative content for businesses on the move.