This doesn't really apply to goodie bags or silent auction items, but it's an excellent low-effort fundraiser: Scrip Fundraising Programs - GLSC
Basically, you take orders from people in your organization/community for gift cards from a wide variety of retailers and other merchants, and receive a portion of the cards' face amounts from Great Lakes Scrip. My not-for-profit has raised $1600 in less than a year. We do plenty of other fundraisers as well, but this is absolutely the easiest (and therefore my favorite
). As good as this is, I'm frustrated because we've only scratched the surface of what's possible.
It requires some planning ahead. If my husband buys $1,000 of stuff for his next home improvement project at Home Depot, but uses gift cards he bought at my not-for-profit instead of cash or his credit card, he still gets to spend $1,000 - and my organization receives $80.
Depending on the retailer, you might receive 16 percent (Land's End), 12 percent (Gap), 9 percent (Barnes & Noble), 4 percent (Amazon), etc., of the face value of each card. It's a very easy fundraiser once you file the initial paperwork - the hard part is reminding people to plan ahead to buy gift cards.
A good way to get some nice silent auction items: my group does a gift basket auction every December. Each board and staff member takes responsibility for assembling one basket - which means that no one person has to do all the soliciting and assembling. Some of our board members hate fundraising, but everyone can come up with the contents of one gift basket.